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View Diary: Leahy Calls for Truth Commission...Why? (313 comments)

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  •  To put it very simply, (2+ / 0-)
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    Youffraita, WattleBreakfast

    as I say in a comment way way way downthread, everything about South Africa of the early nineties makes it not a good comparison. It was a society faced with the stark threat of social violence and civil war. Prosecutions by the new black majority government would have likely been seen by many of the white minority--even if they were scrupulously handled--as a reign of terror or as revenge. Under those circumstances, Truth and Reconciliation was allowed to trump law and justice because of the practical needs of transitioning to a new and more just order that could have likely been destroyed in a race war if prosecutions had been allowed to go forward.

    And me personally, considering the magnitude of some of the crimes that were committed against black South Africans under Apartheid, I still don't really think the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is entirely morally defensible, because it did mean that people who murdered, and who tortured, and who committed horrible acts, are walking around free today in the same society as the people they wronged, without ever being punished.

    I'm sorry, but throwing the name Nelson Mandela at a moral and legal question as big and complicated as this simply doesn't cut it.

    But my point is that if we prosecute Bush or Cheney or their subordinates, we do not threaten to undermine the order of the state. Americans will not die by the thousands. The constitution will not be overturned. The only thing that would happen if Bush and Cheney were to be made to answer for what everyone in the country basically knows that they did would be that the Democrats would face a backlash from the right wing. And fear of that backlash is enough to overwhelm their constitutional responsibilities, their patriotism, their faith in the laws they were sworn to uphold.

    "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

    by andydoubtless on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 09:13:06 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  You think that the reasons for the (0+ / 0-)

      Truth and Reconciliation Commission were primarily practical, but I think they were primarily moral, in the same way that many people feel that the criminal justice system should focus more on rehabilitation than on punishment.

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