Candidates Compete to Promise the Most Torture and Slaughter
From the look of the presidential campaign, war crimes are back on the American agenda. We really shouldn’t be surprised, because American officials got away with it last time — and in the case of the drone wars continue to get away with it today. Still, there’s nothing like the heady combination of a “populist” Republican race for the presidency and a national hysteria over terrorism to make Americans want to reach for those “enhanced interrogation techniques.” That, as critics have long argued, is what usually happens if war crimes aren’t prosecuted.
In August 2014, when President Obama finally admitted that “we tortured some folks,” he added a warning. The recent history of U.S. torture, he said, “needs to be understood and accepted. We have to as a country take responsibility for that so hopefully we don’t do it again in the future.” By pinning the responsibility for torture on all of us “as a country,” Obama avoided holding any of the actual perpetrators to account.