The Stomach-Turning Truth About Bush's Torture Programs
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Obama mishandled calls for a commission of inquiry into the torture question in the same way. First he signaled that he would sign legislation creating a commission if it reached his desk. Then, forty-eight hours later, in a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, he signaled he would oppose such an effort. In the days that followed, White House spokesmen attempted to reconcile and explain the conflicting statements.
Obama insists America must “look forward.” He views the torture question as resolved by a series of orders he issued coming into office. But Cheney and Rove suggest another idea. It’s clear that in their view America is just one more 9/11 attack away from a transformation in which their use of the “dark arts” will again carry popular endorsement and provide a powerful wedge issue to use against Obama. Obama’s optimism about closure on the torture issue may therefore be seriously misplaced.
Scott Horton is a law professor and writer on legal and national security affairs for Harper's Magazine and The American Lawyer, among other publications.