The U.S. now holds about 1/4 of those in prison world-wide. All too often when a bad event happens here, the first question asked is whom shall we punish?

Today’s horror of the disclosure of the authorization of brutal torture by the Bush administration — from Bush on down — has raised this question of punishment in many quarters. When these guys were caught out at Abu Graib, their solution was to punish those down at the bottom of the ladder, presumably as cover for their own guilt. Cheney is now mounting an aggressive self-defense as the one presumably at the center of such things. Any prosecution would have him claim ‘politics’.

I do not envy Obama with far weightier things at hand, e.g. the threats of a war between Israel and Iran or an attack on by the North on South Korea with its 1 and 1/2 million troops at the border and its nuclear capacity.

Prosecuting the high level guilty would create mayhem here in all ways — and with our frail economy.

So which way to go? Comments?

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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