US First Shields its Torturers and War Criminals From Prosecution, Now Officially Honors Them

By celebrating Cheney with this statue, writes Greenwald, "the U.S. government unambiguously signaled to the world that not only does it regard itself as entirely exempt from the laws of wars... but believes that the official perpetrators should be honored and memorialized provided they engage in these crimes on behalf of the U.S. government." (Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

US First Shields its Torturers and War Criminals From Prosecution, Now Officially Honors Them

As Vice President, Dick Cheney was a prime architect of the worldwide torture regime implemented by the U.S. government (which extended far beyond waterboarding), as well as the invasion and destruction of Iraq which caused the deaths of at least 500,000 people and more likely over a million.

As Vice President, Dick Cheney was a prime architect of the worldwide torture regime implemented by the U.S. government (which extended far beyond waterboarding), as well as the invasion and destruction of Iraq which caused the deaths of at least 500,000 people and more likely over a million. As such, he is one of the planet's most notorious war criminals.

President Obama made the decision in early 2009 to block the Justice Department from criminally investigating and prosecuting Cheney and his fellow torturers, as well as to protect them from foreign investigations andeven civil liability sought by torture victims. Obama did that notwithstanding a campaign decree that even top Bush officials are subject to the rule of law and, more importantly, notwithstanding a treaty signed in 1984 by Ronald Reagan requiring that all signatory states criminally prosecute their own torturers. Obama's immunizing Bush-era torturers converted torture from a global taboo and decades-old crime into a reasonable, debatable policy question, which is why so manyGOP candidatesare nowopenly suggestingitsuse.

But now, the Obama administration has moved from legally protecting Bush-era war criminals to honoring and gushing over them in public. Yesterday, the House of Representatives unveiled a marble bust of former Vice President Cheney, which -- until a person of conscience vandalizes or destroys it -- will reside in Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol.

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