Don't Let Them Get Away With It

by: Daniel De Groot

Sun Jan 04, 2009 at 23:41

The conventional wisdom is that Bush and Cheney will slip into the night on January 20th, facing no further serious consequence for their actions.  After all, it will eat up too much political capital, be too divisive, and piss off too many villagers to do anything else.  Well, conventional wisdom is always right, until it's not.  

Digby notes an effort spearheaded by Ari Melber to promote a key question about this on  Here's what you do:

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Daniel De Groot :: Don't Let Them Get Away With It
I think some people are somewhat complacent about the torture thing because it seems a fair assumption that none of it will be sanctioned  under Obama.  This is about what comes next.  

There will be future Republican Presidents, and going from Watergate, to Iran-Contra to pre-9/11 illegal domestic spying and then post-9/11 torture and secret gulags they demonstrably will not refrain from breaking core societal ethical norms absent serious legal ramifications (and if the laws against torture and wiretapping are not enforced, then they aren't laws, just some nice things written down somewhere, much like those lists of silly laws still on the books but never enforced).  

Further, airing out what really happened on this is what will create the political impetus for another round of Watergate style reforms that adequately check the executive and perhaps revitalize the subservient legislative branch.  The general populace is not paying much attention to this issue, but trials have a way of getting their attention, and I have no doubt there is enough salacious and depraved details to explore so as to occupy cable news.

Crimes against humanity were committed as part of formal US Government Policy.  Changing the policy to stop doing it just isn't enough.  Especially not when the next Republican will just change it back, and will have the strength of the "precedent" Cheney and Bush left him to normalize it to a large segment of the population.  

Obama can start that snowball rolling downhill, but he will need a lot of encouragement to do so.  Yes, he can.

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My concern: (4.00 / 2)
I really don't want Obama going on record saying that he will prosecute, as that will just produce mass pardons. He could even pardon Cheney, then resign on the 19th and let President Cheney pardon him. The only chance at convictions is to let Bush think there'll be no charges.  

What is the argument (4.00 / 2)
against investigations?

Of course Bush will pardon his co-conspirators, that's a given. But what is the reason for not investigating what  happened, creating a public record and implementing the reforms needed to prevent the next round of Republican law-breaking that will otherwise come around in 10-15 years?

After Watergate Democrats trusted that Republicans had learned their lesson and would not do it again. Well they did learn their lesson -- that they could do it again with impunity.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Investigations cost money and time (4.00 / 1)
Don't get me wrong, I'll press for trials of the principle players - I think they deserve to be put through that kind of public humiliation at the very least.

But the arguments against even investigating are 1) We've already investigated, many times over, 2) a new investigation will cost too much money and anyway, see #1. 3) With all the crises facing the US at the moment, we don't have time to "waste" on such divisive issues and anyway, see #2 and #1. 4) Let sleeping dogs lie and be glad that President Obama is so much more honorable than those nasty Republican brutes in the Bush League. We really dodged a bullet, why bring up all that dirty laundry at a time when we all need to come together for the good of our country? Besides, #1, #2, and #3.

There's the Gordian Knot of Apologizism and Deference that the new administration does not appear to be willing to cut into pieces.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
Prison would be nice (4.00 / 5)
But more important is stopping this ever happening again.

And since the village is quite happy for all this to happen again, an argument will need to be won and I think that argument has to start being made before the 20th.

Besides, half of them Bush will pardon anyway and the other half he'll be too arrogant to think might be threatened.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
I'm gonna get reemed for this (0.00 / 0)
but I note that Bush didn't investigate any of Clinton's crimes.  The comments here should reveal to moderate Republicans that "reaching out" with a "new tone" is not a good idea and is never reciprocated.

It is dangerous for a national candidate to say things that people might remember.
 - Eugene McCarthy

well (4.00 / 2)
If you want to argue that the Kosovo strikes constituted a war-crime, I would happily trade having Bill Clinton stand trial for that, against Bush and Cheney stand trial for authorizing waterboarding, and for murder of the many prisoners who have died during or after interrogation while held at Gitmo, plus all the stuff we never heard about in the secret CIA prisons.  For promoting an aggressive invasion that cost upwards of 1M lives based on what was well understood by them to be falsified reasons.

Nothing else Clinton did is really comparable to Bush's crimes.

Also, if "moderate Republicans" think that the two parties should just have a gentleman's agreement not to prosecute each other's war crimes, then I guess the Republican party is as lost as people like me would say it is.

[ Parent ]
I think he's talking about (4.00 / 2)
Vince Foster . . . you know, Hillary shot him and covered it up? Or maybe Bill shot him and Monica covered it up, I forget.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
yeah (4.00 / 2)
I would be even more glad to trade Clinton trials for Whitewater, Foster and running drugs out of the Arkansas governor's mansion in exchange for Bush facing his war crimes.  It would be an inconvenient afternoon for Mr. Clinton, as it would take at least 20 minutes to have the charges dismissed for complete lack of evidence.  I wonder how Mr. Bush would fare in the exchange?

[ Parent ]

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