Saturday, November 22, 2008

Obama Considering Commission On Bush Admin Torture

From Newsweek and the Huffington Post:

Obama aides are wary of taking any steps that would smack of political retribution. That's one reason they are reluctant to see high-profile investigations by the Democratic-controlled Congress or to greenlight a broad Justice inquiry (absent specific new evidence of wrongdoing). "If there was any effort to have war-crimes prosecutions of the Bush administration, you'd instantly destroy whatever hopes you have of bipartisanship," said Robert Litt, a former Justice criminal division chief during the Clinton administration. A new commission, on the other hand, could emulate the bipartisan tone set by Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton in investigating the 9/11 attacks. The 9/11 panel was created by Congress. An alternative model, floated by human-rights lawyer Scott Horton, would be a presidential commission similar to the one appointed by Gerald Ford in 1975 and headed by Nelson Rockefeller that investigated cold-war abuses by the CIA.

More here.

Okay, my "fuck you" to President Obama may have been premature. Or heavy-handed.

Of course, everyone behind Bush's torture regime needs to face justice. But that's obviously not politically feasible to the incoming White House. A bipartisan investigation is the next best thing, and it may even result in some public clamor for indictments once it's over with, that is, if this hypothetical commission can avoid the primary mistakes Congress made when investigating Iran/Contra, granting immunity for testimony to virtually all the key players.

The bottom line is that this country must do something to declare to the world that torture is immoral and America stands firmly against it. Anything less than that makes this country and the ideals for which it supposedly stands a sick joke. This commission proposal is a good step in the right direction.