Vice President-Elect Joe Biden told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” nearly the same thing Senator John McCain said last week, that he and the Obama administration “should be looking forward, not backwards.” The nearly identical response came to the same question, that of whether or not former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld should be held accountable or prosecuted for the torturing of detainees at Guantanamo and other American military installations throughout the world that housed detainees.
Biden also maintained that it would be the Justice Department’s decision whether or not to prosecute.
Last week, when George Stephanopoulos presented Senator John McCain with the words from the report from the Senate Armed Services Committee that he himself helped craft, the senior Senator from Arizona said that it was not his job to pass render judgment on Rumsfeld or any other member of the Bush administration with regard to the authorization of questionable interrogation techniques used against detainees. His job had ended with the investigation and the report.
A portion of the report read: “Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there. It conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody. What followed was an erosion in standards dictating that detainees be treated humanely.”
Vice President-Elect Biden believes Guantanamo should be closed, stating that no intelligence briefing he has seen since being sworn in has convinced him otherwise.
Biden said, “Nothing thus far that would change my fundamental view that Guantanamo should close, number one, that, number two, the way in which we have conducted our policy, in terms of both surveillance as well as the detainees, has hurt our reputation around the world.
Biden went on to say: “And to quote from a previous national security report put out by the — the intelligence community, we have — we have created, not dissuaded, more terrorists as a consequence of this policy.”
It is argued that doing nothing with regard to holding those responsible accountable for the actions that Biden and McCain decry only help foster and create terrorists as well. If men like Rumsfeld, who, through a spokesmen, stated that the Armed Services Committee report’s allegations against him were unfounded, continue to go unchallenged or unprosecuted, more and more peoples and cultures will begin to lose faith in the United States as a place of justice.
And this is the reputation that Vice President-Elect Joe Biden and President-Elect Barack Obama have vowed to restore.
Sometimes you have to look backward to ensure that that which is behind you is not impeding you from moving forward.
“This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” ABC Television