How did we transform from champions of human dignity and individual rights into a nation of armchair torturers? One word: fear. Fear is blinding, hateful, and vengeful. It makes the end justify the means. And why not? If torture can stop the next terrorist attack, the next suicide bomber, then what's wrong with a little waterboarding or electric shock? The simple answer is the rule of law. Our Constitution defines the rules that guide our nation.... We either believe in the dignity of the individual, the rule of law, and the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, or we don't. There is no middle ground.Dawn Johnson, the woman appointed to head up the OLC is even more promising: she isn't just against torture, but advocates prosecution of torturers. Of her predecessor John Yoo's Infamous Torture Memo, she wrote:
The shockingly flawed content of this memo, the deficient processes that led to its issuance, the horrific acts it encouraged, the fact that it was kept secret for years and that the Bush administration continues to withhold other memos like it--all demand our outrage.... At the time of the Torture Opinion's issuance, violations of Common Article 3 were punishable war crimes under federal law.Yummy. This is by far my favorite of Obama's appointments so far.