Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Prosecuting the Interrogators

In the last couple of days since the release of the CIA Interrogation Report, headlines like this have become fairly common: CIA Interrogation Report Could Lead to Prosecution of Interrogators. I have a huge issue with this, because there's not much indication that those who ordered the interrogations, or wrote legal opinions in support of them, or pressured staffers to produce supporting documentation, or lied to congress about the interrogations, will be held accountable.

While I'm all for accountability and being able to look other nations in the eye and advocate for fair treatment and civil liberties on an international scale, I think that punishing those who execute orders without punishing those who gave the orders is inexcusable. And it's another instance of class warfare. After all, it's difficult and controversial to go after the white-collar rich dudes who govern our nation. They have political allies and teams of savvy, high-paid lawyers. But the camouflage-collar folks who do their bidding? Not so much. And it's easy to portray them as power-hungry, sadistic rogues who just went overboard and used the war and their military service as an excuse to abuse prisoners. Because we value people based on where they fit in the system, and how they look, and how much money they make, and where they went to school, and who they're friends with.

...bullshit class warfare is what it is...


  1. Yeah, I actually think the Obama administration should take the lead on this and bring charges against those who were responsible in the Bush administration rather than just letting the little guys twist in the wind. And I'll be very disappointed if they don't.

  2. Have you seen this:

    This is baffling to me for the reasons you list. I hope Obama can change how we think about this, but I'm not holding my breath.

  3. That is a great video. I love Zimbardo, and use some of his stuff in my ethics courses.

    It is disturbing how people who are very committed to the view that people are either all good or all evil just absolutely resist this information. They're "in the grip" of a very powerful picture.

  4. I think that "class warfare" is a great way to describe it. I get that it's politically risky to go after the big guys, but I also think that integrity requires it. And how can you be the candidate that was going to represent the middle and lower class folks and then not demand that they receive equal treatment in this case?