Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Prosecute Bush and Cheney for their crimes

Hell, yes:

We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.

Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations. The former president has confessed to violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

We see no need for these prosecutions to be extraordinarily lengthy or costly, and no need to wait for the recommendations of a panel or "truth" commission when substantial evidence of the crimes is already in the public domain. We believe the most effective investigation can be conducted by a prosecutor, and we believe such an investigation should begin immediately.

Signed by a collection of organizations I admire greatly, led by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

More kudos for CCR's timely pushback to Admiral Walsh's misleadingly reassuring report on conditions at Guantanamo, criticism effective enought to generate actual coverage. Though I'm puzzled by this bit from the NY Times story:

Rear Adm. Frank Thorp IV, the Navy’s chief of information, said the criticism of Admiral Walsh’s report did not take note of its detailed nature or the fact that it had been made public.

Maybe printed copies of the report were distributed to reporters, but it's not available online anywhere I can find. As a result, it's difficult for most of us to appreciate its "detailed nature." (Will link the report if I find it.)

At any rate, the time for pussyfooting around with the new administration is over.

Update: 6:40 pm, 25 Feb - Sometimes you just can't muster enough cynicism to do the politicians justice. This morning, I made a snarky prediction in the comments to a post by Avedon that noted Sen. Leahy being quoted by Scott Shane in the Sunday NY Times saying the proposed Truth Commission's work should include the role of Democrats in Congress in approving the Bush policies. Great, if so, I said, because it would quickly move the Democratic "leadership" over to support for prosecution -- something only contemplated (even by fire-breathing lefties) against Bush administration officials.

Today, Speaker Nancy "Impeachment is off the table" Pelosi was on Rachel Maddow's show criticizing Leahy's commission idea and favoring prosecutions instead. Hmmmmmmm...

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At 7:03 PM, February 26, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was confused by Pelosi's flipflop over to the side of Good, but I still don't quite get it. If high ranking Republicans are prosecuted, I would guess they or their supporters will do all in their power to drag down any high ranking Democrats they can.

Donald Johnson

At 6:11 PM, February 27, 2009, Blogger Nell said...

You have a point, Donald.

Given that, we're back to the default interpretation, given Pelosi's recent history: she has no intention of actually supporting prosecution.

But, as Glenn says, her remarks are useful, if we pretend she meant them, because of the way they can help move the debate in the desired direction: between truth commission and investigation-for-prosecution, rather than between "looking forward" and a commission.

While we're on the terms-of-debate point, I really resent and discourage any use of the term "reconciliation" anywhere near a possible investigating commission. We're not in a position to grant reconciliation, because we're not the primary victims of these crimes.

Binyam Mohamed and the hundreds of other persons tortured and deprived of their freedom for years on end are the ones who have any right to consider the use of the word, and they of course wouldn't think of doing so until there is some form of accountability for the crimes committed against them.

Something to convey to Sen. Leahy between now and next Wednesday, when the Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the commission proposal.

At 11:16 PM, March 02, 2009, Blogger janinsanfran said...

A Democratic initiative that worries me (among many) is that the Intel committees should "investigate." Yeah, as if that isn't the fox guarding the hen house...

At 11:15 AM, March 04, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron Paul was the last best hope for the republicrats...but now he has joined the Limbaugh admiration club and refuses to say if Limbaugh is the leader of the GOP...He could not name a leader! His actions certainly shows the demise of the evangelicrats/republicrats (now the party of the "south) as a viable politial party...and that is a shame for America.


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