Monday, April 13, 2009

Good Question

Andrew Sullivan asks a good question:

National Journal's national security blog is debating whether we should have a truth commission on torture. Brian Michael Jenkins is against the idea:

A truth commission on torture could be ruinously divisive. It would smack of political vendetta and fuel narrow partisan agendas on both sides. It would lead to spectacle, not edification. It could end up giving rogues the aura of martyrs. Let history be their judge.

To which the only response can be: have we decided as a nation that war crimes should not be prosecuted if they are committed by members of the American government? Are we formally going to withdraw from the Geneva Conventions - or just violate them with impunity while pretending that we take them seriously? Those are the actual questions: not policy matters, but core legal issues that tell you whether a country is governed by the rule of law or not.

My own view is that a "truth commission" is too lenient; prosecutions and, on guilty verdicts, lengthy prison terms are the only way to stop torture from occurring again.

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