A Democracy And Torture

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 2 2012 @ 1:03pm

Not all countries are as cowardly, morally compromised and as authoritarian as the US when it comes to investigating claims of torture (as is required under the Geneva Conventions):

Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Thursday that Poland has become the "political victim" of leaks from U.S. officials that brought to light aspects of the secret rendition program. In his most forthcoming comments on the matter to date, Tusk said an ongoing investigation into the case is proof of Poland's democratic credentials and that Poland cannot be counted on in the future in such clandestine enterprises.

"Poland will no longer be a country where politicians – even if they are working arm-in-arm with the world's greatest superpower – could make some deal somewhere under the table and then it would never see daylight," said Tusk, who took office four years after the site was shuttered. "Poland is a democracy where national and international law must be observed," Tusk said. "This issue must be explained. Let there be no doubt about it either in Poland or on the other side of the ocean."

Ponder that statement for a moment: "Poland is a democracy where national and international law must be observed." It is not something that could be have been said by either president Bush or president Obama. One committed war crimes; the other refused to investigate or prosecute. Bush knew intimately about the torture on Polish soil – and unwittingly told its then-prime minister. But here's where the rub truly emerges:

Poland is the only country that has opened a serious investigation into the matter, something which Bodnar says is a sign of maturing in this 23-year-old democracy, with prosecutors, journalists and human rights lawyers all trying to seek truth and accountability.

When will American democracy mature enough to do the same?