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Brennan Resignation Not Enough

Prosecute the Torture Ringleaders

by BENJAMIN G. DAVIS

Just sick of this Executive Branch mendacity – seems to be part of the job description.

Brennan is gone – the timing of that being most likely with the public release of the torture report. The reason for it is that he is needed to be the fall guy for the torture in the age old Washington game of having a resignation by someone serve as the accountability.

Anybody remember “Brownie, you are doing a heckuva a job!” by Bush? Obama’s “I have full confidence in John Brennan” is the same thing. It is the signal of public support by the principal that opens the way for the tender of resignation of the agent. An old old game.

The hope in DNI/CIA-land is that this scalp will be enough to deflect and misdirect our attention from the central point here: all of this stuff is about continuing and extending the massive coverup of the massive crimes of torture committed by the United States.

The mendacity of the legal analysis with a game of CIA creating fantasy facts and DOJ writing analyses as if those lies were true, the creation of de facto chains of command to xircvent the dejure chain if command so as to keep the first black Secretary of State in the dark until he was faced with an administration fait accompli, the deployment of military and private contractors to have other than the intelligence people who were pulling the strings at the heart of this be on the front lines so that grunts get court-martialed but the murderer-interrogator of the ICE MAN Iraqi GENERAL gets off, the effort to compromise the Senate Intelligence Review by lawyers and tech people at CIA that Brennan tried to cover up, the allowing the ordinary citizen torture ringleaders to have access to an unredacted complete report   so they can develop a counter strategy that they will deploy the day of the release of the redacted report, and on and on.

If one cannot connect the dots like I can to see this 12 year coverup in which so many parts of the government are complicit, then I would suggest that the American denial is truly complete. And it also says that at our heart, Americans want torture.

So, if you want torture, then remember the image of Eric Garner being killed by the police in broad daylight on Staten Island. Because, the minute you countenance the state using its monopoly of violence in this manner, you countenance a brutalization of your society and a descent into darkness.

If, on the other hand, you are as troubled as have been many quiet Democrats and Republicans and Indeoendents about the lawlessness and mendacity of the torture and its coverup then join with all of us insisting on prosecution if the tirture ringleaders. They should be prosecuted and removed from public life root and branch for their breaking of the law.

We are asked to think in terms if the context after 9/11 and the fear and anger. It is precisely in those terrible moments that the question of what one’s values are us to be asked. As 9/11 was going on I taught a class and asked the students what would they advise Bush as to how to respond. I still remember a retired Navy guy – older than the rest – who said the first thing we have to do is look at our values before we determine the response.

These torture ringleaders threw out our values in their fear and anger – we do not elect or pay leaders to act with such immaturity in the face of evil. We seek people of courage with a sense if American values – like we inculcate in our soldiers many of whom I have had the pleasure to teach and to know. Yet, in this perverse world, it is only the soldiers so far who have faced criminal liability for doing the bidding if these torture ringleaders. Enough with the mendacity and on with the criminal prosecutions of these bastards to remove the stink of their cowardice from our government and serve as a warning for future governments here and around the world who are watching.

Benjamin G. Davis is Associate Professor of Law at University of Toledo College of Law.