In any event, President Obama, who has taken a courageous lead in bringing the issue of torture to light, and in insisting on recriminalizing it, appears to have no interest in taking any of the policymakers to court—though he has not precluded doing so. Still, to date the only Americans who have been prosecuted and sentenced to imprisonment for the criminal policies that emanated from the highest levels are ten low-ranking servicemen and women—those who took and appeared in the Abu Ghraib photographs, and embarrassed the nation by showing us what we were doing there. Charles Graner is the only one remaining in prison, serving ten years. His superior officers enjoy their freedom, and C.I.A. interrogators, who spent years committing far worse acts against prisoners than Graner did even in the darkest days at Abu Ghraib, have been assured immunity.
But, if full justice remains impossible, surely some injustices can be corrected. Whenever crimes of state are adjudicated—at Nuremberg or The Hague, Phnom Penh or Kigali—the principle of command responsibility, whereby the leaders who give the orders are held to a higher standard of accountability than the foot soldiers who follow, pertains. There can be no restoration of the national honor if we continue to scapegoat those who took the fall for an Administration—and for us all.
Where is Sam Damon?
A blog dedicated to debate and commentary on national security, foreign affairs, veterans' issues, and a whole host of other topics. If you are not familiar with who Sam Damon is, click here. Feel free to post comments or contact Onager via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.