By David K. Shipler
It used to be sadly comical when Russia took a holier-than-thou posture on human rights. But the United States has fallen so far that Americans don’t get to smirk much anymore. In the recent tit-for-tat over rights abusers who are being declared unwelcome in each other’s countries, at least three of the former top U.S. officials fingered by the Russians are, in fact, true violators of basic liberties. They have been branded legitimately. In the aftermath of today’s bombings at the Boston Marathon, it is worth remembering how easy it is, in the face of such tragedy, to deviate from the rule of law.
The three are David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s legal counsel, who evaded the law and the Constitution to engineer torture and illegal surveillance; John Yoo, who wrote infamous memos for Bush’s Justice Department defining torture so narrowly as to give the CIA practically a free hand; and Geoffrey D. Miller, who as an army major general commanded both Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prisons, where suspects were abused and humiliated, generating iconic photographs.
They are among the eighteen Americans listed by Russia.