Saturday, November 01, 2008

A first for John or Barack

I was out raking leaves last night waiting for trick-or-treaters while Wifeypoo (zombie), Kid-A (genie), Little V (cowgirl), and a pack of friends roamed the neighborhood looking for diabetes-inducing amounts of sugary sweets when my McCain-supporting neighbor (with gigantic lawn signs) stopped by for some coffee and Bailey's (adult treats) and a re-load on candy (it was a busy night).

We got to talking and drinking and we came to two conclusions about the election: a) everybody is ready for this damn thing to be over with and b) the first action of the new president should be something that Americans of all stripes can agree to and support. What is this magical issue? The closing of Guantanamo and a crystal-clear legislative and executive rejection of torture.

For those of you unfamiliar with how we became a nation that tortures human beings and holds them without granting them their most basic legal rights, I highly suggest reading The Dark Side, by Jane Mayer, and Angler, by Barton Gellman.

The rejection of the Bush-Cheney policy of torture will raise several issues:
  1. What do we do with the Guantanamo detainees? We most certainly broke numerous international and US laws in their detainment and when they are granted their day in court they will have no shortage of reasonable defense tactics.
  2. When will all of the OLC memos be made public?
  3. When will John Yoo be brought to justice and who else will be held accountable?
  4. What is the legislative answer to this problem?
  5. How will we restructure our intelligence-gathering apparatus to ensure that something like this never happens again?
There are plenty of other issues and questions that will be raised by the rejection of Bush-Cheney torture. These are just the first 5 things that came to mind. Whatever happens, I can think of no greater and more effective way for the new president to separate himself, his administration, and we the American people from the last 8 disastrous years than to explicitly, effectively, and completely reject the Bush-Cheney policy of criminal torture.

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