Saturday, June 06, 2009

A New Life For Bush-Era Excesses?

Hey, I really really like Barack Obama for reasons not the least of which is that we're moving on from the last eight years at a pretty brisk pace. But there are times when I really really don't like some of the things that he's doing. Take his turnaround on releasing those Abu Ghraib photos and the consequent Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009, which not only sounds draconian, but really really is, as well as a proposed law that would allow terrorism prosecutors to sweep torture under the rug.

The excuses for not releasing the photos are inane. The reason that they should be released is simple and was alluded to in the president's Cairo speech this week: Vibrant democracies need to air their dirty linen no matter how uncomfortable that may be. These photos certainly qualify, especially if they do indeed show the rape and sexual abuse of detainees. Fortunately, some Democratic libruls in the House are trying to block the bill.

Meanwhile, the proposal to not have to reveal the use of torture in court pleadings raises its own set of issues.

Long story short, the law would allow five men who have confessed to roles in the 9/11 attacks to plead guilty, but much of the evidence against them was obtained by torture, meaning the reliability of their confessions would be challenged. Such a law would
raise new questions about the fairness of a system that has been criticized for permitting shortcuts to assure convictions. In other words, a kangaroo court.

No comments: