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Maybe Bush won’t get away with torture after all

November 14, 2008

Here’s a story from Salon today, suggesting that an Obama administration may investigate–and I wonder, prosecute?–Bush and his subordinates for their pursuit of harsh interrogation policies, otherwise referred to in the rest of the world as “torture.”

The piece suggests, among other things, a fight within the Democratic party about whether to have a fact-finding commission or a full-on prosecution. It also suggests that fight could be irrelevant, if Bush uses his power to pardon to cover those who might be implicated in such prosecution.

(Caveat: I would personally want it on better authority, as a reader, that Bush is indeed actually thinking about these pardons. The piece says there is “growing talk in Washington,” but it only links back to an opinion piece in its own virtual pages, an article in July that is actually about the history and politics of presidential pardons and does not claim any knowledge, through reporting, that Bush torture pardons are likely or imminent. I’m not satisfied as a reader, nor as a journalist. Still, see for yourself. But the reporting on the Democrats’ debate about how to proceed is more solid.)

Another piece worth a read is Scott Horton’s latest blog entry at Harper’s Magazine. He’s been on the torture beat for them for awhile; he’s insightful, and he digs deep. Today’s blog is about the conversion of a conservative talk radio host who, after seeing a powerful documentary, changed his mind completely about whether our policies are torture. But it’s not a doc you’ll see at all soon:

Taxi was to be aired on the Discovery Channel, but with Discovery Communications then in the process of going public and facing sensitive SEC clearances, executives apparently decided not to risk provoking the anger of the White House. As I reported elsewhere, PBS also found that it had no network space for Torturing Democracy until January 20, 2009—the day the Bush Administration decamps from Washington.

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