Thursday, November 13, 2008


I really want to post on a subject other than Sarah Palin, but the topic that most obviously presents itself right now is one on which I'm inevitably going to infuriate people, at a time when I'm already thisclose to being sent to Lefty Blogger Reeducation Camp. So I'm going to use a quote as a shield. Who said this?

They've got away with it, categorically; anyone who talks about prosecuting Bush and Cheney [for war crimes] is kidding themselves.

That's Seymour Hersh, in the October 19 Guardian. It wasn't some self-hating milquetoast elected Democrat.

Listen to him if you're not going to listen to me (and I know you're not). The chances of getting the real perpetrators of the past eight years' crimes are slim and none. And the fish stinks from the head -- if you're not going to get Bush and Cheney, what's the point?

Of course Bush is going to invoke executive privilege after he leaves office in order to hamper inquiries, as Charlie Savage suggests in today's New York Times. Of course, as Mark Benjamin notes in Salon, he's going to issue blanket pardons; it's absurd to think he's going to be restrained by this objection mentioned by Benjamin:

On the one hand, a blanket pardon for anyone involved in the interrogations could be viewed by the public as a tacit admission of colossal wrongdoing -- after years of public denial -- which would do nothing to help Bush's tarnished legacy.

(To give Benjamin his due, he goes on to offer the counterargument: "Bush might seek to frame a blanket pardon as a preemptive strike against wrongheaded, partisan retribution." Might?)

And of course the Bush courts will back Bush up.

How hard, how often, and for how long will President Obama want to run headfirst into a brick wall? I'm guessing the prospect is not very appealing to him. Any effort to go after Bush, Cheney, or other high administration officials would seem like a "partisan witch hunt" because of resistance by the targets, the GOP, and GOP-friendly elements of the media -- and then Obama would be blamed for the partisanship. And, sorry, but the public hasn't shown much outrage in response to these policies. (Bush was reelected the year Abu Ghraib was exposed.)

I think Obama will probably play the long game -- he won't pursue these matters, he'll (let's hope) dramatically reverse Bush policies, all while the truth (let's also hope) comes out. (Hersh again: "You cannot believe how many people have told me to call them on 20 January.... [They say:] 'You wanna know about abuses and violations? Call me then.' ...") Most of you will be disgusted. Sorry, I won't be.

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