Obama Drops Resistance to Investigating Torture

President Obama gingerly retreated Tuesday from his resistance to a Congressionally-authorized commission of inquiry to investigate US detention and interrogation practices.  During a photo-op with the King of Jordan, he acknowledged that it is up to Congress and the Attorney General, respectively, to decide whether to authorize a special investigatory commission, or initiate a criminal investigation of torture allegations.  The President moved closer to what Amnesty and other NGOs have long been advocating — namely, not a commission composed of members of Congress, but a truly independent body consisting of internationally-recognized experts with no partisan affiliation.

Amnesty has called for a commission to be composed of “credible experts, who will be seen to be independent, impartial and objective, who command public confidence, and whose expertise includes international human rights and humanitarian law.”  There are other criteria in Amnesty’s recommendations that are designed to ensure that the commission will be truly independent and nonpartisan and that it is properly resourced.   These are vital ingredients to ensuring that the commission is seen as above reproach, thereby giving it a real chance of helping to heal rather than exacerbating political divisions.  The President recognized this concern when he ruminated about the danger of a Congressional investigation dissolving into partisan backbiting.

Another reason the commission should be composed of nonpartisan experts is that Congress itself has arguably been complicit in the abuses that have come to light, or at the very least, has failed to conduct effective oversight.  Members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, for example, don’t even have the same recollections about the extent to which they were briefed or the content of their briefings on interrogation of terror suspects.  All the more reason for us to let our US Representatives and Senators know that we want them to support a nonpartisan commission of inquiry that meets Amnesty’s criteria.

Only by getting the whole truth out can we move forward by identifying how to prevent a future administration from violating our laws and treaty obligations barring torture.

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38 thoughts on “Obama Drops Resistance to Investigating Torture

  1. I am thrilled President Obama has reflected on this important issue.
    An issue of heinous of crimes that were ordered from the Top of The Nations Leaders!
    Once again and allowing the rightful law to take due process.

    ~Kim Amadril

  2. I am thrilled President Obama has reflected on this important issue.
    An issue of heinous of crimes that were ordered from the Top of The Nations Leaders!
    Once again and allowing the rightful law to take due process.

    ~Kim Amadril

  3. I am not "thrilled" but I remain cautisously optimistic.

    Pres Obama continues to be waffle back and forth. I am certain there are some strong polictical pressure from both sides on this issue.

    Instead of focusing all the attention on individuals in the CIA or individuals within the former Bush Administration I hope this eventual investigation proves what certain Congressmen and Senators knew all along. I hope it proves which lawmakers approved and went along with this. I personally we are going to discover those who are the most critical NOW were onboard THEN.

    Many of those who are the most critical and doing the PR / Soundbyte thing are just as responsible.

    Brace yourself, I believe this debate is going to go on and on for a long long time.

  4. ** "I personally BELIEVE we are going to discover those who are the most critical NOW were onoboard THEN". Is what I meant to say.

  5. I am not “thrilled” but I remain cautisously optimistic.

    Pres Obama continues to be waffle back and forth. I am certain there are some strong polictical pressure from both sides on this issue.

    Instead of focusing all the attention on individuals in the CIA or individuals within the former Bush Administration I hope this eventual investigation proves what certain Congressmen and Senators knew all along. I hope it proves which lawmakers approved and went along with this. I personally we are going to discover those who are the most critical NOW were onboard THEN.

    Many of those who are the most critical and doing the PR / Soundbyte thing are just as responsible.

    Brace yourself, I believe this debate is going to go on and on for a long long time.

  6. ** “I personally BELIEVE we are going to discover those who are the most critical NOW were onoboard THEN”. Is what I meant to say.

  7. Anyone calling for the "investigation" of "torture" absolutely DISGUSTS me. You AND your loved ones are safe and alive today because of the information we gathered using enhanced interrogation. You need to INDEPENDENTLY (not watching NBC or ABC) what REALLY has occurred since 9-11. It is NOT a coincidence or luck that we have not been attacked yet. WE ARE SAFE BECAUSE OF THE INTELLIGENCE GAINED. The evidence proving this is out there IF you look for it. HOW DARE YOU call for prosecution of the people keeping us safe. SHAME, SHAME on you all.

