Investigating Dick Cheney, Others For Any Possible Role Related To Torture
On December 21st, 2014, the New York Times Editorial Board published an editorial entitled Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses.” In the article, they point out that although President Barack Obama”did allow his Justice Department to investigate the C.I.A.’s destruction of videotapes of torture sessions and those who may have gone beyond the torture techniques authorized by President George W. Bush…[,]…the investigation did not lead to any charges being filed, or even any accounting of why they were not filed. And while Obama has seemed to want to move away from these actions, as the editorial board argues, “The nation cannot move forward in any meaningful way without coming to terms, legally and morally, with the abhorrent acts that were authorized, given a false patina of legality, and committed by American men and women from the highest levels of government on down.”
Within their discussion, they argue that those responsible, and bosses, should be investigated. This include former Vice President Dick Cheney, the former Director of the C.I.A. George Tenet, as well as “the Office of Legal Council lawyers” (NY Times, 2014).
This is an important and necessary statement made by the New York Times. For years, it has been believed that some within the government agencies of the C.I.A. have been carrying out actions of torture. And now, with the recent Senate report, it seems that this was further supported by more evidence. Thus, it is essential that everyone who may have been responsible be held accountable.
The President cannot ignore this situation, nor can individuals go on to think that these actions were justified. Human rights violations occurred, and it is imperative that we as citizens of the world know exactly who carried out these actions, and that those individuals are held accountable in a court of law. The United States’ reputation has suffered because of years of such actions of torture, along with other actions such as extraterritorial rendition. This would be an opportunity to uphold values of human rights that are so important and so necessary. Yes, it will be politically controversial to investigate very public figures. But if there is a belief that they had any responsibility in these actions (such as ordering actions that amount to torture, or if they knew of their existence), then there should be no other option to but find out exactly what happened, and who knew what with regards to actions of torture. As the editorial (NY Times, 2014) states, “Starting a criminal investigation is not about payback; it is about ensuring that this never happens again and regaining the moral credibility to rebuke torture by other governments. Because of the Senate’s report, we now know the distance officials in the executive branch went to rationalize, and conceal, the crimes they wanted to commit. The question is whether the nation will stand by and allow the perpetrators of torture to have perpetual immunity for their actions.”