Torture and Accountability in the "War on Terror": What Should Be Done?

Torture and Accountability in the "War on Terror": What Should Be Done? | David Cole

David Cole
Professor, Georgetown University Law Center
October 23, 2009

In this lecture, David Cole, Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, discusses how it became legal in the United States to engage in techniques such as water boarding by examining the role of lawyers in the Justice Department during the presidency of George W. Bush. Addressing the once-secret memos that authorized such tactics, he argues that the lawyers failed their constitutional and ethical responsibilities and became accomplices to criminal conduct. He considers who, if anyone, should be held accountable for the CIA "enhanced interrogation techniques"; whether we should merely "move forward," as President Obama has suggested; and whether those who authorized these tactics should be investigated. He then discusses what these issues teach us about law and lawyering, and what our collective response to the experience might teach us about ourselves. The Institute's annual series Lectures on Public Policy aims to address issues relevant to contemporary politics and social conditions and scientific matters of broad import.