As the nation looks forward to the Obama administration's promise of Guantanamo's closure, it is important not to underestimate the damage a lame duck president can still inflict on the nation's human rights record.
President Bush retains the power to pardon any number of people potentially responsible for the egregious acts committed in the war on terror. That means those who might have participated in torture, indefinite detention without charge or trial and the CIA's secret detention program could go unpunished.
Just as important as accountability is the truth about human rights abuses. The American people have a right to know what abusive, unjust actions were taken in their name. An independent commission of inquiry should be established to tell this sad chapter of U.S. history, and then close it for good.
President Bush still has a chance to do the right thing. Nine human rights groups organizations, including Amnesty International, have called on the president to reject impunity for crimes committed in the war on terror. I urge him to heed their calls, and set the stage for the U.S. government to counter terror with justice, not abuse.
Veronica J. Geretz