Sherrilyn A. Ifill: What Impunity Looks Like

Roundup: Talking About History

[Sherrilyn A. Ifill, who teaches at the University of Maryland, writes about the law for The Root.]

It's been almost two years since the end of the administration of George W. Bush. Nine years since 9/11. Nine years since the massive roundup of Muslim and Arab men without probable cause. Seven years since the invasion of Iraq on false pretenses. Eight years since lawyers at the Department of Justice published the torture memos, and government interrogators received approval to engage in the practice of waterboarding.

It's been seven years since Afghan General Abed Mowhoush was interrogated and beaten over 16 days, and finally suffocated after being stuffed in a sleeping bag by U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan. Six years since the famous "Taguba Report" (pdf) documented the abuses at Abu Ghraib. Six years since the cover-up of the circumstances surrounding the death of Pat Tillman, the former NFL player and Army volunteer killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. And this is far from an exhaustive list of the violations of law and crimes that have gone unpunished.

Yet to date, no one in the upper command structure or cabinet of the Bush administration has been criminally or civilly punished for these crimes and abuses. This is what impunity looks like....

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