Abu Ghraib Still Unresolved
Monday, April 5th, 2010
By not prosecuting those responsible, the Obama administration is failing to hold itself to the same standards that the U.S. set for the world at the Nuremberg Trials in 1947. In the justice department legal brief defending Yoo, the argument was put forward that lawyers are free to give advice even if advice establishes a torture program. During the judges trial at Nuremberg, which determined that being ordered to do something does not absolve someone of responsibility, the same argument was used to defend lawyers like Guenther Joel, who worked at the German Ministry of Justice, and Franz Schlegelberger, and was firmly rejected. Joel received 10 years in prison and Schlegelberger received lifetime imprisonment for conspiracy to commit war crimes. Such sentences are therefore warranted by historical precedent for the likes of Yoo.
Perhaps one of the most sickening hypocrisies of this debacle is that on December 10, 2009, as Obama was flying to Norway to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, the Justice Department moved to drop charges against Yoo.
Authorizing the use of torture, and its continued justification by those in part responsible such as former vice president Dick Cheney, is one of the most deadly legal decisions by the U.S. government.
Torture is morally, ethically, and legally wrong. It is one of the greatest failures of justice in our nation's history that the U.S. government conducted the torture so blatantly, and that it was openly acknowledged by those responsible and allowed to go unpunished.
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