"I never wonder to see men wicked,
but I often wonder to see them not ashamed",
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), poet and prose satirist,
most famous for his novel 'Gulliver's Travels'
Ever since Americans learned that American soldiers and intelligence agents were torturing prisoners, there has been a disturbing question: How high up did the decision go to ignore United States law, international treaties, the Geneva Conventions and basic morality?
The answer, we have learned recently, is that — with President Bush’s clear knowledge and support — some of the very highest officials in the land not only approved the abuse of prisoners, but participated in the detailed planning of harsh interrogations and helped to create a legal structure to shield from justice those who followed the orders.
We have long known ... that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a list of ways to abuse prisoners. But recent accounts by ABC News and The Associated Press said that all of the president’s top national security advisers at the time participated in creating the interrogation policy: Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Rumsfeld; Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser; Colin Powell, the secretary of state; John Ashcroft, the attorney general; and George Tenet, the director of central intelligence.
"This is a monument to executive supremacy and the imperial presidency," said Eugene R. Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School and the Washington College of Law at American University.
Only by fully understanding what Mr. Bush has done over eight years to distort the rule of law and violate civil liberties and human rights can Americans ever hope to repair the damage and ensure it does not happen again.
[Read about Torture on Wikipedia]
[Related: Fernando Botero and Mark Twain]