Today, in a post about elite responsibility (note: political responsibility is NOT the same as criminal guilt) for Bush Administration crimes, Glenn Greenwald wrote:
As the Bush administration comes to a close, one overarching question is this: how were the transgressions and abuses of the last eight years allowed to be unleashed with so little backlash and resistance? Just consider — with no hyperbole — what our Government, our country, has done. We systematically tortured people in our custody using techniques approved at the highest levels, many of whom died as a result. We created secret prisons — “black site” gulags — beyond the reach of international monitoring groups. We abducted and imprisoned even U.S. citizens and legal residents without any trial, holding them incommunicado and without even the right to access lawyers for years, while we tortured them to the point of insanity. We disappeared innocent people off the streets, sent them to countries where we knew they’d be tortured, and then closed off our courts to them once it was clear they had done nothing wrong. We adopted the very policies and techniques long considered to be the very definition of “war crimes”.
A while back, somewhere else, I wrote about the need for a truth commission (but not a truth and reconciliation commission) to address the human rights abuses –the very serious crimes— perpetrated during the years of the Bush Administration. I’ve altered the little piece it a bit and decided to post it here, because this is a subject that has been weighing on my mind in the last few days:
I agree with Nick Kristof that we need a Truth Commission of some kind.
Reconciliation is a non-issue. There are no parties to be reconciled, just the agents of a soon-to-be-out-of-power criminal regime and their numerous and varied victims. Moreover, the victims are of a dozen or more nationalities and spread out over six continents. Very few of the surviving victims and loved ones of deceased victims will ever have to share the same social or civic space –or the same space, period– with the perpetrators.
I think that the creation of an evidence-seeking Truth Commission that neither automatically precedes criminal trials nor offers any kind of immunity would be the best option for us in the years ahead.
This is my stance for a few reasons: Continue reading