Let's hope today continues to be remembered as Martin Luther King Junior Day. I don't have a dream today, I have a nightmare...that in future years, it will instead be commemorated as Pardon Dick Cheney Day.
Why else did Cheney frankly admit to torture? For that matter, given his own unusually candid recent statements, is Bush also going to pardon himself?
Some constitutional "experts" don't believe you can pardon yourself (the Constitution doesn't say a damn thing one way or the other, which is why I'm skeptical about expertise here). Personally, bearing in mind the way the Framers thought about most things, I doubt the term is supposed to include pardoning someone for something they haven't yet been charged with, at all. In other words, I don't think ANY blanket or preemptive pardons, for all crimes that someone may or may not have committed, are constitutionally valid. (Yes, in case you're wondering–that includes Ford's destructive and utterly unethical pardon of Nixon, which was OBVIOUSLY, to any reasonably astute person lacking the blinders of American national pride in "our leaders," a quid pro quo, whether explicit or implicit. And I am not impressed by polls showing a slight majority of people, many of whom weren't even born then and most of the rest of whom don't remember the circumstances very well, approve of the dirty deed. Much more significantly, most people AT THE TIME, when they knew what was at stake and didn't have the incentive of letting bygones be bygones, thought it was wrong.)
But I digress. Regardless of whether it really is constitutional to issue preemptive pardons, blanket pardons, even self-pardons–it's obvious that in this political climate they'd get away with it all the way. Many would criticize, but who would have the guts to do anything about it? And besides, there's a rogue Republican-operative majority on the Supreme Court. Yes, there'd be political fallout and everything, but that's sort of like sticking a booger into a nuclear waste dump. Bush has already incurred so much political damage, the P.R. side almost doesn't matter any more, as long as HE can take sole responsibility–which is one of the great things about pardons.
It seems to me Bush and Cheney are setting up a situation where all of their subordinates can give the defense that wasn't accepted when the Nazis used it, namely, "I was just following orders." That defense isn't adequate under American law, either, but it might work anyway; after all, who holds our "leaders" to correct legal standards these days? And besides, they can say their superiors actually confessed their own guilt. Then, these "superiors," the ones who actually gave the orders, Bush and Cheney and perhaps a few other people who can't pass the buck, are immune from any prosecution because they were pardoned. This lets everybody off the hook. It's sort of like a Ponzi scheme–-or should I say Madoff scheme?–-except with criminal liability instead of money. But because justice is a lot less rigorously enforced than economics, this pyramid scheme wouldn't inevitably collapse.
File this article within the "I hope I'm proved wrong within 36 hours" department.