For many years, 13 to be exact the ACLU has been arguing for accountability by Bush administration officials for torture and war crimes in the Iraq war. Now Anthony Romero, Executive Director of ACLU makes a different case for pardoning Bush officials so they can forever be labeled criminals for committing these crimes of torture.
Here are some key excerpts from the NY Times opinion piece by Anthony Romero on Bush War Crimes and the argument for pardoning all Bush officials involved in the “crimes against humanity” In other words, the Bush officials knowingly and in a willful manner went forward in the execution of war crimes against humanity and have never been held accountable for their actions.
“My organization (ACLU) ) and others have spent 13 years arguing for accountability for these crimes. We have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor or the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission, or both. But those calls have gone unheeded. And now, many of those responsible for torture can’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has run out.
To his credit, Mr. Obama disavowed torture immediately after he took office, and his Justice Department withdrew the memorandums that had provided the foundation for the torture program. In a speech last year at the National Defense University, Mr. Obama said that “we compromised our basic values — by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.”
But neither he nor the Justice Department has shown any appetite for holding anyone accountable. When the department did conduct an investigation, it appeared not to have interviewed any of the prisoners who were tortured. And it repeatedly abused the “state secrets” privilege to derail cases brought by prisoners — including Americans who were tortured as “enemy combatants.”
What is the difference between this — essentially granting tacit pardons for torture — and formally pardoning those who authorized torture? In both cases, those who tortured avoid accountability.
But with the tacit pardons, the president leaves open the very real possibility that officials will resurrect the torture policies in the future. Indeed, many former C.I.A. and other government officials continue to insist that water-boarding and other forms of torture were lawful. Were our military to capture a senior leader of the Islamic State who was believed to have valuable information, some members of Congress would no doubt demand that our interrogators use precisely the barbaric and illegal methods that the Obama administration has disavowed.
The Obama administration could still take measures to hold accountable the officials who authorized torture. Some of the statutes of limitations have run out, but not all of them have. And the release of the Senate’s report provides a blueprint for criminal investigations, even if that’s not what the intelligence committee set out to do.
But let’s face it: Mr. Obama is not inclined to pursue prosecutions — no matter how great the outrage, at home or abroad, over the disclosures — because of the political fallout. He should therefore take ownership of this decision. He should acknowledge that the country’s most senior officials authorized conduct that violated fundamental laws, and compromised our standing in the world as well as our security. If the choice is between a tacit pardon and a formal one, a formal one is better. An explicit pardon would lay down a marker, signaling to those considering torture in the future that they could be prosecuted.”…
My view is that we should take the roadmap provide by the Senate report and send it to the International Criminal Court in the Hague for a “war crimes” investigation and possible prosecutions. Oh, I forgot we have never ratified or signed on as member of the Court. Maybe we could send the Senate report to a member of ICC who could pass it on to the Court for action–I guess that would not work either…So we are still out here waiting for accountability.