A post on this blog from two years ago,"The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld", Book From The Center for Constitutional Rights , highlighted a book entitled "The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld A Prosecution by Book. It is "... a book that lays out the evidence that high-level officials of the George W. Bush administration have ordered, authorized, implemented and permitted war crimes, in particular the crimes of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The authors point out by including "by book" in the subtitle, they did not have expectations that the officials involved would actually be investigated or held accountable for the consequences of their policies.
Two years later, well into the new Obama administration, the situation has only partially improved. Some of the most egregious policies and practices have stopped. But some continue under new names. Still there are no serious investigations by either the administration or Congress , of past practices and who formulated and carried them out. There have been some significant changes but much of the past remains unexamined, not allowing us the means to judge accountability and threatening a re-occurrence of those practices in the future.
[ Obama Team Is Divided on Anti-Terror Tactics, Eric Holder and the battle over Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ]
It is propitious that at this time, DePaul law Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, has come out with the book, "The Institutionalization of Torture by the Bush Administration , Is Anyone responsible?", to forcefully and cogently raise again those issues of accountability and of the need to end those practices that continue to violate our constitution, our treaties and not least of all, our morals as a nation.
In documenting what the problems have been, Professor Bassiouni points out the central role of resident Bush's official lawyers in providing a "legal" basis for what was undertaken. Professor Bassiouni says that, "In time, future generations of Americans, as well as non-Americans...will wonder why these actions were allowed to occur, why the organized bar failed to oppose such crimes or investigate for possible ethical violations those lawyers who wrote memoranda justifying torture, why so many Americans supported torture, and why the Obama administration has failed the principled task of investigating the crimes allegedly committed."
[ Foreword p. xii ]
In a comment on Professor Bassiouni's book, John D. Hutson, Dean of the University of New Hampshire School of Law who also served as Judge Advocate General of the Navy, states "...It's a tough subject, but an important read for anyone who wants to ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated by this great nation." [book jacket]
Link to podcast of a talk with Cherif Bassiouni of DePaul University and author of "The Institutionalization of Torture by the Bush Administration: Is Anyone Responsible?" and Chicago attorney Candace Gorman, who represents two Guantanamo detainees, on the WBEZ program Worldview, Jan. 24, 2011.