I wasn’t able to post over the last two days due to other obligations, but it’s good to return to the Internet and see Karl Rove saying he’s “proud” that the US engaged in war crimes [h/t SM].
In a BBC interview, Karl Rove, who was known as “Bush’s brain”, said he “was proud we used techniques that broke the will of these terrorists”.
(And just to reiterate, waterboarding is torture. Any reluctance by any media outlets to call it as such is the height of irresponsibility.)
To put Rove’s quote in context, he also seems like the kind of guy who would be “proud” that his jungle juice was so full of sugar that first-year college girls couldn’t taste the alcohol. So, you know, no surprise that he’s a monster.
Rove’s new-found war crime pride, though revolting in and of itself, is more important when put into recent context around US torture policy. Deranged Killer and Respected Pundit Dick Cheney recently paraded around on the television, telling the world how thrilled he is that the Bush Administration waterboarded suspected (not his word) terrorists, mocking Eric Holder and the DOJ by admitting that he committed war crimes. As Andrew Sullivan noted at the time [h/t FDL]:
In fact, the attorney general of the United States is legally obliged to prosecute someone who has openly admitted such a war crime or be in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention on Torture. For Eric Holder to ignore this duty subjects him too to prosecution. If the US government fails to enforce the provision against torture, the UN or a foreign court can initiate an investigation and prosecution.
These are not my opinions and they are not hyperbole. They are legal facts. Either this country is governed by the rule of law or it isn’t. Cheney’s clear admission of his central role in authorizing waterboarding and the clear evidence that such waterboarding did indeed take place means that prosecution must proceed.
Again, it’s no surprise that Cheney and Rove remain the leading voices justifying their own crimes. That’s what any thinking person would expect from them, which is exactly why progressives have been pushing Holder to open investigations and hold prosecutions of Bush officials if the evidence warrants it — which it certainly seems like it does. The bloodthirsty right will continue to call for more torture as long as there are no consequences, and, to the contrary, those criminals continue to be treated as respected public figures.
Both Cheney and Rove’s admissions of authorizing torture coincide with a new trend, a kind of revisionist history arguing that the Bush administration might have been pretty good — especially concerning Iraq. Those who engage in this practice are likely to be those who have the most to gain from a rewriting of history, and their opinions should be weighed appropriately.
And let’s not forget about the pressure being put on Eric Holder to move the so-called 9/11 trials out of New York City, out of civilian courts, and into military commissions. As Anthony Romero of the ACLU writes:
Unlike the military commissions, which fail to ensure basic due process guaranteed by U.S. and international law, our federal courts are capable of handling sensitive security issues while preserving American principles of justice and fairness. Our federal courts have successfully tried and convicted more than 300 international defendants on terrorism crimes — before and after 9/11.
One of the many dangers of Obama’s multi-tiered justice system, as Greenwald has repeatedly argued, is that unprincipled waffling between “we respect the rule of law” and “some accused terrorists are too dangerous to let go even though we can’t convict them” makes consistency impossible. Why try some accused terrorists in civilian courts if not all? The Cheneys and Roves out there can simply say, “Even Obama knows that some (accused) terrorists are too dangerous to try in civilian courts” and what does the Obama DOJ have to respond with? And as the past two months have shown, Cheney and Rove and the anti-rule-of-law Neocon Right aren’t going anywhere, and media outlets will continue to venerate them as though they deserve it.