  8. Colleen, I'm sorry to hear we disgust you. What we want is what's best for our country — and that is for it to live up to its ideals as a law-abiding and principled nation. You can't really believe that torture is necessary for our safety unless you willfully ignore all the professional interrogators, FBI agents, and military officers who believe otherwise and who speak from actual experience. Please read, for example, this account by FBI agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated Abu Zubayda without torturing him. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/opinion/23soufa
    And read "How to Break a Terrorist" by former military interrogator Matthew Alexander.

  9. Well, unfortunately, our President has backpedaled again and now seems to be opposing any sort of investigation. How sad that he thinks this country is so weak that can't bear confronting the truth. And this is going to lead us right to the result he doesn't want — multiple piecemeal investigations by multiple congressional committees that will be portrayted as partisan witchhunts. What we need is an impartial investigation by a nonpartisan commission of experts with no political axes to grind. Congress needs to hear that this is what their constituents want.

  10. Colleen, I'm sorry to hear we disgust you. What we want is what's best for our country — and that is for it to live up to its ideals as a law-abiding and principled nation. You can't really believe that torture is necessary for our safety unless you willfully ignore all the professional interrogators, FBI agents, and military officers who believe otherwise and who speak from actual experience. Please read, for example, this account by FBI agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated Abu Zubayda without torturing him. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/opinion/23soufa
    And read "How to Break a Terrorist" by former military interrogator Matthew Alexander.

  11. Colleen, I'm sorry to hear we disgust you. What we want is what's best for our country — and that is for it to live up to its ideals as a law-abiding and principled nation. You can't really believe that torture is necessary for our safety unless you willfully ignore all the professional interrogators, FBI agents, and military officers who believe otherwise and who speak from actual experience. Please read, for example, this account by FBI agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated Abu Zubayda without torturing him. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/opinion/23soufa
    And read "How to Break a Terrorist" by former military interrogator Matthew Alexander.

  12. Anyone calling for the “investigation” of “torture” absolutely DISGUSTS me. You AND your loved ones are safe and alive today because of the information we gathered using enhanced interrogation. You need to INDEPENDENTLY (not watching NBC or ABC) what REALLY has occurred since 9-11. It is NOT a coincidence or luck that we have not been attacked yet. WE ARE SAFE BECAUSE OF THE INTELLIGENCE GAINED. The evidence proving this is out there IF you look for it. HOW DARE YOU call for prosecution of the people keeping us safe. SHAME, SHAME on you all.

  13. Well, unfortunately, our President has backpedaled again and now seems to be opposing any sort of investigation. How sad that he thinks this country is so weak that can’t bear confronting the truth. And this is going to lead us right to the result he doesn’t want — multiple piecemeal investigations by multiple congressional committees that will be portrayted as partisan witchhunts. What we need is an impartial investigation by a nonpartisan commission of experts with no political axes to grind. Congress needs to hear that this is what their constituents want.

  14. Colleen, I’m sorry to hear we disgust you. What we want is what’s best for our country — and that is for it to live up to its ideals as a law-abiding and principled nation. You can’t really believe that torture is necessary for our safety unless you willfully ignore all the professional interrogators, FBI agents, and military officers who believe otherwise and who speak from actual experience. Please read, for example, this account by FBI agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated Abu Zubayda without torturing him.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/opinion/23soufan.html?_r=2&ref=opinion
    And read “How to Break a Terrorist” by former military interrogator Matthew Alexander.

  15. I think you are very naive. We are fighting a war against unprincipaled terrorists who cut off heads of innocent Americans and you think dripping some water on their faces is not "living up to our ideals"? Why don't you invite them over for tea?
    Colleen

  16. We are in a war that was started under false pretense. For the men and women
    who have bravely served this Country, I don't know how how they will reconcile their anger, pain, and loss over this fact.

