WHY VIOLATING INTERNATIONAL LAW IN A COVER-UP IS WORSE THAN VIOLATING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Abstract: How the new boss is in danger of getting worse than the old boss.
There is something worse than having a country practice torture. What is worse is when a country normalizes torture. What Obama and company are saying, in fact, is that torture is not prosecuted in the USA.
This statement is creating a legal precedent, and even worse, a new social contract for the USA. The United States of America does not just torture, it justifies the torturers, and sees no ground for their prosecution.
Then Obama can say: "we, the USA, do not torture". But look at what the USA does. Talk is cheap, and most of the time, of no consequence. Acts are definitive.
Forgiving all and any torturers on the outset, on the ground that it happened before, is a definitive act.
Obama always says that he looks forward, not backwards. Why was he a lawyer then? Do not lawyers have to look at acts and facts sometimes? Do not acts and facts happen in the past? And only in the past? Do not lawyers have to argue about what the acts and facts really were, before giving advice or passing judgment? I mean real lawyers, those who practice law, not just pontificate for mesmerized students.
Dear Obama, everything that happened, happened before. Learn. Nothing that happened, happened tomorrow. Learn. We only move forward because we have identified, examined and learned the mistakes we did in the past.
In the USA, the fact is, looking forward, from now on, thanks to dear Obama's position that the past divides us, that if government officials use torture, other government officials will come and justify the torturers. Such is the new social norm. As determined by Obama, the lawyer who does not learn from the past. Learn. That is what the examined life means. Learn.
When a French general revealed, 45 years later, that he had taken part, as a general, in torture in Algeria, and justified it, he was punished by the French State (although in theory there was legal prescription).
France knows there are lines not to be crossed, formally speaking. To forgive, forget, and refuse to examine yesterday's torturers is not normal speech. First it is action, by refusing to help the victims, past and future. And it is also hate speech against the victims, past and future. It is even hate speech against our civilization.
Al Qaeda will be happy to learn that Obama justifies torture. Something for the Taliban to meditate too, as they make American soldiers prisoners. (As the case of the Algerian war showed, torture can work for the torturers; not for civilization, though. See addendum.)
Republican, democratic Germany prosecuted the Nazi torturers. All and any of them that could it could detect, suspect, and find. Why? Because liberated Germany had become, and it is, a republic, and a democracy. Germany was not a torturing racist plutocracy anymore. It was not anymore the United Sadists of the Apocalypse. No more of this sort of USA.
Some deluded people in Germany tried State sadism and torture before, after they seized electoral power with propaganda tricks, claiming they were from the left, even "socialist" and "nationalist". But all those NAtional-soZIalists, those Nazis, were servants of an international plutocracy, most of which was based in the USA (and gave the Nazis their weapons and Wall Street financed military-industrial complex).
The Nazis, inspired by demented variants of Nietzsche and Darwin, proceeded to find reasons why civilization, as heretofore understood, was quaint. They did away with lots of it, most of it secretly, though, because their rule was based on consent, not terror (see the book "Hitler's Willing Executioners" for reference on this; the Gestapo had very very few officers inside Germany). Consent rested on ignorance, but was a delicate thing. The Nazis knew that the Germans would not have tolerated the reestablishment of official Middle Ages methods.
Thus, even those Nazis never came out as that creep who teaches law at University of California, Berkeley, came out, under Bush. The creep wrote an official USA memo justifying torture. That creep said that torture was good. No Nazi ever dare sink that low. It has been left to the USA to sink that low.
For years that anti civilizational creep was left to teach and pontificate, a respected alternative to reality.
Just as Hitler's book "Mein Kampf", this is the first act, the first warning, the first submission of the theory to the people: torturers are `cool'. Don't be alarmed.
The plutocracy taught us that greed was good. Now its obsequious servants are teaching us that torture is "cool". Well, it may be cool, but it's not tolerated in our civilization, or in international law. Like Nazi Germany, the USA is free to exit both, and we are free to oppose the USA. We will see who wins. We already know where morality won. We also know that the right ethics is most of the battle.
U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama's decision not to prosecute officials who practiced torture professionally on terrorism suspects amounts to a breach of international law, the U.N. rapporteur on torture said. "The United States, like all other states that are part of the U.N. convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court," U.N. special rapporteur Manfred Nowak told the Austrian daily Der Standard.
At least the USA will not be able to come around and claim that nobody told them they went criminally insane. Because, simply put, that is what is going on.
Addendum: In Algeria, the FLN (Front National de Liberation) used torture against French civilians, and recommended to use it against small French children. Although the French army had won the war militarily, and although the Algerians had voted massively in favor of the new constitution that was uniting France and Algeria as a big democracy, everybody was disgusted, and the government in Paris suddenly just quitted, and gave the keys of the country to the FLN, without further elections. There had been so much bad blood, due to the usage of torture on both sides, that civilization got so damaged, that both societies were left in partial moral ruin to this day. Subsequent civil wars in Algeria (two and counting) killed hundreds of thousands of people, and the millions of Algerians and their descendants who found themselves on the other side of the Mediterranean from Algiers, were long treated with undeserved hostility by the French natives, no doubt in part to justify the bad outcome.
So it's a choice; torture and thrive the torturers, or examine what happened, examine and condemn the details of how one got there in the first place, to save civilization. Only a judicial, and civilizational inquiry can do this.