This is purely a rant....I am sitting here about as furious as I can be that anyone can act surprised about the fact that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice all knew that Justice Department-authorized torture was taking place. Everyone I know was aware that this torture was authorized at the highest levels.
From the NYTimes: In a series of high-level meetings in 2002, without a single dissent from cabinet members or lawmakers, the United States for the first time officially embraced the brutal methods of interrogation it had always condemned.This extraordinary consensus was possible, an examination by The New York Times shows, largely because no one involved — not the top two C.I.A. officials who were pushing the program, not the senior aides to President George W. Bush, not the leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees — investigated the gruesome origins of the techniques they were approving with little debate.
I am particularly infuriated about the officers that were demoted and the enlisted personnel that were imprisoned for crimes that were actually NOT crimes-- in the legal sense, that is-- because those actions were approved by the Bush Administration. Yet no one-- not Bush, Cheney or anyone else-- stepped forward to defend them. They ALLOWED these people to suffer for them.
The lawyer for Charles Graner, currently serving a ten year sentence, plans to seek a presidential pardon. More info on possible appeals can be found at the Guardian.
Now, I understand that the "just following orders" excuse didn't cut it at the Nuremberg trials. But I do believe that the culture of the military makes it very difficult to do so. What do you think?