War crimes are back on the American agenda. We really shouldn't be surprised, because American officials got away with it last time. Still, there's nothing like the heady combination of a "populist" Republican race for the presidency and a national hysteria over terrorism to make Americans want to reach for those "enhanced interrogation techniques."
At this point we all know that, in President Obama's words, "We tortured some folks." The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's report on the CIA's rendition, detention, and interrogation program revealed shocking abuses that went far beyond even the torture that the administration had authorized.
President Obama deserves credit for his candor. He admits that we tortured people after 9/11, and that our actions violate our highest ideals as a nation. But apologies are hollow if they are not followed by attempts to make amends. "Sorry" is a lie if it is only a word. President Obama needs to prosecute.
Walter Ruiz, Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi's lawyer and a former Navy commander, told the court that Hawsawi's treatment needs stem from injuries he sustained under U.S.-sponsored torture. Ruiz wants to interview his client's doctors to learn more about the "ongoing bleeding" and "colorectal issues that stem from his time in captivity...."
2014 was the year the United States began to wake up to the problems in our criminal justice system. Let's make 2015 the year we take the steps toward fixing them. While some may believe that the tactics used in the U.S. are necessary to keep peace, Europe presents a stark counterpoint to that argument.