In an unprecedented editorial this Monday, editors of the New York Times are calling on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate members of George W. Bush’s administration for illegal torture practices.
The editorial outright calls for the prosecution of those who “committed torture and other serious crimes,” including former Vice President Dick Cheney.
The piece, entitled “Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses” and authored by the Time’s Editorial Board, also criticizes the Obama administration for failing “to bring to justice anyone responsible for the torture of terrorism suspects,” in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
From the NY Times:
Americans have known about many of these acts for years, but the 524-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report erases any lingering doubt about their depravity and illegality: In addition to new revelations of sadistic tactics like “rectal feeding,” scores of detainees were waterboarded, hung by their wrists, confined in coffins, sleep-deprived, threatened with death or brutally beaten. In November 2002, one detainee who was chained to a concrete floor died of “suspected hypothermia.”
These are, simply, crimes. They are prohibited by federal law, which defines torture as the intentional infliction of “severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” They are also banned by the Convention Against Torture, the international treaty that the United States ratified in 1994 and that requires prosecution of any acts of torture.
The piece concludes that “a criminal investigation is not about payback; it is about ensuring that this never happens again and regaining the moral credibility to rebuke torture by other governments. Because of the Senate’s report, we now know the distance officials in the executive branch went to rationalize, and conceal, the crimes they wanted to commit. The question is whether the nation will stand by and allow the perpetrators of torture to have perpetual immunity for their actions.”
You can read the entire New York Times editorial here.