President-Elect Barack Obama announced last week that he will not seek to reprimand or punish those involved in torture at the U.S. Justice Department. While his campaign repeatedly used rhetoric that seemed to condemn the nation's use of torture against detainees and in the case of Jose Padilla, even American citizens, Obama has until now remained silent on the issue. Instead of going after the perpetrators of crimes, he will simply let them go freely.
Like Bush and Cheney, Obama has repeatedly said that he "looks to the future" and will not seek punitive measures against the greatest tyrants in the American republic. Such overlooking of grave atrocities will show to the American people that no justice will be served. And if there is no justice, the state of no peace will be assured its continuance.
While the prosecution of crimes against low-level Justice Department officials who approved torture and those who actually committed the heinous crimes seems reasonably, and even necessary to ensure fairness and a true change in course, Obama refuses to even investigate those involved in some of the greatest crimes against humanity in the recent past.
However, media reports relayed that Obama intends to shut down prison-torture camp Guatanamo Bay in Cuba. While some predict an executive order could do the task on January 20th, others are skeptical about the quickness of such a plan. But, it remains unclear whether Obama will accomplish any of these early goals. Late last week, he stated that he will not be able to deliver some of his most crucial campaign promises because of the world economic collapse.
Such explanation is mind-boggling. While so much was expected from the junior Senator from Illinois, so much of that expectation has quickly faded into the shadows of political competition and intrigue.