    I do know President Barack Obama is a man of reflection, he listens to the will off people who have voted to him into office. If it is for the good of the Nation and The Country, he
    will make a shift.

    Again I believe it should be a nonpartisan experts.

    We are not innocent in this in anyway.

    ~Kim Amadril

  17. I think you are very naive. We are fighting a war against unprincipaled terrorists who cut off heads of innocent Americans and you think dripping some water on their faces is not “living up to our ideals”? Why don’t you invite them over for tea?
    Colleen

  18. The majority of the brave service men and women are in agreement with the war and the fight against terrorism and do not believe it was "under false pretense".

  19. We are in a war that was started under false pretense. For the men and women
    who have bravely served this Country, I don’t know how how they will reconcile their anger, pain, and loss over this fact.

    I do know President Barack Obama is a man of reflection, he listens to the will off people who have voted to him into office. If it is for the good of the Nation and The Country, he
    will make a shift.

    Again I believe it should be a nonpartisan experts.

    We are not innocent in this in anyway.

    ~Kim Amadril

  20. The majority of the brave service men and women are in agreement with the war and the fight against terrorism and do not believe it was “under false pretense”.

  21. Amen Colleen.

    Yeah Kim, the formerly known as "Global War On Terrorism" was started under false pretenses.

    You don't speak for me or any single U.S. Servicemember I have ever served for, with, or supervised. This includes a small number of people I know that have been injured or killed.

    That 9/11 World Trade Center thing was a figment of our imagination. UBL and al-qaeda are fictional characters so that war mongers can flex U.S. muscle.

    If the Pres wants to satisfy the "prosecute the bush administration" crowd, "prosecute the cia" crowd…it will not only be the biggest political mistake, but it will WEAKEN or country.

    How about an apology from the CIA for waterboarding the mastermind behind the deaths of 3000 innocent people? Good enough?

    When we capture UBL the first thing we'll do is put him up a Marriott Residence Inn, give him a team of ACLU attorneys, make sure he is well rested, well fed, and comfortable before we politely ask him some questions.

    Get real.

    U.S.A. Terror Free Since 9-11-2001

  22. Amen Colleen.

    Yeah Kim, the formerly known as “Global War On Terrorism” was started under false pretenses.

    You don’t speak for me or any single U.S. Servicemember I have ever served for, with, or supervised. This includes a small number of people I know that have been injured or killed.

    That 9/11 World Trade Center thing was a figment of our imagination. UBL and al-qaeda are fictional characters so that war mongers can flex U.S. muscle.

    If the Pres wants to satisfy the “prosecute the bush administration” crowd, “prosecute the cia” crowd…it will not only be the biggest political mistake, but it will WEAKEN or country.

    How about an apology from the CIA for waterboarding the mastermind behind the deaths of 3000 innocent people? Good enough?

    When we capture UBL the first thing we’ll do is put him up a Marriott Residence Inn, give him a team of ACLU attorneys, make sure he is well rested, well fed, and comfortable before we politely ask him some questions.

    Get real.

    U.S.A. Terror Free Since 9-11-2001

  23. Colleen needs to get an "edumacation" seriously.

    Would you like me to share actual facts? You would be put to shame by most of the world.

    Whether or not this issue should be addressed is not optional. I know what went down- so you better do the right thing, because a lot of angry troops are coming home soon-

    what do you think they'll say?

  24. Terrorists are like UFO's. Just one more way the US Gov will f*** with your head. Defacto!

    Let me ask you something…were you enlisted during that period of time?

    I was, so I have a very different perception on what your ignorance can't seem to embrace.

  25. Colleen needs to get an “edumacation” seriously.

    Would you like me to share actual facts? You would be put to shame by most of the world.

    Whether or not this issue should be addressed is not optional. I know what went down- so you better do the right thing, because a lot of angry troops are coming home soon-

    what do you think they’ll say?

