Getting the truth out

Members of the international community are calling for investigations into U.S. torture practices.

As the international community is pushing investigations of Bush-era torture practices, the United States should preempt those calls for the truth with a domestic investigation into what recently released torture memos show to be one of the darkest eras in the nationâÄôs history. An investigative judge from Spain, Baltasar Garzon , is advocating for the trial of six former Bush-era officials, including former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo and former legal counsel David Addington. These individuals were responsible for the legal documents that authorized torture. GarzonâÄôs call for an investigation should push American institutions to look into our own past. To that end, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, has been rightly advocating for a truth commission. The truth commission would take the place of criminal prosecutions. Nevertheless, while LeahyâÄôs commission would make information public, it would fail to hold individuals accountable for their actions. There is no doubt that the Bush administration acted above the law and overextended the reach of executive power. These officials constructed legal defenses for torture and other illegal activity based on either former President Richard NixonâÄôs twisted theory that the president cannot break the law or the even more twisted theory that torture does not violate the law.