Senator Patrick Leahy wants to establish a "truth and reconciliation" committee to probe the possible misdeeds of Bush administration officials during the Bush Reign of Terror. So far, Obama has not been supportive and his spokesmen have continued to chant the mantra of 'look forward and not back.' That is a poor excuse to ignore possible crimes and abuse of power committed by the Bush administration. Now we get this gem:
"The subpoena raises complicated legal questions" because the administration's "obligation to protect the institution of the presidency" is "in conflict" with the committee's "desire to get to the truth," presidential spokesman Reid Cherlin said in an e-mail. (Yahoo News)
Obama did not take an oath to protect the Presidency. Obama took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. (Since he took it twice, he should be well aware of what was promised) It was the Constitution that was potentially undermined by the Bush Administration in multiple cases during its eight-year reign. And the truth is, if these allegations prove true, the Office of the Presidency was also damaged by these actions. Obama does not get to hide behind some trumped-up defense of the presidency because it is not a valid defense. We the People are the judge and jury on this one and we have to let him know it will not fly. And the Congress has more than "a desire to get to the truth." In case Mr. Cherlin is unaware, it has a DUTY.
Democrat Charles Schumer of New York, who led the Senate Judiciary Committee's investigation of the U.S. attorney firings, said he supports congressional restraint.
"There should be a general inclination not to look back" except for "egregious cases," Schumer said...
"There is room for members of the Senate or the House to do what we are supposed to do, which is oversight," said Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. Congress "can walk and chew gum." (Yahoo News)
What could be more egregious than turning this country into a police state, Chuck? What could be more egregious than illegally kidnapping people off the street and sending them to foreign prisons to be tortured? If this happened to you, if it happened to someone that you cared about, I bet you would think it was pretty damned egregious. Whitehouse has it right; Congress did not do its duty during the Bush administration and that includes the Democratic majority congress that came into power in 2006.
Obama's new attorney general, assured Republicans at his Senate confirmation hearing that he isn't planning a wholesale criminal investigation of current or former government officials, though he wouldn't rule out going after lawbreakers.
There won't be any attempt to "criminalize policy differences" with the Bush administration, he said.(Bloomberg)
Nor will the Obama administration be successful arguing that torture, kidnapping, illegal wiretapping and surveillance, fraudulent manufacture of "intelligence" information, illegal exposure of a government agent, illegal political firings and hirings in the justice department and other alleged illegal acts are mere "policy differences." If that is the argument, then terrorists could make the case that bombing innocent civilians in a marketplace is just a "policy difference" from the U.S. that bombs targets chosen for a different reason. This twisted logic will not suffice; there is right and wrong and we all know the difference.
If Obama doesn't want his "brand" irreparably stained, he should make sure that the Democrats do not back away from this sort of investigation. It makes him look complicit, as though he made a deal with Bush or he supports the things that were done. He doesn't have to push for it, which may look like partisanship on his behalf, but he should not stand in the way, nor discourage the Congress from performing its oversight duties. And if they find that illegal acts were performed, those responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
That is what is called "equal justice" and a constitutional lawyer like Obama should know it.