The Web is brimming today with comment on Obama’s release of the Bush team’s torture memos, much of it decrying Obama’s accompanying statement, in which he said he believes the torturers should not be held to account.
But the politics that gave rise to the memos suggest a more accurate reading of the politics surrounding their release.
Bush said the people he was in charge of weren’t torturing their captives in the War on Terror. Meantime, he made sure to green-light torture by establishing a legal framework through which his consent could not be ignored.
Obama says this is a “time for reflection, not retribution,” that he wants to move on. Meantime, in releasing the torture memos, he has green-lighted investigation and prosecution by establishing a record of evidence that shocks the conscience and that will not be ignored.
Bush is the hardcore Texas death-penalty governor who wanted to win the War on Terror. He tortured. Obama is a constitutional lawyer who wants to move on. There will be trials…