Obama and Torture

April 10, 2009

A sometimes irrationally exuberant supporter of Barack Obama, I’m puzzled and dismayed at his administration’s failure to address the torture scandal. Repudiating torture isn’t enough. Finding the truth and punishing lawbreakers are only way to right terrible wrongs.

The most lucid assessment of the administration’s failure comes via the always-trenchant Scott Horton. He accuses the CIA and Justice Department of engaging in a de facto cover-up of Bush administration illegalities and warns of the consequences:

Repressing the facts won’t keep them from coming out. It will only make the process longer, more painful, and more damaging to the reputation of the institutions involved.

The nation cannot regain its self-respect much less the respect of the world until justice is done. Ironically, the wheels are turning in Europe. Will the mainstream media, unwilling to even use the word torture, push Obama to address the issue publicly? Doubtful. But if the president wants to maintain the support of millions of Americans for his priorities, he must change this surprising and troubling course.