Obama Waffles (Again) On Prosecution of Bush officials

Monday, February 09, 2009 at 9:55 pm

During President Obama’s first prime time press conference tonight, he was asked his opinion of Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) proposal to start a comprehensive “truth and reconciliation commission” to investigate the conduct of the Bush administration over the last eight years.  Obama skillfully waffled on his answer:

I haven’t seen the proposal so I don’t want to express an opinion on something I haven’t seen. What I have said is my administration is going to operate in a way that leaves no doubt that we do not torture, that we abide by the Geneva conventions, and we abide our traditions of rule of law and due process as we vigorously go after terrorists who are doing us harm.

My view is also that nobody is above the law and if there are clear instances of wrongdoing people should be prosecuted just like ordinary citizens. But generally speaking I’m more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backwards.

Kudos to The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein for asking the question, but unfortunately, the answer isn’t really any different from what Obama has said before. The president does acknowledge that if evidence comes out of “clear instances of wrongdoing,” — such as, for example, torture and other war crimes — then it will be very difficult for him to refuse to prosecute, or to obstruct a congressional commission.

Leahy’s call today for a commission (though it’s not clear if that commission would have any power to prosecute, or even to recommend prosecution, as Bob Fertik pointed out this afternoon) is just the latest in a growing chorus of members of Congress calling for some sort of investigation of lawbreaking by the Bush administration. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has proposed an investigatory commission in the House, which has about ten co-sponsors. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today came out in favor of Leahy’s proposal, and has made similar statements of his own in the past. And human rights and other advocacy groups have been demanding an investigation for months now; Democrats.com even won enough popular support for the question of whether Obama will appoint a special prosecutor that it topped the change.gov’s list of questions for the president by early January.

All this further ratchets up the pressure on the president to start being more forthcoming with the evidence of what exactly happened over the last eight years. But as the administration’s performance in a federal court of appeals earlier today suggests, the notion that that pressure will produce results anytime soon may be wishful thinking.



Eliot Bernstein
Comment posted February 10, 2009 @ 4:09 am

By Eliot Bernstein (not verified) on 02/10/09 6:35 am Jus Cogens – Laws that cannot be broken even by Presidents, like slavery, torture, etc. Nobody is above laws. Hitler could have claimed he and Nazi criminals should not have been tried as they too were above law or following orders. These clowns all need to be tried, not just Bush, Cheney, Rummy, etc. but everyone in the House and Senate, Repub and Dem that supported torture, false wars and the ruining of America. Then a nice RICO for the financial crimes they are committing and take back the stolen american assets. Time for a Pitchfork Revolution to this CFR and Skull and Bones group of pirates and criminals. The USA will remain Nazi America until such time that we cleanse the stain through trials with prosecution no matter who is involved, NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW, there is no BUT as Obama would have it, there is no future for our children without it.
So far, it seems more of the same from our new administration, little more than lip service about investigations and NO CHANGE. America you have been fooled again, welcome to the New Workd Order of the Elite where your children will be living in an induced depression while these spoiled ivy league guppies live high off the hog. When floods come, they will let you float to the ceilings and then ship you off with one way tickets perhaps to Gitmoschwitz. They have seized our government, remember what the constitution demands we the PEOPLE do when our government corrupts. We need to start marching on washington with our forks and demanding answers from our politicians. We must demand that they belong to no cults http://www.iviewit.tv/senatecultbill.htm or we are dooomed.
Eliot Bernstein
Founder and Inventor

Leahy Calls for Investigation of Bush Admin | TaylorMarsh.com
Pingback posted February 10, 2009 @ 7:25 am

[...] Obama doesn’t seem to keen on investigating the Bush administration despite his response to Sam Stein of the HuffPo last night [...]

Comment posted February 10, 2009 @ 4:49 pm

If our corrupt government will not investigate, then the American public should file a lawsuit and do it ourselves. Good old fashioned American justice.

Jim Dandy
Comment posted February 14, 2009 @ 9:08 am

Torture is the least of the crimes that Bush and his cronies are guilty of. They used lies to have the US unnecessarily attack Iraq and in so doing they became responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans (more than died in the 911 attacks). They are also responsible for the deaths of reportedly over 100,000 Iraqis while destroying the infrastructure of the country. These are bad men. To call them criminals is a compliment. There have been times in the history of this planet that evil men have been placed in positions of power and their actions have caused tremendous suffering during their time in power and for years and even decades afterward. Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and others in the Bush administration and sphere are this kind of evil. They attract one another and they must be seen for what they are and brought to justice or their kind will rise again in short order.

Comment posted February 15, 2009 @ 2:02 am

I think some “good old-fashioned American justice” requires a good old-fashioned vigilante of the Oswald ilk. Bush and all politicians must fear the people; a little healthy blood-letting might be the way to reinvigorate such a fear :)

Comment posted February 15, 2009 @ 10:02 am

I think some “good old-fashioned American justice” requires a good old-fashioned vigilante of the Oswald ilk. Bush and all politicians must fear the people; a little healthy blood-letting might be the way to reinvigorate such a fear :)

UK investigating its role in US torture program « Later On
Pingback posted March 27, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

[...] at Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo Bay, Attorney General Eric Holder has equivocated (as has President Obama) and no such criminal investigation has begun. (The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on the [...]

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.