We recognize that as a matter of diplomacy, the United States may for various reasons in various circumstances call another nation to account for practices that may in some respects resemble conduct in which the United States might in some circumstances engage, covertly or otherwise. Diplomatic relations with regard to foreign countries are not reliable evidence of United States executive practice and thus may be of only limited relevance here.
What would George W. Bush’s favorite political philosopher make of that?
Given the paucity of relevant precedent and the subjective nature of the inquiry, however, we cannot predict with confidence that a court would agree with this conclusion, though, for the reasons explained, the question is unlikely to be subject to judicial inquiry.
As Chris Floyd put it, “To be sure, Bradbury was politically astute enough to recognize that the essential unity of America’s power-structure elite means that it is almost impossible for anyone who would genuinely and actively pursue imperial crimes to ever reach the top … And just as Bradbury foresaw, Obama has slammed the door shut on such judicial inquiries.”
Even if torture weren’t happening under his own administration (and it is), Barack Obama is giving the most abhorrently brutal and sadistic torturers in future administrations exactly what they want. If war crimes like Bush’s are matched or exceeded by succeeding administrations, Obama will bear a large part of the responsibility. Saying “we don’t torture anymore” (again, especially if we still do) is not enough. (more…)