Recently watched a "Law and Order" episode that was very thought-provoking. They always disavow that their episodes are directly related to "real" people ... but this one certainly did seem to do so.
The DA decided to prosecute a case about waterboarding interrogations (it also cited other methods of physical abuse such as hanging people by their wrists, as was done to McCain in Viet Nam). It revolved around a detainee who died from the interrogation methods. The suit filed by the DA cited as co-conspirators several members of the Bush administration, including Cheyney.
Nobody wanted the DA to tread on this ground, but he went ahead anyhow. The show explored the varied emotions of those involved in the prosecution. Keep in mind the show's setting is NYC, and those staff members had watched the Towers burn on 9/11.
The Fed govt also wielded their power to prevent the local DA from moving forward. The political implication cited was that a sitting administration would not allow the trial to proceed, because it would set a precedent for allowing prior administrations to be held legally liable in civilian courts; and, obviously, that also meant that a present administration would then have the same exposure under a new administration. A new twist to an old adage: "The enemy of my enemy is also my enemy"?
The episode carried through the legal arguments of both the prosecution and the defense ... a thought-provoking summary of the reasoning behind both sides of the argument. The episode ended: the jury had just returned to the courtroom with its verdict, but the verdict was never heard, because at that moment, a Federal marshall entered the courtroom with an order from a Federal court that ended the trial. That Federal court order ended the trial, period, so that the jury's verdict could not even be heard, even though it had already been decided.
When we have discussed this issue of these interrogation methods in the past, they have centered on the waterboarding. Whether other injurious methods are also involved has never been approached. Are things done that go beyond waterboarding? If so, will we ever know?
I really feel non-partisan about this. As we have all often mentioned, both political parties (and their adherents) have plenty of dirty laundry in their closets. It is not more right for one or the other party to ignore the laws of the country ... yet, it appears that both parties do that more often than we may know.
Does war really wipe out our belief in human rights and rule of law, even when the particular human is obviously reprehensible? Even the worst murderers in our society, totally reprehensible humans, will get a trial in our courts before punishment is inflicted. Our laws don't make distinctions WRT whether the criminal is a citizen or not. The laws are supposed to be applied equally to citizens or non-citizens. Even the Nazi war criminals got trials. Even Sadaam Hussein got a trial.
I don't confuse this issue with whether these potentially dangerous people should remain confined at Gitmo or not; or whether trials should be brought to the mainland. Those are separate issues.