Monday, August 24, 2009

Prosecuting Bush Torture

Via TPMMuckraker, we have the good news that a special prosecutor has been named to investigate Bush-era torture, as well as the bad news, that his mandate will be limited to only investigating folks who went beyond Bush-approved torture. As one commenter suggested, the phrase "I was only issuing orders" seems to be the exonerating one these days.

And there are lots of comments there from people who cite this as a good thing, as well as those who insist that it's worse than nothing if we can't go after Yoo, Cheney, and others. And I suspect the breakdown of these commenters largely rests upon whether they approve of Obama, compared with those who think he's not liberal enough. As I've suggested before, "liberalism" now seems to be defined as one's desire to attack Republicans; with policy considerations taking a backseat.

And I'm on the fence about this one, but overall, think it's a good thing. And that's because I'm of the opinion that this simply CAN'T just stop with underlings, and think this will be a backdoor for getting the big guys; without outright looking like Obama was gunning for them. This is the foot in the door for something bigger, even if it requires another special prosecutor to finish the job.

It's obvious the Village is of the opinion that Obama simply shouldn't prosecute high-ups for what they view as a different set of rules than Obama has; and unfortunately, our seat of government resides in their town and they don't want him trashing the place. So he'll play by the rules and appoint a special prosecutor that will push the boundaries of his mandate, which will call attention to how illegal the official policy was. And if we can't push up from there, we never were going to be able to.

So sure, this might turn out to be an exercise in futility, but I'm of the opinion that they're hoping to open up the full can of worms. Not that I expect to see Bush or Cheney being hauled away in cuffs, as that's a bit of drama that I'm not sure this country could handle; but a boy can dream...

1 comment:

Mike Goldman said...

Agreed. This is a somewhat delicate process and has to be driven outside the political domain, which means giving the career DOJ Attorney who was appointed by Mukasey to do an investigation a larger mandate to determine whether to open a formal investigation blah blah. Just give him room to come back for more authority, and give him independence.