Saturday, April 4, 2009

Feith Dares Obama to Enforce the Law


Feith is bluffing big time, and he's lifted Dick Cheney and George Bush onto the table as his bet. Now if only he could stop visibly sweating.

Feith's Wall Street Journal column on Friday argues that Spain has no right to put Americans on trial for torture, at least not second-tier officials who provided pseudo-legal justifications for torture and advocated its use, actions that Feith believes should be immune from prosecution, unlike ordering torture or engaging in it.

"If President Barack Obama and the prosecutors see a crime to be prosecuted, they can act," Feith wrote.

In fact, the job is Eric Holder's and the choice is no choice at all.

Holder is legally required to prosecute those whom evidence suggests have engaged in, ordered, or otherwise facilitated torture.

That list includes Doug Feith, but it most prominently includes George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney, both of whom have admitted to authorizing torture in televised interviews.

Feith is absolutely right that it makes the most sense to prosecute first and foremost those who actually gave the orders. Spain makes itself look a bit silly starting with those lower down, but you can imagine the xenophobic bile that would be gushing out of the Wall Street Journal if Spain had begun with Dubya.

Title 18 of the U.S. Code, our national laws, our red-white-and-blue tough-on-crime book of books has a little section called 2441 that prescribes prison or death to any American who commits or conspires to commit a war crime, including torture or cruel or inhuman treatment.

Remember this was what caused then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales to warn the president and others that they should play word games as the best defense of their own necks.


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