No Comment — January 21, 2010, 11:20 am

Time for a Special Prosecutor

Citing the Seton Hall report on the June 9, 2006 deaths, as well as “The Guantánamo ‘Suicides,’” the St. Louis Post Dispatch assesses the situation perfectly and draws exactly the right conclusions:

Enough is enough. Prisoner abuse and botched investigations undermine national security, handing America’s enemies a devastating recruiting tool. Mr. Obama should appoint an unrelenting career prosecutor to the case, someone of the caliber of Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, to dig deeper. He must follow where the evidence leads.

The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan noted the deafening silence from the Obama Administration about this matter:

In Iran, when prisoners are turned into corpses after interrogation, even the Khamenei junta feels it necessary to respond. In America, not so much.

He was the first to call for appointment of a special prosecutor. Investigating the deaths in Guantánamo has been complicated by the Justice Department’s suspicious complicity in the cover-up, starting only hours after the deaths. Because of its demonstrated inability to deal with the matter in a fashion consistent with prosecutorial ethics and the requirements of law, the next steps are just those noted by the Post Dispatch. Of course, the special prosecutor should be named by Eric Holder rather than the White House, since this is what law technically contemplates. But Congress must also assert its oversight responsibilities here, and the key initial queries need to focus on the embarrassing failings of the Department of Justice.

Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Context, No Comment August 28, 2015, 12:16 pm

Beltway Secrecy

In five easy lessons

From the April 2015 issue

Company Men

Torture, treachery, and the CIA

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada



October 2015

Lives by Omission

Lifting as We Climb

Cattle Calls

Getting Jobbed

view Table Content


“One of the peculiar things about economic inequality is that the people who are most articulate about it are not poor, while the poor themselves have said little, at least in print, about their situation.”
Photograph © Reuters/Brendan McDermid
“It would be nice to get through this review without recourse to the term ‘writer’s writer.’ The thing is, in the case of Joy Williams, I have seen the cliché made flesh.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
“Miniatures originated in Persia and were brought to the Indian subcontinent when the Mughals conquered it in the sixteenth century. They could take on almost any subject: landscapes or portraits; stories of love, war, or play.”
Painting by by Imran Qureshi.
“The business of being a country veterinarian is increasingly precarious. The heartland has been emptying of large-animal vets for at least two decades, as agribusiness changed the employment picture and people left the region.”
Photograph by Lance Rosenfield
“Rosie and her husband had burned through their small savings in the first few months after she lost her job. Now their family of five relied on his minimum-wage paychecks, plus Rosie’s unemployment and food stamps, which, combined, brought them to around $2,000 per month, just above the poverty line.”
Illustrations by Taylor Callery

Ratio of children’s emergency-room visits for injuries related to fireworks last year to those related to “desk supplies”:


The ecosystems around Chernobyl, Ukraine, are now healthier than they were before the nuclear disaster, though radiation levels are still too high for human habitation.

The Islamic State opened two new theme parks featuring a Ferris wheel, teacup rides, and bumper cars.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!


Subways Are for Sleeping


“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today