Huge report from an impressive array of political and legal figures. Here are the key sentences:
Perhaps the most important or notable finding of this panel is that it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture.
The second notable conclusion of the Task Force is that the nation's highest officials bear some responsibility for allowing and contributing to the spread of torture.They also offer a strong denunciation of the torture regime:
Torture and democracy cannot coexist in the same body politic.More from commission member Thomas R. Pickering:
It’s not just the Bush-Cheney administration that bears responsibility for diminished U.S. standing, although the worst abuses undeniably took place in the years immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Obama administration also has failed to be as open and accountable on such fundamental questions of law, morality and principle as a great power that widely supports human rights needs to be.
What can be done to mitigate the damage and set this country on a better course? First and foremost, Americans need to confront the truth. Let’s stop resorting to euphemisms and call “enhanced interrogation techniques” — including but not limited to waterboarding — what they actually are: torture. Torturing detainees flies in the face of principles and practices established in the founding of our republic, and it violates U.S. law and international treaties to which we are a party. Subjecting detainees to torture, no matter how despicable their alleged crimes, runs counter to the values embodied in the U.S. Constitution.