Monday, January 12, 2009

Barack Ford?

Today is Monday, 12 January 2009.

President-Elect Barack Obama said yesterday, on This Week on ABC, in regard to torture at Guantanomo and in CIA interrogations: "My instinct is for us to focus on how we make sure we're moving forward, we are doing the right thing. That doesn't mean that if somebody has blatantly broken the law that they are above the law, but my orientation is going to be moving forward."

On the same show, right-wing extremist George Will said: "With regard to investigating the Bush administration, he's made the decision that Gerald Ford made with regard to pardoning Richard Nixon, which is your presidency can be swallowed up by the past arguments or you can go forward. That's very sensible."

Question for Messrs. Obama and Will: Shall we also move forward, and not be swallowed up by the past, by refusing to prosecute common thieves, murderers, and child rapists?

Or is clemency only for the high and mighty?


Anonymous just a thought said...

Not to condone the thought of not making wrong-doers pay for their transgressions. Rather, is there any validy to the notion that collective efforts are better served by working on and for the future? As an individual, you can do only so much in a day or a week or a year. Might your efforts be most effective by working on what can be changed and improved?

12:21 PM  
Anonymous also pondering said...

I, too, have had your thoughts, "just a thought," but I also have another concern beyond punishment for transgressors. Are we also removing fear of the law (I don't say "respect for the law" for these folks, because that obviously is not enough) as a deterrant? Is it really appropriate to say, essentially, that to prosecute members of a former adminstration would be too disruptive to the current one? I'm not sure I like the message to The Decider and his cronies that they are, in fact, above the law just as they always believed.

The President does have the power to pardon, and may do so as he sees fit; but at least a pardon acknowledges an offense. Simply ignoring the Constitution and the rule of law makes me more than a little anxious.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous rtr said...

Lending weight of numbers to this thread without adding anything beyond what HH has already said. This is an issue for which the people need to speak much more vigorously. If the PE moves forward without investigation and censure of constitutional wrongdoing, he will own a piece of that harm to the constitution that he intends to swear to defend.

Failure to enforce the law can in no way be construed as a defense of the Constitution. To the contrary, such inaction permits continuing harm to the law.

Failure to convene less than the equivalent of a grand jury (independent investigator) in the face of mountains of evidence including explicit admissions of willful violations of the law by the chief executives charged with the ultimate execution of those same laws, defines the term malfeasance in office.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous just a thought said...

RTR reiterates HH's point well.

Question - who would be the appropriate person/enties to call a grand jury? More important, who would have the balls to do it?

8:17 AM  
Anonymous la_libertine said...

This just in, and it's good news:
Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) said he’s been informed that President Obama will support his proposed legislation to make public some opinions from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which issued some of the Bush Administration's most sweeping claims of executive power. Obama also has promised to limit President Bush's practice of using "signing statements" to amend legislation.

"Every day we get indications that they're serious about reversing the abuses of the Constitution," Feingold, a harsh Bush critic, told Politico. Feingold said Obama's staff told him to expect executive orders rapidly reversing Bush policies on the interrogation and detention of terror suspects, and on keeping the records of past presidents secret. He declined to be more specific.

"I don't know in what order or how fast" Obama’s executive orders could come, he said. "It'll be important that a couple of them be done immediately, and I think they will be, to show there's a strong break from the current policy." Obama aides didn't respond to requests for more detail, but the president-elect campaigned against what he called Bush’s abuse of executive authority... more at link
Of course this does not exactly address possible prosecution of the perps, but it sounds like some doors may be pried open (including cell doors in Guantanamo)...

1:49 PM  

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