President Obama wanted this to be a quiet news week. "I have specific instructions from the President for the press corps -- he wants you to relax and have a good time," spokesman Bill Burton told reporters on Sunday. "Nobody is looking to make any news," he added, referencing the slow vacation schedule at Martha's Vineyard. Back in Washington, however, Attorney General Eric Holder was poised to appoint a prosecutor to investigate alleged torture during the Bush administration.Howie P.S.: Ben Smith says "Cheney seems almost to be daring prosecutors to go after him."
It is hard to reach any concrete conclusions based on Holder's short statement. It is possible, for example, that a narrow "preliminary review" could still open the door to confronting the possibility of holding lawyers and policymakers accountable for knowingly constructing an illegal torture regime. However, if this inquiry is limited to a few contractors and junior personnel, it runs the risk of repeating the mistakes of Abu Ghraib, when the U.S. government blamed its policies on a few "bad apples" and further undermined the rule of law with selective prosecution.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
"The Problem with Holder's Partial Torture Prosecutor"