Since Obama Is On Vacation, Eric Holder Gets to Be President of Not Torturing People

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08/24/2009 3:19 PM |

A long-awaited internal report from the Justice Department, released today, recommended the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate detainee abuses carried out by the CIA during the Bush years.

Your boyfriend/president Barack Obama is on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard this week, of course. So, according to a spokesman, he will let his magnificently mustachioed Attorney General, Eric Holder (previously confirmed as president of not torturing people), decide whether to follow through on the recommendation, while the president wears a straw hat and tells his Secret Service detail not to turn the burgers so often, let ‘em sizzle a bit.

“The president doesn’t want to make a national security decision that might appear partisan, especially during a healthcare debate. So he’s going to let one of his cabinet officials take the heat while appearing, for his part, objective and deferential to expertise”, a spokesman did not say, but might as well have. Earlier this year, we predicted that the president would do as much as he could to push for torture prosecutions, without actually doing anything at all to push for torture prosecutions. Today’s news seems consistent with that prediction.

Of course, this news comes the same day as the administration’s announcement that it will continue the rendition of terror suspects; and Eric Holder’s Justice Department has certainly continued some of the Bush administration’s worst policies. (Jane Mayer’s state-of-the-Obama-administration report on detainee and interrogation policy, among other things, remains a singularly frustrating must-read.) But this is, at least, something like good news.

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