DO YOU EVEN NEED TO ASK?
Catherine J. Frompovich
With all the horror that took place in Boston, Massachusetts, April 15th and throughout the ensuing days until Friday night, April 19th, when the alleged suspect was captured, very little—if any—news reporting focused on significant national issues that ought to have been considered equally important to the well-being of the nation’s safety and security but apparently was overlooked. The New York Times, however, gave mention to “U.S. Engaged in Torture After 9/11, Review Concludes.”
Reading NYT journalist Scott Shane’s report, one realizes just how much the public doesn’t know but should, since the United States apparently committed what is being considered “war crimes.” That assessment came after a two year study by a bipartisan commission co-chaired by two former U.S. congressmen – Republican, Asa Hutchinson and Democrat, James R. Jones – of coercive interrogation methods used on prisoners by the George W. Bush administration.
The Constitution Project convened the study, which resulted in The Report of the Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment, a 577-page document.
Although the report covers actions taken during three different administrations beginning with that of President Bill Clinton and ending with that of President Barack Obama, most of the activity studied here occurred during the administration of President George W. Bush. This is unavoidable as Bush was president when the horrific attacks on U.S. soil occurred on September 11, 2001, and thus had the burden of responding quickly and decisively to the situation.
While the report deals largely with the period of the Bush administration’s response to the attacks, the investigation was neither a partisan undertaking nor should its conclusions be taken as anything other than an effort to understand what happened at many levels of U.S. policymaking.