Thursday, August 7, 2008

Beating the drums for War Crimes Prosecutions

Sullivan's got his dander up again with regard to prosecuting Bush administration officials, including the Vice President, for war crimes relative to violations of the Geneva Conventions.

Sullivan argues:
[The] entire narrative of the torture regime makes no sense at all unless you assume that the president and vice-president understood beyond any shadow of a doubt they were violating the law, and had such contempt for the law that they simply instructed lawyers to interpret it in ways that are, in retrospect, preposterous, as even a radical advocate of executive power, Jack Goldsmith, immediately recognized. And then, using this obscure argument, simply lied to the American people about what they were doing.

He even cites an eerily sinister statement made by Dick Cheney on Sunday 9/16/2001 as evidence that he had to know about the use of torture.
"We'll have to work sort of the dark side, if you will. We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done will have to be done quietly, wihout any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies - if we are going to be successful. That's the world these folks operate in. And, uh, so it's vital for us to use any means at our disposal basically to achieve our objectives."

This statement all but confirms for any sensible person that Cheney was going to advise the president that the sort of things done at Abu Ghraib and at other "black" sites were on the table. One could potentially defend this statement as a temporary, necessary breach right after 9/11. But to insist that the US keep this sort of option open for the next seven years, when the immediate threats have subsided, is beyond sinister. Our government has emphatically stepped over the edge into the arms of rogue statehood, violating laws at will and with impunity. This makes war crimes prosecutions not only necessary but imperative. Voting the bums out of office simply won't do.

These realizations make it all too clear to me that a vote for McSame in November guarantees that we will continue to be a rogue state, a criminal enterprise, instead of the "land of the free" and "home of the brave."

Sidebar: In the most recent issue of Time, Nancy Pelosi takes 10 questions from readers, the first one being: Why have you taken impeachment off the table as an option for President George W. Bush? Her response:
I took it off the table a long time ago. You can't talk about impeachment unless you have the facts, and you can't have the facts unless you have cooperation from the Administration. I think the Republicans would like nothing better than for us to focus on impeachment and take our eye off the ball of a progressive economic agenda.

One would certainly hope that there are enough smart Democrats in Congress that could multi-task this two-pronged approach to leadership. But they won't do it, and they won't do it because, as I wrote last month:

Worse than being exposed [as hypocrites] is the potential for criminal prosecution. Should members of the Bush administration, including Rove, Cheney, Feith, Rumsfeld, Rice, and even Bush himself, be someday investigated and/or prosecuted for the felonies, then one can count on the prosecution of congressmen who knew about it but did nothing. So the Military Commissions Act and the new FISA bill, both of which contained retroactive immunity for offending parties, were strongly supported by the "opposition" party, which should have been leading the charge against these two laws.

"Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss..."

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