article about an old man, a torture victim under the fascist regime of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, finally getting his day in court to confront his torturer.
Of course, because of the decision made many years ago in Spain, during the move to democracy, to not seek "reconciliation" and to not hold accountable the criminals of the Franco tyranny, the old man and other victims have not been able to seek justice in Spain itself. Rather, as the Times explains:
“Mr. Galante and others have taken their complaints to Argentina, invoking the legal principle of universal jurisdiction under which certain crimes, because of their magnitude, transcend borders.”
And so a question arises, will America finally have the courage to confront the war crimes perpetrated by the Bush-Cheney regime, including the CIA and its kidnap and torture operations, or will American citizens have to take their complaint to Argentina?
As the US Senate prepares to issue what is called a “scathing” report on the CIA and its Terror Wars operations, including the use of torture against detainees, many Republicans, especially, are claiming that Democrats and liberals are unfairly attacking the American torturers and their bosses for having protected America after 9/11.
This is the same excuse all tyrants and criminal regimes use—they only did what was necessary to protect the state and the people from dangerous threats.
But were the American people safer because the CIA was kidnapping and torturing people? There is no evidence to suggest they were—in addition to the fact that even if it could be shown they were safer, torturing people is an unconstitutional behavior on the part of the US government, and it also violates international law.
That law was mocked by the Bush-Cheney regime as “quaint” after 9/11, as they sought, through the Patriot Act, to redefine the relationship between government and the people, such that government was in not merely the dominant position, but in the absolute position to erase the rights of the people—including their lives—without any judicial process whatsoever.
Bush, who had bragged about wanting to be a dictator, had Congress pass laws that effectively made him one. And when he decided to invade Iraq, where Bush would kill thousands of Americans and Iraqis without any good reason whatsoever, questions about the advisability of the war, and the behavior of US troops—often engaged in horribly counterproductive actions against Iraqi citizens—were attacked as unpatriotic.
Further, questions about the behavior of Bush’s regime, and the CIA under his control, were shelved, because it was demanded that such questions were inappropriate during a war. Even questions asking about the accountability of the Bush regime for allowing 9/11 to happen—if not knowingly, then through an intentional indifference to stark evidence suggesting the level of danger shortly before the attacks—were dismissed.
Repeatedly we were told: it’s too soon to ask questions about 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, and who or what to blame about the horrible number of things that have gone so terribly wrong for the USA in the Terror Wars. No, many Republicans say, it is too late to ask these all important questions. The wars have wound done, and it's all "ancient history" to most Americans.
Republicans will never want Bush’s and his regime’s war behavior to be closely scrutinized. In spite of this, the American people deserve to know the facts, and they need to know the facts to correctly assess the political acts and motives of national leaders who took the nation to war, and who fought it so badly.
Let us hope we do not have to wait decades—time enough for Bush to get good at painting perhaps—to finally have a hearing where the American people can confront the perpetrators of America’s stupidest and most shameful wars.