Almost every day for the past six weeks new information has emerged about abusive interrogations conducted by the US military and intelligence agencies during the Bush Administration. Despite this gathering torrent, apologists for Bush-era decision makers are urging the American people to turn the page—and quickly—on this sordid chapter in our history.Into this fray step a few intrepid voices of reason in Washington and elsewhere. The dean of measured reasonableness is Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). Sen. Whitehouse urges us to make sure that all the facts are in before anything is off the table, including prosecutions of those who may be found to have violated the law:
Our nation bears responsibility to learn from the mistakes of this dark episode. Even if criminal prosecutions should not result, Congress, for sure, and, I believe, the American public must ultimately know what really happened behind the sanitized legal descriptions of individual techniques, and in what conditions, intensity and duration. This accounting will not be easy or proud, but it will help show the world that the America it knew and counted on is back.
The Senator is right. We must give Congress’s investigative committees, a non-partisan Commission of Inquiry, and, for that matter, journalists and bloggers, the time that’s necessary to investigate the dark corners of this episode so the American people know the facts. Nothing less will ensure that it can’t happen again. In Sen. Whitehouse’s elegant words:
There is no bomb or army that can match the power of America's moral standing in the world. Reclaiming it is vital.