Now that Republicans control both chambers of Congress, you’ll hear more and more talk about “accountability” for a “lawless President.” Don’t worry. They’re totally kidding. Sure, they’ll put on show trials (otherwise known as oversight hearings) pretending to get to the bottom of phony “scandals” they claim to be “serious violations of the law and Constitution by the Executive” (otherwise known as Barack Obama). All little more than taxpayer-funded clown shows staged to raise money from the rube GOP base by pretending to do something about “out-of control, big government tyranny!”
They don’t mean a word of it. If Congress wanted real accountability for a U.S. President, Saint Ronald Reagan provided an instructional guide. In 1988 he signed the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Reagan then urged the Senate to ratify this “significant step” toward eradicating “an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.”
It left little room for interpretation. Article 1 defines “torture,” in part, as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession.…” Article 2 explicitly states, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
Got that? No exceptions. Not for retaliation, not to “keep us safe,” not because a real-life Jack Bauer believes that a detainee holds the key to a “ticking time bomb” somewhere.
Yes, even Republicans were once against torture. That is, until a GOP President made it government policy, as revealed—yet again— in the summary of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Com mit tee’s still-classified study of the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program.