Don’t sweep torture under the rug


To the Editor:

NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” recently broadcast an exchange between two legal scholars, Columbia University visiting professor Charles Fried and Washington University professor Jonathan Turely.  The program, titled “The Legacy of Bush’s ‘War on Terror,’” considered the justifiability of prosecuting Bush Administration members for authorizing the use of torture.

I was frankly horrified by Fried’s cavalier dismissal of holding anyone accountable for the commission of torture in the name of we the people of the United States of America. His dismissal could have come from some insanely excusatory dialogue given in a remake of the movie “Judgment at Nuremberg.”

For the sake of our immortal souls and the good fruits of mankind we might best review the original cinematic recounting of Nazi war-crimes trials and the memorable concluding lines delivered by actor Spencer Tracy in portrayal of the film’s presiding officer, Chief Judge Dan Haywood:


“A country isn’t a rock. And it isn’t an extension of one’s self. It’s what it stands for, when standing for something is the most difficult. Before the people of the world — let it now be noted in our decision here that this is what we stand for: justice, truth and the value of a single human being.”

For the sake of the rule of law throughout the world, this matter cannot be swept under the rug of convenience. Does Fried neither know nor want to find out, or does he know and not care about what he knows?

Sam Osborne

West Branch

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