The news just keeps getting worse for those who have been expecting or hoping that Obama would make right that which has been so monstrously wrong. The following story is the latest evidence that what Dr. Philip Zimbardo observed about his famous Stanford Prison Experiment remains true: while not all guards in the experiment were sadistic in their treatment of the prisoners, not a single one of the "good guards" intervened on behalf of a prisoner against the "bad guards."
Failing to prosecute and hold accountable war criminals means that the Bush Regime's actions can be repeated in the future, whether under the Obama administration or by some future president. In other words, any tyrant can do anything he or she wants because the Bush Regime did it and got away with it.
Even if, for the sake of argument, Obama doesn't torture and doesn't spy upon all of us during his term(s), the failure to prosecute Bush et al for what they have done means that the only way to insure that these war crimes, crimes against humanity and breaches of the public trust and of the rule of law can be prevented in the future is by electing individuals who promise to refrain from doing these monstrous things. We can only count on their promise and their self-regulated behavior because the mechanisms - impeachment and prosecution - to ensure that illegal and outrageous behavior doesn't occur have been left to rust by the Democrats and mainstream media as curious historical relics.
The rule of law no longer applies if Bush et al are allowed to go away without being prosecuted. This is what Obama and his party have given us. Regardless of what they do, good or bad, this one failure to act represents a stain and shame with consequences impossible to overstate.
How many of us were holding our breath this last election, worried that yet another election might be outright stolen? Do you really want to go through that over and over again? Is that any way to handle crimes against humanity? Yet this is the only thing we can count on within the parameters of official politics.
How do you like the politics we're allowed to believe in now?
If Obama is allowed to do what his people are signaling that they intend to do this also means that horrid injustice and crimes will go unpunished, irrespective of the consequences down the road.
Unfortunately, this news is not surprising. It is entirely consistent with the stance that Obama has been taking since being a US Senator: when he had the chance, the legal and moral responsibility to stop the torture and spying and so on, he demurred.
There's a changing of the guard coming but the new guards are still guards.
Yes, Virginia, this is "change we can believe in."
Obama Advisers Say No Charges Likely Against Those Who Authorized Torture
Monday 17 November 2008
by: Lara Jakes Jordan, The Associated Press
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Washington - Barack Obama's incoming administration is unlikely to bring criminal charges against government officials who authorized or engaged in harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists during the George W. Bush presidency. Obama, who has criticized the use of torture, is being urged by some constitutional scholars and human rights groups to investigate possible war crimes by the Bush administration.
Two Obama advisers said there's little - if any - chance that the incoming president's Justice Department will go after anyone involved in authorizing or carrying out interrogations that provoked worldwide outrage.
The advisers spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans are still tentative. A spokesman for Obama's transition team did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
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Cal Poly Pomona Sociology Professor. Author of "Globalization and the Demolition of Society," co-editor/author (with Peter Phillips) of "Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney." National Steering Committee Member of the World Can't (more...