Maddow: Bush-era torture “probably a war crime,” Obama “legally obligated to prosecute”

The good folks at The Political Carnival have brought this to our attention — Rachel Maddow discussing the fact that Bush-era torture was illegal, “probably a war crime,” and our government has a responsibility to prosecute it.

Let that sink in. (1) It is a fact. (2) Maddow really said what I attributed to her. On the always O-friendly, forward-leaning MSNBC, no less.

If I’m going to give out an Eleven-Dimensional Chess award, it goes to Maddow. This one is up there with her non-outing outing of Rick Perry.

She cleverly works this information into a segment about the nature of today’s Republican party.

▪ She starts with four-minute intro about how these Republicans aren’t even in sync with their 2008 incarnation.

▪ Then she talks about the Zelikow memo (a high-level Bush-administration opinion that raised objections to white-washing torture as legal), and how the recent release of that memo places responsibility for prosecuting Bush-torture on the U.S. government (the current executive branch, whoever is running it).

▪ She closes with a question, again about Republicans — now that Obama is vulnerable to the same charge as Bush (not prosecuting torturers), are Republicans too far gone to pass up this golden attack opportunity?

See how clever? I’ve trimmed off the introduction in order to highlight what she clearly says about Obama and his administration. Watch; I’ll add a few comments afterward.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

So the Bush administration tried to destroy all copies of Zelikow’s memo to “disappear” evidence they were told internally that torture was illegal (2:32 in my clip).

The Obama part of the discussion starts at 3:32. The “war crime” comment comes at 3:50, followed by Obama being “obligated to prosecute.” Notice, though — she cleverly says “we” are obligated … meaning the government … meaning the sitting president … meaning Obama (but not by name, exactly). See how that works?

This is not disappearing the facts; this is telling the truth while keeping your high profile job. Maddow is a very clever woman, an Alekhine come to judgement.

For more, go to the Political Carnival post where I saw this clip. They have further information and a great many torture links, including and especially the continuing abuse of Gitmo prisoner Fayiz al-Kandari, an educated charity worker sold by Afghan bounty hunters to the Americans — who paid them. Fayiz is a prisoner to this day, under very harsh conditions.

Why didn’t Obama pursue Bush-era torture prosecutions? Perhaps this is the reason (h/t my Twitter friend Les Zuazo). Makes one pause, does it not?

This stuff really does have to stop. Someone really will end up in The Hague. Even Obama could find himself on a No-Fly-Abroad list.

If you wish to follow on Twitter and send links, I’m more than happy to have them. Just click here: @Gaius_Publius. Thanks.

GP


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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