An Argument For Prosecution
The Story – The New Yorker
Will Obama institute a new kind of preventive detention for terrorist suspects?
by Jane Mayer – February 23, 2009
Her comment on Democracy Now about President Obama’s reluctance to prosecute and uphold the law. Read the whole interview with her and Glenn Greenwald.
This whole setup during the Bush years was a criminal situation, where you’ve got our government working with other governments doing things that were war crimes and violations of all kinds of rights. And the question for the Obama administration is whether they’re going to treat these things as criminal, or are they going to—they’re on the spot—are they going to cover them up? Right now, they’re trying to move forward and not get bogged down in what they see as something that’s divisive, politically poisonous, you know, a political problem for them.
I think it’s going to turn out to be a mistake for them to do this. I think they’ve—because these questions are going to keep popping up again and again.
War Crimes and American Exceptionalism
by Glenn Greenwald in Salon written February 19, 2009
It cannot be emphasized enough that those who are arguing against criminal investigations for Bush officials are — whether consciously or implicitly — arguing that the U.S., alone in the world, is exempt from the laws and principles which we’ve been advocating and imposing on other countries for decades. There is simply no way to argue that our leaders should be immunized from criminal investigations for torture and other war crimes without believing that (a) the U.S. is and should be immune from the principles we’ve long demanded other nations obey and (b) we are free to ignore our treaty obligations any time it suits us.
It’s just as simple as that: one must embrace both of those premises in order to argue for a bar against criminal investigations. And that’s particularly true for those who argue that Bush officials should not be held liable for what they did either because (a) DOJ lawyers said it was legal and/or (b) Congress provided retroactive immunity to the torturers. As documented below, those are two of the most common and most universally discredited excuses in Western justice.
That fact may not lead anyone to change their minds about investigations and prosecutions, but those who are arguing for immunity for Bush officials ought to at least be honest and admit that they don’t care about our treaty obligations and the principles we spent decades advocating for others because those rules — for whatever reasons (e.g., we’re special; we have too many other important things to do; we’re the strongest and so nobody can make us do anything) — don’t apply to us. Those who oppose criminal investigations and prosecutions should acknowledge that this is what they believe (or at least are willing implicitly to embrace). Why pretend otherwise?
You can read why the arguments for no prosecutions are really just more poison for America. It’s rather compelling. The Democrat’s (and other collaborators’) gutless worrying about their political appearance are on the brink of doing exactly what the so-called terrorist’s want. A Constitutional America ceases to exist when the “government” can imprison someone – anyone without charge indefinitely on a mere unsubstantiated accusation. The so-called terrorist did not need to attack America, the had George Bush and all his gutless Democrats doing it for him.