Obama Says CIA Agents Won’t be Prosecuted for Torturing

April 17, 2009

(ChattahBox)—As soon as the Obama administration released four additional “torture” memos from the Bush administration this week, he publicly reassured CIA agents involved in the use of torture that they would not be prosecuted. Many political observers are relieved to see that President Obama does not condone torture. And the release of the torture memos, without heavy redaction’s, which the CIA was pushing for, is also encouraging.

However, many in the U.S. and the entire international community, including Amnesty International and other human rights groups, want to see the prosecution of individuals who were involved in illegal acts of torture.

The four new released torture memos, paint a disturbing picture of the mindset of the Bush administration as it sought to circumvent the rule of law to authorize torture.

Besides sleep deprivation and waterboarding, the memos detail additional methods of torture sanctioned by the Bush administration, including slamming a prisoner repeatedly against a false wall, standing and shackled for hours on end until their feet swelled, and throwing caterpillars at the prisoner in a dark confined space, saying they were poisonous insects.

Exposing the stark wording and horrifying details of the torture memos to the light of day, will serve to prevent the future use of torture by the U.S., but will it?

Many in the U.S. and the greater international community, question whether the United States’ refusal to prosecute the people responsible for committing acts of torture sends the wrong message. With no consequences, goverment officials may resort to torture again during another threat to the country’s safety.

The Bush administration used the attacks of 911 with its fear mongering to rationalize the use of torture, throwing the constitution and rule of law right out the window. If we as a nation don’t learn from this dark episode, will it be repeated again?

There is still hope that the former Department of Justice officials who issued the legal memos to authorize torture, may still see the inside of a jail cell. Spain recently filed charges against the so called “Bush Six” officials, responsible for authorizing torture, inclding former Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales and former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer, John Woo. But Spain’s Atorney General wants to punt the whole mess back to the U.S.

Now the ball is in the United States’ court. Many wonder if Congress and the Obama administration have the political will to prosecute former Bush administration officials for war crimes.

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