As many articles have described, the appropriate response to allegations of torture by Americans is controversial. Some argue that prosecutions are the only moral course, that they will restore US standing and draw a sharp line under the past. Others argue that, while justified, prosecutions would be a major distraction for the Obama administration, and will undermine progress on other fronts. Of course, domestic political necessities cannot provide excuses for ignoring war crimes.
That said, there is certainly a practical case to be made on both sides. While the general public hasn’t realized it yet, today’s leaders will be judged retrospectively on whether they set us on a path to avoid dangerous climate change. Prosecutions could kick off a new phase of partisan warfare that makes such progress impossible, given the need for support in the senate.
What do readers think? Are prosecutions warranted? Are they absolutely necessary? What costs would be associated with carrying them out, and with ignoring them?