Torture is no longer a pressing concern for the American public, if it ever was. The country's attention has understandably turned to lost jobs, costly health care and spilled oil. Most Americans probably agree with President Obama that rather than dwell on the secret abuses of the Bush-Cheney regime, we ought to be looking forward.
Looking forward is one of those cliches that always sounds positive and sensible, and certainly serves the president's political interests. But the years of detainee abuse and constitutional violations cannot be dismissed so easily, because the past is still with us -- and so are the dangers that drew America's leaders toward the dark side.
That is why Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the retired commander of U.S. and allied forces in Iraq, repeated his call for a "truth commission" in a New York University auditorium on the evening of June 7. He joined a group of prominent writers, lawyers and actors in staging an extraordinary event titled "Blueprint for Accountability," which sought to revive pressure on the Obama administration to fulfill its early promises to restore the Constitution, the Geneva conventions and the rule of law. The house was packed, and there was a sense that the president's supporters are deeply disappointed -- and determined to demand that he live up to his word. MORE...
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Joe Conason: Why We Can't Just "Look Forward"