The Blog

The Inquisition

10:32 AM, May 6, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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John Bolton writes in the Washington Post:

Obama has taken ambiguous, and flatly contradictory, positions on whether to prosecute Bush administration advisers and decision makers involved in "harsh interrogation techniques." Although he immunized intelligence operatives who conducted the interrogations, morale at the CIA is at record lows. The president has played to the crowd politically, but the principles underlying his policies are opaque and continually subject to change. This hardly constitutes leadership.

Despite uncertainties here, developments overseas proceed apace. Spanish Magistrate Baltasar Garzón opened a formal investigation last week of six Bush administration lawyers for their roles in advising on interrogation techniques. Garzón did so over the objections of Spain's attorney general, as he did in 1998 in proceeding against former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet. Under Spain's inquisitorial judicial system, Garzón is essentially unaccountable, whatever the views of Spain's elected government.

Since the left increasingly looks to foreign laws to interpret the U.S. Constitution, hopefully someone will get a chance to ask Harold Koh, Dawn Johnson, and Obama's coming Supreme Court nominee what they think about foreign prosecutions of U.S. policymakers.