thoughts on a truth commission
Briefly, I think it’s fair that a lot of different opinions are being floated by various anti-torture types regarding prosecutions, truth commissions, etc….
Here’s my take: the result of whatever happens next should be to ensure that A) this sort of systematic, policy-approved implementation of torture never happens again, and B) that we illuminate America and the world as to just exactly what happened, why, when, and by whom at gitmo but also at the secret CIA prisons, in Iraq, Afghanistan etc.
Now, a special prosecutor if we wanted to go forward with the object of “going after” someone in particular, but we’re not really quite sure yet who all that might be – or really even the extent of the problem. Politically, too, it’s dicey at best. A truth commission takes – if not a neutral stance – then at least a platform that is less obviously aimed at pursuing individuals, but rather the larger story.
Then, of course, once the truth is out there and the dust has settled, maybe a prosecution will be in order, maybe not. The truth, to me, is more important than prosecution, but not only that – I think that if anything is likely to lead to real, substantive measures at prosecution, the truth commission is the best first step. It is also the only way to really go about this without it coming across as just political revenge.