President Obama acknowledged yesterday that lawyers from the Bush Administration who drafted memos authorising the use of harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects could potentially face prosecution.They won't, for three reasons:
- Obama is smart enough to realise that prosecuting people for causing discomfort to terrorists who have murdered thousands of US citizens would not be a popular move outside of his base. This is doubly true if the interrogation methods actually worked.
- The whole point about the memos is that they were trying to clarify what was legal and what was not, there is no fixed definition of 'torture' and it is not obvious that the likes of water boarding come into that category*. No court is going to convict someone for making a judgment call on the issue.
- The precedent it would create would be damaging for any US administration, as future White House advisers would be preoccupied with avoiding any possibility to the exclusion of giving the best advice possible.