Can we start the war crimes tribunal yet? Part 2

Back in April 2008, President Bush told ABC that he personally approved the torture of suspected terrorists in our custody. At the time, I wrote that Bush’s open admission of a war crime should have led to a war crime tribunal.

Well, that didn’t happen. (Big surprise, right?) And now Bush’s right-hand man, Dick Cheney is openly boasting that he pushed the CIA to waterboard – in other words, torture – detainees. In a country that operated under the rule of law, both Bush and Cheney would at the very least be under investigation for violating our country’s law barring torture. And as Andrew Sullivan reminds us “there is no statute of limitations for such a crime; and the penalty under law is either the death penalty or a prison sentence for life.”

However, despite the gravity of the crime and the prescribed punishment, both chief torture architects feel comfortable going on national television and boasting about their crimes. Obama’s cowardly decision to “move forward” rather than face these crimes has created a vacuum in the public sphere that’s being filled by pro-torture Republicans like Dick Cheney.

And if, after all, the use of torture isn’t worthy of punishment and is instead treated like a minor policy difference, Republicans will use it again when they retake the reigns of government. Why wouldn’t they?