Forward, Not Backward
Leon Panetta will close those secret prisons, but let's not fight about who tortured who, right fellas?
The CIA is decommissioning the secret overseas prisons where top al Qaida suspects were subjected to interrogation methods, including simulated drowning, that Attorney General Eric Holder, allied governments, the Red Cross and numerous other experts consider torture, the agency said Thursday.
In an e-mail to the agency's work force outlining current interrogation and detention policies, CIA Director Leon Panetta also announced that agreements with the private security firms guarding the so-called black sites will be "promptly terminated," and contractors no longer will be used to conduct interrogations.
Panetta, however, said that CIA officers who were involved in interrogations using "enhanced" methods authorized by the Justice Department during the Bush administration "should not be investigated, let alone punished."
I actually thought these sites were already shuttered. And I don't want private mercenaries involved in the interrogations process, so all to the good. But we have a cancer in this country caused by failing to face up to our actions. I don't think the low-level interrogators who carried out the policies are necessarily responsible - but they can certainly tell us who gave the order, and who was next on the rung in the chain of command. That's how you build a case and seek the truth. Blanket amnesty at any level impedes the eventual reckoning, and it's wrong.
And one of the Gitmo lawyers says Obama's people are stonewalling him, too. Man, they really want to make sure nobody goes down for this? What a corrupt bargain. And it's only fitting that the highest of High Broderists doesn't see a problem at all:
David Broder today, on whether there should be an investigation of the Bush years:
“I understand the reluctance to open a wide-ranging probe of past practices. It seems to me we are better off focusing on cleaning up the policies and practices for the future than trying to settle scores for past actions.”
David Broder, famously, as Clinton’s administration wound down:
“He came in here and he trashed the place, and it’s not his place.”
Sargent, and his former colleagues at TPM, call Washington "wired for conservatism." I prefer to think of it as wired for self-protection. Getting a hummer was all Clinton's problem. But they led the cheers while their golden boy Mr. Bush was authorizing the torture of human beings. They don't want to see their friends hurt, but really they don't want to sully their beautiful minds.