Rahm Emanuel not only told George Stephanopoulos of ABC's This Week that no field officers should be prosecuted over breaking the law when it comes to torturing prisoners, but he took it a step beyond and proclaimed that even the lowlife John Yoos and Jay Bybees shouldn't face any consequences for their actions.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What about those who devised policy?
EMANUEL: Yes, but those who devised policy, he believes that they were -- should not be prosecuted either, and that's not the place that we go -- as he said in that letter, and I would really recommend people look at the full statement -- not the letter, the statement -- in that second paragraph, "this is not a time for retribution." It's time for reflection. It's not a time to use our energy and our time in looking back and any sense of anger and retribution.
We have a lot to do to protect America. What people need to know, this practice and technique, we don't use anymore. He banned it.
Look, it's up to us and Congress to push along these hearings and impeachments.
Is that truly what the administration thinks? That people who want to see those who illegally led the country down the road of torture held to account are simply "looking back" in "anger" and "retribution"? Fifty percent of the country favor such investigations, including 69% of Democrats and a majority of independents. Is Rahm saying that President Obama believes they're nothing more than an angry, vindictive mob, and that nobody could possibly have a rational basis for believing that our laws should be enforced?
Manfred Nowak, the United Nations top torture investigator, says that treaties entered into by the United States require criminal investigations:
The United States, like all other states that are part of the U.N. convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court.
For Obama to say "it is the time to look forward" is not a shock to me, but we have to look backward and take action so these insane practices and anything like them never, ever happen again under any president. I understand that the spooks don't want to be prosecuted for following orders and the pressure the president is being put under by these agencies. I'm just fine with seeing Yoo and Addington and Bybee and all the rest of the Bush Administration honchos in shackles doing a frogmarch, justice for their miscreancy in disgracing this country and using the OLC to justify the illegal practice of torture. I think the world needs to see them, too.