Why Bush Should Be Pardoned for Torture
ACLU thinks it's the only way to stop future torture
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2014 1:44 PM CST
Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush in a 2006 photo.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

(Newser) – A Senate panel's report on the CIA's use of torture lays out a "blueprint for criminal investigations" of George W. Bush and others, writes ACLU chief Anthony D. Romero in the New York Times. And while that argument might not be surprising coming from the ACLU, this one might be: Romero makes the case that Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, and their legal advisers should be pardoned pre-emptively. The idea "makes my stomach turn," writes Romero, but he says such pardons are the only way to ensure that torture stops for good.

It's a bow to political reality: While President Obama has condemned the use of torture, it's clear that his Justice Department is not going to go after Bush or his top advisers, writes Romero. That amounts to what he calls "tacit pardons," and that's no good because it means that torture polices might be resurrected someday. "If the choice is between a tacit pardon and a formal one, a formal one is better," writes Romero. "An explicit pardon would lay down a marker, signaling to those considering torture in the future that they could be prosecuted." Click for his full column.