Monday, February 2, 2009

First Cloud - Supplement

Richard Cohen and Ruth Marcus, in the Washington Post, and the Republican leadership, all have argued against prosecuting those who were involved in torture. The following was sent to the Post after Cohen's recent op ed:

Richard Cohen joins those who would forget the lawlessness of the Bush administration. He argues that intelligence agents who put forth a "sincere" effort should not have to fear a Congressional committee or a grand jury. He wants the finest people in these jobs, implying that a willingness to torture is part of the job description. What an interesting legal standard!

Let's be clear. Torture is illegal, and has been for many decades. It is a crime against humanity under international law, which is legally binding on the U.S. No one, under any circumstances, should be tortured. Any one who authorizes, participates in, or directly applies torture is a criminal. Our collective outrage over 9/11 is no excuse for torture. Without a clear and consistent rule of law, we lose our legal and moral standing in the world. That our CIA or military may have acted with the good intention of protecting our country is not an excuse.

We have learned too often that good people will do horrible things if asked to, under the right circumstances. If an individual cannot find the strength to refuse to torture, then the fear of punishment must deter. Imagine the sincere torturer, and shudder: we have to be better than that. Investigate, prosecute, and sentence the torturers, for our own sake.

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