Last week, The Grand Rapids Press gave space to Representative Pete Hoekstra to attempt to justify the United States use of torture.
Now, The Grand Rapids Press has weighed in with an editorial published Wednesday. In the editorial, The Grand Rapids Press acknowledges that the United States should not have used torture and that it was a “mistake” to have done so, even in light of the threat posed by al-Qaida:
Despite that compelling context, the decision to use water boarding and other “enhanced interrogation” was a mistake.
The harsh, sometimes brutal tactics lowered the nation’s moral standing, damaged international relations and likely put U.S. prisoners at risk for tougher treatment at the hands of enemies. Water boarding, in particular, is illegal under U.S. and international law.
However, while acknowledging that the conduct was illegal, The Grand Rapids Press simply doesn’t want to see anyone prosecuted for those crimes.
Although they acknowledge the use of torture was criminal, The Press says that “Authorizing torture as an officially sanctioned practice was a moral failure”–and ultimately one that should have no consequences.
For The Press, it would be too divisive to hold investigations:
Criminal investigations, professional censure or congressional hearings will only distract from the business of continued threats at home and abroad. Such action would send a chilling message to future government leaders and intelligence operatives seeking to protect the nation in moments of grave national threat.
However, if we don’t send a clear message that the use of torture will be prosecuted, we’re simply sending the message that torture is permissible. Agents can engage in those acts, they’ll just have to deal with a few strongly worded newspaper articles and some after-the-fact criticisms, but for the most part, they won’t face any consequences.