Obama Must ‘Dispense with Republican Sensibilities’: Financial Times Deutschland, Germany
Judging by these articles from Dutch and German newspapers we posted during the weekend, it doesn’t look like Europeans have much sympathy for Dick Cheney’s view of the virtues of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ or dire Republican warnings about ‘socialized medicine.’
The first, an editorial from Germany’s Financial Times Deutschland, counsels President Obama that it’s more than high time to ditch bipartisanship and gives him a road map for how to do it. Headlined ‘Obama Must ‘Dispense with Republican Sensibilities’, the editorial begins by discussing those in the CIA who went beyond Bush-Cheney rules for what Europeans call torture:
“With such clear violations of the law, reference to higher levels of authority as a defense cannot be considered a protection against criminal penalty. … It appears neither necessary nor expedient to pay much heed to the sensibilities of the Republican camp. Important decisions in the battle against the economic crisis have long since been made. And since the Republicans have embarked on an aggressive and populist campaign against Obama’s healthcare reforms, the bipartisan consensus has been broken. … The president should instead focus on reconciling with his disappointed supporters. This new course would gain credibility if Obama were to hold responsible, all former officials of the Bush Administration who ordered questionable interrogation methods – and if he were to personally give the investigation into allegations of torture top priority instead of hiding behind his attorney general.”
Then, in an editorial from the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad headlined ‘No Leniency for CIA Torture,’ warns of the consequences of not following through with prosecutions against CIA agents who have broken the law. The Dutch editorial says in part:
“These practices seem to have corrupted the CIA not only formally but morally. The old esprit de corps will not be restored with half measures. Mistakes have to be acknowledged and redressed. If not, then America runs the risk that the morality of the torture memos will seep into other agencies. Why shouldn’t a military or police officer do what an agent of the intelligence services is permitted to do with impunity?”
Translated By Ulf Behncke
August 26, 2009
Germany – Financial Times Deutschland – Original Article (German)
The break with the Bush era has had to wait much longer that Barack Obama’s supporters had hoped. Only after substantial opposition did the U.S. president agree to take a closer look at the brutal methods of interrogation used by CIA operatives in the war on terror and pursue criminal charges against the perpetrators. As understandable as Obama’s initial hesitation may have been from a tactical point of view, it is just as important now that he clearly commit to an in-depth investigation and prosecutions.
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