22 April, 2009

The Will to Prosecute

Looks like torture prosecutions may not be off the table after all:
During a press availability Jordan's King Abdullah, President Obama fielded a couple of questions about possible sanctions against Bush administration officials who wrote torture memos. The president went a little further than Rahm Emanuel and Robert Gibbs were prepared to go.

President Obama suggested today that it remained a possibility that the Justice Department might bring charges against officials of the Bush administration who devised harsh interrogation policies that some see as torture.

He also suggested that if there is any sort of investigation into these past policies and practices, he would be more inclined to support an independent commission outside the typical congressional hearing process. [...]

Calling the Bush-era memos providing legal justifications for enhanced interrogation methods "reflected us losing our moral bearings," the president said that he did not think it was "appropriate" to prosecute those CIA officers who "carried out some of these operations within the four corners of the legal opinions or guidance that had been provided by the White House."

But in clear change from language he and members of his administration have used in the past, the president said that "with respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws and I don't want to prejudge that."


Think Progress, which has video of the president's remarks this morning, added that Obama's comments seem to effectively put "the ball in Holder's court." And if the A.G. follows the vision he outlined during his confirmation hearings, Holder may conclude he has no choice but to pursue this matter.


Apparently, our current president's hearing is functional. Of course, the chorus of people calling for torture prosecutions and Jay "1984" Bybee's impeachment is thunderous and growing louder.

Firedoglake's petition.

ACLU's petition.

Democrats.com petition.

Think Progress petition.

Sen. Patrick Leahy demanding Bybee's resignation.

Sen. Russ Feingold, ditto.

Rep. Jerry Nadler carries the motion.

Rep. Jane Schakowsky does likewise.

And Senator Diane Feinstein tells the Obama administration not to take torture prosecutions off the table.

I'm sure I'm missing several folks. Didn't have much time to spelunk the intertoobz today. But they're enough to show the pattern here.

Over to you, A.G. Holder. Hang 'em high.


Mike at The Big Stick said...

As I've said elsewhere...I'm fine with investigations, prosecutions, etc...so long as they go back to 1947 when the CIA was founded. Every administration, every war, every covert action.

If the Left refuses to endorse that plan then I'd say it's proof that this is far less about 'justice' and far more about 'revenge'.

Don Smith said...

As I was listening to this stuff today, I thought about their Jack Bauer defense. You know, just about any country could use that to justify torture. "We must torture this pilot to find out where the next air raid will be so we can save our factory workers from this terrorism from the sky." It depends on your point of view.

That's why there are no exceptions to the anti-torture treaties/laws

Oh and Mike, why stop with the CIA? We should investigate the OSS too. Don't forget the DIA, NSA, FBI, NCC, NSI, Secret Service, SIS, OP-20-G, MI-8,...

Cujo359 said...

Why stop there, Don Smith? We've a whole bunch of things to investigate. How about the Indian wars? Must be some Democratic Presidents responsible for those. Oh, yes, Andrew Jackson.

Because, let's face it, the point of any investigation into war crimes is to show that Democrats did it, too.