The “banana republic” talking point

[Updated May 1, 2009]

In response to the Obama Administration’s ever-so-slight and subtle hint that maybe, just maybe, some Bush Administration officials might face investigation and prosecution if they broke the law in authorizing torture, a neoconservative Republican talking point has emerged.

“Why, this is outrageous!” the torture supporters say. “Why, this is banana republic stuff! You can’t have the United States of America prosecuting former administrations over mere policy differences!”

Really? So, being a policy maker protects you from prosecution under the UN Convention Against Torture, to which the US is a signatory?

Authorizing torture is a “policy difference?” Wow. I don’t think even Bill Clinton, at his verbal massaging best, would have used that whopper.

Obviously, this is verbal cover for the concept that those who rule us are above the law. Waterboarding, a form of torture so vile that we executed Japanese soldiers for using it, is just a “policy difference.”

And, heaven forbid we should become a “banana republic” that actually prosecutes our ruling class for breaking the law!

By the way, isn’t torture something that we used to criticize banana republics for using?

Update: May 1, 2009. Judge Andrew Napolitano (a libertarian-leaning judge and Fox News commentator–don’t hold it against him) has steadfastly provided an anti-torture counterweight to the usual gang of idiots on Fox. His recent column patiently points out that under the Geneva Conventions, to which the US is a signatory, you are not even allowed to TOUCH a prisoner except to move them from place to place. He points out that the torture committed under the Bush Administration, approved by Judge Bybee, is clearly against the UN Convention on Torture (to which we are a signatory), and the US law against torture. He doesn’t point out that the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution also clearly prohibits torture–not, as neocon lunatics would have you believe, just to US citizens, but to anyone under US jurisdiction.

Maybe the good judge just ran out of room.

Napolitano also points out that Eric Holder, the new Attorney General, has clearly stated that torture is against the law, and that, furthermore, no one is above the law. I say to Attorney General Holder: “then let ‘er rip!” Pull up the recliner, switch on the TV, grab some popcorn, and let the prosecutions begin!