America prides itself on being a nation of laws. Politicians -- particularly those of the Republican stripe -- say the very fabric of society is endangered if laws are not enforced, and they say no one should be above the law. "Democracy depends on it!" they insist.
But that belief in the religion of law and order is not absolute, as we witnessed during the 8 years of the Bush Regime. CIA agents were outed, American citizens were spied upon by the intelligence community, and prisoners were tortured and killed in CIA-run prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Gitmo.
None of this was kept particularly secret -- as each crime was made public, the NeoCons and their proxies came out and insisted "national security" allowed for bending of some laws, and outright suspension of others. In a nod to Nixon (and apparently forgetting how that turned out for him), more than a handful said illegal acts weren't illegal if the President did them.
So, we turn back to the issue of torture, which has crept back into the public in recent weeks.
After denying the practice of torture for years, Dick Cheney took the lead in arguing that torture was in fact legal. And much of the US public ignored the legalities and accepted his statements.
But if torture was legal and protected by executive decision, why order the destruction of interrogation tapes unless even the White House and the CIA realised their actions were illegal? If Porter Goss wants to take the heat for the crime, let him do the time, but don't stop there -- investigate, prosecute, convict and sentence the architects of torture.
Obama takes the myopic position that we need to look forward instead of backward. But this isn't about someone speeding in a school zone, this isn't about someone smoking a bowl on a Friday night, this isn't running out on your tab at the corner bar, this is about torture being committed by the United States of America, and having that torture covered up at the highest levels.
Open investigations now, for the sake of democracy, and prove that Presidents, Vice Presidents, and CIA directors are not above the law. Or let's dispense with enforcement of laws for the rest of us, cuz I'd rather smoke my bowl, pay my sex workers, speed in my car, and download my music, movies and porn without worry.