05/18/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Torture Memos -- Next Step

Despite some domestic criticism, the president was correct in releasing the largely un-redacted Bush era "torture memos". If we are a nation of laws, then all must be held accountable before the law. The memos are, on the one hand, horrifying in their cold and near ruthless attention to the details of each of the "techniques" used in "enhanced interrogation". They are also an abomination, representing, as they do, a deliberate effort to circumvent and defile the law.

What these men did is a disgrace to our country. What the president has done makes it possible to restore our lost honor. This brave act of transparency must now be followed by specific steps to hold Bush administration officials accountable for what they have done. I can accept the president's determination that the interrogators, themselves, not be prosecuted, (although, this is still troubling); but he was right to not close the door to holding accountable those who sent the torturers out to do their heinous deeds. We do not need another Abu Ghraib situation, where only the lowest level personnel are punished, and those who gave the orders and justified these crimes, escape unscathed. The very honor of our country requires that justice be done.

By the way, if we do not hold these former officials accountable for their deeds, we can forget about issuing next year's "Human Rights Report". Who would take it seriously?