George W Bush, former president and current criminal, has admitted that he authorized the torture of prisoners in US custody. Torture is illegal under the laws of the United States and under international law. It doesn’t matter why you do it, or that we haven’t been attacked by terrorists since then. It’s illegal. Pure and simple.
So of course this brings up the question of whether or not waterboarding is torture. Of course it is. You’d have be an idiot to claim it’s not. We executed Japanese officers who did it to our troops during World War II. The Viet Kong did it to John McCain and it was certainly torture then.
I think we can all agree it’s torture. Torture is illegal under US law. Bush said he authorized his people to do something that’s illegal. I’m no great legal scholar, but I believe this is described as engaging in a criminal conspiracy, right? Since it crossed state lines, it’d be a federal crime.
This sounds like I’m being twee or overly partisan here, but this is actually a very serious question. Bush has admitted to breaking the law. Let me restate this. A former United States president, a civilian under our system, has admitted he broke the law. Bill Clinton broke the law and was prosecuted for far less. Why shouldn’t Bush be prosecuted?
Yes, Bush was president, but so what? We’ve always held in this country that the president is not above the law, and should not be. Bush did what he thought was right and correct at the time, and that’s fine and dandy. But what he did, what he has admitted to doing was flat-out illegal. So why shouldn’t he be prosecuted?
Of course I’m not naive. I know he won’t ever be and it’s because he was president and despite what we like to pretend, we do view presidents as being above the law. Plus there’s no way it wouldn’t be painful and lead to a lot of political crap.
But we still need to do it. I wrote about this last year and here’s what I said then:
Now of course there are those who say this would be tough for our nation; that it might “tear us apart”. That was part of the logic Ford used when he pardoned Nixon, after all.
But you know what? Yeah, it’d be tough for our country, but that’s not a bad thing. We need to know what was being done in our name and if it was illegal, the people who were doing it need to be brought to justice. Just because Bush and Cheney were high-level officials that doesn’t excuse their behavior. You are not above the law because of your position in this country. Just like how Nixon should’ve been tried, so should Bush and Cheney and others (if there is sufficient evidence, of course).
The message must be sent that you are not above the law no matter who you are or what you do for a living. If the former President and the former Vice-President broke the law, they should be punished as any other American would be, period. Anything else is simply unAmerican.
It was true then, and it’s true now.