Whenever he’s asked about the scandals of America’s war on terror — the torture, the wrongful detentions, the legal corners cut — President Obama has responded with some version of this statement: “We have to focus on getting things right in the future as opposed to looking at what we got wrong in the past.”
But that approach can’t work. The unanswered questions are too many, the lawsuits too numerous, the fundamental questions of accountability too nagging. We need a public reckoning — and, much as they might like to avoid the distraction, Obama and his people must know it.
The latest controversy was the disclosure last week that the CIA had launched a program to track down and kill Al Qaeda leaders without informing Congress. The CIA withheld the information, according to Director Leon Panetta, on orders from then-Vice President Dick Cheney. [continued…]