Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In Case You Hadn't Heard

Haven't read the WaPo piece yet; I caught this in The Guardian.
Susan Crawford, the Pentagon official in charge of military tribunals at the camp, said Mohammed al-Qahtani, a Saudi suspected of involvement in the September 11 terrorist plot, was subject to sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold. She said the torture meant he could not be prosecuted. "We tortured Qahtani," she told the Washington Post. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case [for prosecution]."
I don't know how much to make of this. On one hand, it's not as if anyone who's been paying attention during the last few years isn't aware of this. Even if they want to think of the situation as a bunch of fraternity shenanigans, they know. On the other hand, according to the article, "Crawford is the first senior Bush administration official responsible for reviewing practices at Guantánamo to admit publicly that a detainee was tortured." We have a bunch of criminals, IMHO, who have consistently claimed legal justification for legal procedures. But from within their midst we finally have one voice willing to say, "We Tortured."

I just hope more brave voices emerge over the next days and weeks. Whatever Qahtani did or didn't do, planned or didn't plan, can now never be clearly determined in a court of law. Because we ourselves violated the law. That is infuriating to me, but it's not as if we weren't warned repeatedly that this situation was a very likely outcome. I have no doubt that Obama will put an end to it, but this country, and the rest of the world, not only deserves but needs to know exactly what has happened in the wake of 9/11.

I'm sad to say, in the immortal words of Walt Kelly, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

1 comment:

Dean Wormer said...

Exactly. And if it's not torture then the low level knuckleheads who were prosecuted at Abu Ghraib need to be let off.

Of course it IS torture and those higher ups responsible for these decisions need to be held accountable.