Gringo Lost

Words about things and stuff

Coercive Interrogations: Politics and the Law, Part II

with 2 comments

Yesterday, I read this post about why the Justice Department should stop its investigation of “enhanced interrogation.”  Maybe I’m reading into this person’s post wrongly, but it seems to say that because the Bush administration Justice department allowed the methods used by interrogators then it shouldn’t be investigated by Obama’s Justice Department.  Consequently making any investigations into the interrogations less about legality and more about Obama’s political objectives.

This view is wrong to me, a) because Obama stands to gain nothing politically b) because Attorney General Holder initiated the investigation and c) the authorization for “enhanced interrogation” was of dubious legality, thus should be investigated.

The real question should be was the law broken, not what is the political reason for an investigation?  If the legality of the interrogations were questionable, then an investigation is justified.  To claim that an investigation should not be done is an affront to what this country stands for.

We can’t really know if the interrogations saved American lives or produced valuable intelligence that we would not have gained otherwise.  But what we do know and what should drive us, is that the law is not fungible and cannot be made malleable on a whim.  If there is a question about the law being violated then it needs to be investigated. Arguments against investigations are in essence a political attempt to subvert the rule of law.

Related links: Dick Cheney stars in A Few Good Men


Written by gringolost

September 6, 2009 at 1:56 pm

2 Responses

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  1. GL,
    I have no problem with investigating abuse of human rights abuses by the Bush administration, but a public airing of the wash would be non productive and political football,despite your claim. The documented abuses at Abu Grab did enough damage to our National Security throughout the world. I am for one glad that they were exposed, though the real perps vanished back to their country’s, without any investigation because it was too taboo a subject. So jail the little guys. Shades of Lt Calley and My Lai. These abuses in the Bush administration should be exposed, documented and the guilty punished. But a in a closed door investigation by those interested in the truth and not a divisive political show trial. Men and women in the military who are on the front line will pay the price.


    September 8, 2009 at 9:37 am

    • Yeah, I definitely do not want to see the little guys prosecuted, especially if they were following orders and acted on pressure given to them from the higher-ups.

      People want to make this a political problem, but I refuse to want to discuss it that way. I understand it could be detrimental to how we are seen as a country. But, we should be principled first. And being principle means making hard choices and suffering the consequences. We are a society that believes in laws, according to the constitution we are based on laws. We should carry this over and not compromise it for political gain. I understand this view is going to anger some, but it is the right thing to do. Likewise, ignoring justice would damage our national credibility just the same – maybe worse.

      Lastly, I don’t think this would be you Blackhawk (and I mean no offense if it is) but for those (mostly Republicans) who adamantly argued for the Ken Starr investigations of Clinton’s improprieties then they should also be arguing for these investigations. If not, then their commitment to politics demonstrably outweighs their commitment to justice. No-one should pick their views based on the politician, but instead the principle.


      September 8, 2009 at 7:09 pm

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