What if Bush pre-emptively pardons himself and his cabinet for war crimes?

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Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 11:44 am

Salon notes today that President Bush could decide to pardon himself, his cabinet and anyone else in his administration who may have committed war crimes by torturing and otherwise abusing suspected terrorists, or those known to “pal around with terrorists,” as Sarah Palin might put it. Although that would seem to be a quasi-admission of guilt, and no president has ever pardoned its own officials for potential war crimes before, James Ross of Human Rights Watch has written that it’s not beyond imagining that President Bush would continue to exert his executive power in just such extraordinary ways. And apparently, there’s no constitutional bar to the president doing so.

So how might that affect the new Obama administration’s plans to respond to the Bush-era war crimes? In fact, not so much. As Mark Benjamin writes in Salon today, the Obama team has so far carefully avoided any plans to prosecute Bush administration officials, reportedly planning a bipartisan investigatory commission – a sort of “truth commission,” perhaps along the lines of one proposed by Rosa Brooks or even Stuart Taylor, who first publicly raised the Bush pardon idea in the first place – as a less politically charged alternative.

That won’t satisfy those who want to see the perpetrators of illegal torture policies behind bars. But if President Bush does decide to go ahead and issue a blanket pardon for all involved, the reported Obama plan has the benefit of at least airing the truth about what happened, (and perhaps publicly humiliating the perpetrators), even if President Bush tries to use his executive power to bury it.

Comments

6 Comments

chris mirabal
Comment posted November 13, 2008 @ 3:41 pm

Humiliation is just one facet of legal accountability. Not many criminals enjoy the infamy of heinous acts. If all criminals could choose between shame and incarceration, we wouldn't need prisons.


JNagarya
Comment posted November 17, 2008 @ 10:32 am

A pardon would not extend outside US borders. It would have no effect abroad except to signal that the US has no intention, or ability, to prosecute the perpetrators — which, as I understand it, is a significant trigger FOR action by others aborad.

Much as I would be offended by and object to a pardon, it wouldn't prevent prosecution of the perpetrators, as every country on the planet has the legal authority to try cases of torture, regardless where the perpetrator came from, and regardless what the perpetrator's country says about it.

Otherwise, the first step necessary toward prosecution would be investigation, which is essentially that which is being proposed as to a “Commission”. But that the US might promise not to prosecute the perpetrators is not a promise for the rest of the world.

First, get the facts.


haveto
Comment posted November 23, 2008 @ 10:10 am

What is policies and those of whom,, having lost son's , to those who sit in the sit's of predu' ceit not having their's lost for ever!!!!


haveto
Comment posted November 23, 2008 @ 10:14 am

yes ,they the great should face the same as any responsible!!!


tanker
Comment posted November 23, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

Why would anyone in the U.S. really care what other countries do or think. We have enough troubles here without worrying about the world anymore. Sorry for the trouble, your on your own now.


tanker
Comment posted November 24, 2008 @ 2:29 am

Why would anyone in the U.S. really care what other countries do or think. We have enough troubles here without worrying about the world anymore. Sorry for the trouble, your on your own now.


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