  26. Terrorists are like UFO’s. Just one more way the US Gov will f*** with your head. Defacto!

    Let me ask you something…were you enlisted during that period of time?

    I was, so I have a very different perception on what your ignorance can’t seem to embrace.

  27. Settle down now, Kathryn, settle down! Your sorry, old comment about the only terrorists being in the White House, is ludicrous. Are you suggesting that there are no terrorists? No, I was not enlisted, but I do have an opinion. I think we should water board any known terrorist if it is going to us any SHRED of information to prevent further attacks. Is it your belief that there will be NO further attacks? Are you one of the "conspiracy theory" nut jobs?

    Silly Kathryn.

  28. Settle down now, Kathryn, settle down! Your sorry, old comment about the only terrorists being in the White House, is ludicrous. Are you suggesting that there are no terrorists? No, I was not enlisted, but I do have an opinion. I think we should water board any known terrorist if it is going to us any SHRED of information to prevent further attacks. Is it your belief that there will be NO further attacks? Are you one of the “conspiracy theory” nut jobs?

    Silly Kathryn.

  29. Kathryn-

    News flash for your hun'- Those "Unidentified Flying Objects" were actually U.S. Commercial Airplanes used as weapons to destroy the World Trade Center, crash into the Pentagon and one missed it's target when crashing into a field in Pennsylvania. Result – the HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION of murdering 3,000 innocent people.

    If you truelly believe the only terrorists you knew of lived in the White House from 2000-2009, perhaps it is you who needs an "edumacation". Even the left-wing biased mainstream media can't ignore the fact that al-qaeda exists, suicide bombers exist, and 9/11, Madrid, Africa and Asia attacks actually happened. This isn't even mentioning the attacks that were foiled.

    Are you representative of the majority members of A.I.? Or are you just crazy and in denial? I have my differences of opinion with many A.I. members, but respect most of them. I suspect you are in the overwhelming minority that believe from 2000-2009 the occupants of the White House were terrorists and no one else was. Ever heard of Usama Bin Laden? Your thoughts on him?

    Continued peace and blessings to you,

    U.S.A. Terror-Free Since 9-11-2001

  30. Kathryn-

    News flash for your hun’- Those “Unidentified Flying Objects” were actually U.S. Commercial Airplanes used as weapons to destroy the World Trade Center, crash into the Pentagon and one missed it’s target when crashing into a field in Pennsylvania. Result – the HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION of murdering 3,000 innocent people.

    If you truelly believe the only terrorists you knew of lived in the White House from 2000-2009, perhaps it is you who needs an “edumacation”. Even the left-wing biased mainstream media can’t ignore the fact that al-qaeda exists, suicide bombers exist, and 9/11, Madrid, Africa and Asia attacks actually happened. This isn’t even mentioning the attacks that were foiled.

    Are you representative of the majority members of A.I.? Or are you just crazy and in denial? I have my differences of opinion with many A.I. members, but respect most of them. I suspect you are in the overwhelming minority that believe from 2000-2009 the occupants of the White House were terrorists and no one else was. Ever heard of Usama Bin Laden? Your thoughts on him?

    Continued peace and blessings to you,

    U.S.A. Terror-Free Since 9-11-2001

  31. Anyone who supports torture is "wiggity wiggity wacked". Obama should not hide the truth in the name of democracy. We killed over 100,000 Iraqi civilians. I don't call that peace. I call that terrorism!

  32. Anyone who supports torture is “wiggity wiggity wacked”. Obama should not hide the truth in the name of democracy. We killed over 100,000 Iraqi civilians. I don’t call that peace. I call that terrorism!

  33. Are you capable of bringing anything intelligent to this blog?

    Who killed 100,000 Iraqi civilians?

    "wiggity wiggity wacked".

  34. Are you capable of bringing anything intelligent to this blog?

    Who killed 100,000 Iraqi civilians?

    “wiggity wiggity wacked”.