President Obama says we should move forward and leave behind the revelations of former President Bush’s policies and practices of torture, telecommunication spying, and other obvious violations of the Constitution, US law, and International law.
I have to respectfully disagree.
I’m appreciative of Mr. Obama’s releasing of the so-called torture memos authored by lawyers in the Bush administration last week. They confirm what we knew from many other sources over the past year or so. But, the release of the memos is not enough.
Senator Patrick Leahy has said there should be an investigation into these gross violations of law. I think there should be a special prosecutor, grand jury investigations and, if enough evidence of violations of law, indictments of those responsible, including the former President and Vice President of the United States. Then, we should move forward with trials and convictions if the evidence and juries find the defendants guilty.
This judicial process is the same as that used in the trial of Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby. A special prosecutor, some evidence to the grand jury, an indictment, a trial, a conviction, and then a commutation of his sentence, not a pardon by the sitting president. While at first I had misgivings about then President Bush giving Scooter Libby a commutation of his sentence, preventing Libby from going to jail, I’ve had to rethink my position. Now, more than ever, we really need a record of misconduct that would not allow the actions of the former administration to go unnoticed in the history books leaving Bush, et al, to virtually write their own historical legacy.
The “Libby Scenario” is what President Obama should use in prosecuting all members of the Bush administration who had a hand in allowing torture and other unconstitutional activities and policies of the United States. First, it follows the rule of law. Second, it will bring to the public attention that no administration can trample the Constitution with abandon. Third, the public will hear and see all of the details of this heretofore punishable crime (witness the Nuremberg trials). Fourth, it will leave an historical record of misdoings for all to see and for all time.
Then, if the Obama administration wants to move forward after a cathartic experience by the American people, let President Obama issue commutations for the offenders. This will leave the historical record for future generations of politicians and others who will know for sure that their legacies will not be created by the offenders but by Constitutional means that they themselves tried to destroy. It will, in my opinion, stop future authorizations of torture by the United States and in the name of the people of the United States.
This post can also be found at eProf2’s web page, www.eprof22.blogspot.com