President Obama has released memos on the policies on prisoner interrogation under former President Bush. These are horrifying documents that expose the immorality of the previous administration. Unfortunately, Obama has not gone far enough: it’s a good start to reveal the truth, but what needs to be done next is to investigate the senior officials who advised the perpetrators that torture was legal.
That investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.
These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.
After eight years without transparency or accountability, Mr. Obama promised the American people both. His decision to release these memos was another sign of his commitment to transparency. We are waiting to see an equal commitment to accountability.
This is the least we can do, and I think even these petitions don’t go far enough: I want to see George W. Bush and Dick Cheney held accountable for their villainy. Start here, though, and bring the corrupt lawyers who made excuses for horror to trial.