Obama balks at family action against those involved with 9/11

Of course, Americans who harm people overseas intentionally and wrongfully should be punished. Villains should not be able to hide behind the American flag. Our government seems to support that idea. President Barack Obama’s administration has not tried to block lawsuits filed by four former inmates in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. They are suing a U.S. contractor they allege is responsible for allowing some inmates at the prison to be tortured. Abu Ghraib, as you may remember, was used to detain terrorist suspects. At least some of their guards were Americans, and in at least a few situations, it appears the prisoners were mistreated unnecessarily. At some point, any Americans who are guilty of brutality may have to pay a price for their misconduct. But let us turn the tables: Family members of some of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States want to sue Saudi Arabia, which they say provided aid to the Islamic terrorists. Congress has cleared the way for the lawsuits to proceed. So have the courts. But President Barack Obama is balking, finding every method in his power to prevent the lawsuits from proceeding. It would complicate U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia, ostensibly an ally in the Middle East, the White House explains. That probably is true. But where 9/11 is concerned, those relations should be complicated. If the White House continues on its current course, it will be admitting that, in effect, turnabout is not fair play — that Americans can be held accountable for misbehavior abroad, but can do nothing about precisely the opposite kind of offenses. That may make sense diplomatically. It is not justice, however.