Investigate Bush Administration on Allegations of Torture

Commentary
By Rosemary Piser
Associate Editor, eNews Park Forest

The lead story on Countdown with Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) airing Wednesday, January 14, 2009, reported on Bob Woodward’s Washington Post article on Judge Susan Crawford’s opinion that Guantanamo Bay detainee, Mohammed al-Qahtani, was interrogated with torture techniques. Specifically, Judge Crawford opined that these interrogation techniques included “sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, public nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a life threatening condition.” “We tortured Qahtani,” Judge Crawford said. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case (for prosecution).”

Interestingly, Judge Crawford is a life-long Republican and was appointed to the bench by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in February 2007.

According to Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift (Ret), former JAG attorney, this is not the only case where “enhanced interrogation techniques” were used.

During confirmation hearings held Thursday, January 16, 2009, Eric Holder, Attorney General nominee, stated that in his opinion, water boarding, another “enhanced interrogation technique” is torture. As Holder indicated in his testimony, water boarding is a violation of the Geneva Convention and led to the trials and convictions of many foreign military following World War II and American soldiers following the Vietnam conflict.

However, President Bush and Vice President Chaney have taken the position that violation of existing US Constitutional law and International treaties was done to protect the safety of the United States – or the old “end justifying the means” logic.

While President-elect Obama has publicly stated that he desires our country to look forward to the future rather than dwell on the past, shouldn’t those who have boldly violated the laws of this land and the International community be publicly tried for these apparent crimes….crimes that others, when convicted, have lost their lives for violating?

According to friends of mine that live abroad, the European nations are eagerly awaiting to see what the United States intends to do about this matter. They strongly believe that if the United States does not investigate this administration for these matters, the International Courts will do so. At a time when it is so important for the United States to begin re-gaining the respect of the world that has been so harmed by the Bush Administration, it would appear that a good first step to healing would be to bring this matter to trial and send a clear message to the world that violation of the principles of the United States and the International community will not be tolerated now or in the future.

The January 14th Keith Olbermann report can be viewed here:

The Bob Woodward article can be read here.

The January 15th testimony of Eric Holder can be viewed here: