Friday, April 24, 2009


I disagree with Barack Obama and the others that CIA personnel who carried out the waterboarding and other forms of torture should not face prosecution. I thought that that the rectitude of prosecution of war crimes committed by subordinates was validated and settled at the 1945 Nuremberg trials. Subordinates cannot rely on the defense of "just following orders." Those who engage or commit crimes against humanity need to be held accountable.

If a CIA employee holds down Zubayda or some other suspected Qaeda member while others pour the water, our society must hold this person to account. What could be his/her defense? That he did not know what he was doing was wrong? Hardly.

Even in circumstances where some legal administration hack like David Addington or Steven Bradbury writes a legal memo claiming waterboarding and other harsh methods are legal and permissible, does the defense of the guy who actually pours the water, "I thought it was legal," pass the laugh test? There are certain actions that each person acting with a rational mind must acknowledge offends another's humanity and inherent dignity, notwithstanding some covering legal memo.

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