Knowing that torture was condoned in our names is an abominable thing. This parlor game of moving forward, not backward, of letting bygones be bygones, admitting error, and just getting the hell on with our days is just as dismal, because this, finally, internalizes the message that we citizens, our government, and other nations will take from this sorry affair, which is that while we begrudgingly acquiesce to stopping, we will, even now, refuse to recognize the act itself as truly criminal.
There is absolutely no pride to be gained in no longer torturing, but blocking justice in those instances in which we have. It is no act of courage; it is no enlightened position. It is merely the easiest path, and the one followed in nearly every instance by nations proven to have committed foul acts. Sorry, but we're not about to do anything about it. We'll stop, but in exchange for stopping we expect the episode to be forgotten. What would count as a war crime for you other countries counts for us as an internal matter, and we consider it closed.
I do not feel like begging. After years of railing against the practice (to be largely ignored, because in those days the majority of voices presumed torture to have positive effects, and therefore be justified), after years of government denial that any such thing was happening (in spite of clear and demonstrable evidence that it did), the last thing in the world that I feel like doing is once again begging, at long last, and to the supposed reasonable people that replaced the last reasonable people, that we actually follow our own goddamn laws, or treat crimes by our powerful with the same grave manner as we do crimes by anyone else in the nation.
I am fucking sick of it...
We all are. The question is are you, Mr. Attorney General?
Update: Nicolaus Mills on the most crucial and obvious:
...if we don’t at least deal with the collective failures that occurred in the Bush Justice Department immediately following 9/11, we are setting ourselves up for a time when a future administration will see no risk in again sanctioning torture. This is a problem that the Obama administration cannot duck—no matter how much it would like to.