Hmmm. Not sure I agree with this opinion from The Washington Post’s veteran political columnist, David Broder, who sees “populist anger” behind the push to investigate what he calls a “policy disagreement” over torture.
But now Obama is being lobbied by politicians and voters who want something more — the humiliation and/or punishment of those responsible for the policies of the past. They are looking for individual scalps — or, at least, careers and reputations.
Their argument is that without identifying and punishing the perpetrators, there can be no accountability — and therefore no deterrent lesson for future administrations. It is a plausible-sounding rationale, but it cloaks an unworthy desire for vengeance.
By labeling those who advocate some kind of accounting as simple pitchfork-waving populists, Broder dismisses out of hand the many thoughtful arguments, grounded in a long history – from the American Revolution to the Nuremberg Trials and the Vietnam War — for why the U.S., as a matter of law and policy, does not practice torture.