Republican lawyers David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey in a February 17 Washington Post article, A Truth Commission?, try desperately and without success to extend George Bush's false claim of executive privilege and immunity from even investigation into his war crimes into the present, post-Bush era.
In the article, they try to show that Senator Patrick Leahy calling for a "truth commission" and Congressman John Conyers' introduction of legislation to establish a National Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties are both unconstitutional.
Rivkin and Casey list as examples of "blue ribbon commissions the Warren Commission established by President Johnson to investigate Kennedy's assassination and the September 11 commission organized by Congress to investigate the events of that day in 2001.
They apparently have no objection to these investigations into possible criminal activities, one instigated by a sitting president and the other instigated by Congress, since there were no Republicans as the direct subject of the investigation.
In trying to support their claim that these new commissions would be unconstitutional, they state that, "Because of their unique organizations, these commissions often exist outside of the Constitutions three branches of government." They completely ignore the fact that Leahy and Conyers are elected members of the Senate and House, which is in fact one of the three branches of government, the legislative, which is in fact established by the constitution.
In a further, disingenuous attempt to discredit the validity of an investigative commission, they claim that, "So the commission would be unlawful if it served anything but an advisory role." Well, of course, we already knew that. They further claim that the commission " also raises serious concerns about due process that could render it unconstitutional."
These are attempts to falsely imply that the commissions are prosecutorial and not just investigative. They are not. They can only serve an advisory role, such as advising the Justice Department, that yes, we have found evidence that George Bush and his administration committed war crimes. Then and only then does statute law kick in and the right to due process apply.
But, the crowning achievement of Rivkin and Casey's article, though they have no idea that they have done it, is that they present their own evidence that George Bush is a war criminal. They state, "President Obama's charge sheet has already been started. By authorizing continued Predator missile attacks against al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he has directly targeted those "civilians" with deadly force. That is a war crime."
Pay close attention to that last sentence and what it refers to as a war crime, and let me quote from an Associated Press article of October 10, 2008. "Washington has pushed Pakistan to eliminate such insurgent sanctuaries - and President Bush has okayed U. S. strikes in Pakistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has revealed."
Rivkin and Casey have presented the best case there can be, using their own reasoning and quoting their own words that George Bush has committed a war crime. But, since they are Republicans and George Bush is a Republican, they cannot conceive that there can be a charge sheet for Bush with exactly the same charges that for them are war crimes for Obama, but not for Bush.
Rivkin and Casey presented no evidence that Obama "okayed US strikes in Pakistan," but then they conveniently left out the evidence that Bush actually did, which according to their own words, "That is a war crime."