|And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence.
Fools said I, you do not know
Here are the rules.
Yesterday George Will, of all people, was comparing Obama refusing to prosecute Bush and Cheney to Ford pardoning Nixon.
If a far right crazed wingnut can get it right, why can’t the rest of us?
This comparison is one that we can use to good effect, but only if we do it continuously and loudly.
A friend of mine this morning, a nearly unquestioning Obama supporter, said to me, and I quote:
No argument from me. Ford should have been stood against the wall and shot for that pardon. Nixon cooling his heels in the clink for a few years would have prevented this mess, no doubt.Ford's pardon of Nixon was the beginning of the end of any hope Ford had of being politically effective, and absolutely killed his future chances for reelection.
So let's see... if Obama doesn't want a political blood bath that might define his first term as him being a bush enabler and a torture excuser and might drown him, then he'll tell Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor, and answer Fertik's question directly himself, instead of hiding behind excuses and Joe Biden, since according to Biden it is not the job of the president or the vice president, but of the Justice department.
Ford's pardon of Nixon killed Ford politically, and not prosecuting Bush and Cheney has to kill Obama politically.
There has to be a political price to pay for not doing it, or he will not do it. Why would he, if there is no price to pay for not doing it and the price for doing it is high?
With things like the petition, Fertik's insistent embarrasing questioning, people like Ari Melber doing their best to force the issue into the media, people need to force the price for not doing it so high that Obama and Holder cannot ignore it.
People did it to Ford. If people are willing to let Obama slide on this, then there is no reason Obama will not let Bush and Cheney slide on torture and war crimes.
It's not up to Obama. It's up to us. It's up to me. It's up to you.
Maybe, Going Forward, We Should Just Let Bernie Madoff Off?
Jane Hamsher at Huffington Post, January 12, 2008
If Obama were to announce right now that he was going to prosecute those who engaged in torture and war crimes, I understand it could trigger a rash of unwanted pardons before Bush left office and therefore it's smart for him to hold his cards close.
But the reason that's being given for not pursuing prosecutions makes little sense:
"My orientation's going to be to move forward," Obama said. The attorney general has to stay above politics and "uphold the Constitution," Obama added, but his administration will focus on "getting things right in the future as opposed to looking at what we got wrong in the past."
Any decision to not pursue those who broke the law is in no way "above politics" -- and if we were going to apply this principle across the board, it would have as Ari Melber notes rather strange implications:
No one argues against prosecuting Bernie Madoff so that the Justice Department can focus on fixing the economy, going forward. In fact, faithfully and uniformly enforcing the law is crucial to "getting things right in the future." Any deterrence produced via criminal sanction is undermined when future, potential offenders see that a law is not actually enforced. People are more likely to follow the law when they see that breaking it carries consequences. This is such a basic foundation of our criminal system, justified by the elemental rationales of deterrence and retribution, it is quite hard to imagine that so many seasoned attorneys and Washington journalists honestly believe that the best way "forward" is to undermine deterrence and the rule of law.
Obama decision to appoint Eric Holder and Leon Panetta, who have made strong statements against torture, does indeed imply that he intends to "get it right" going forward.
But it is disconcerting that, as Glenn Greenwald observes, Obama indicated yesterday he is looking for a way to set up a system outside the courts where evidence obtained by torture can be used against Guantanamo detainees.
Glenn discusses Obama's interview with George Stephanopolous:
What he's saying is quite clear. There are detainees who the U.S. may not be able to convict in a court of law. Why not? Because the evidence that we believe establishes their guilt was obtained by torture, and it is therefore likely inadmissible in our courts (torture-obtained evidence is inadmissible in all courts in the civilized world; one might say it's a defining attribute of being civilized). But Obama wants to detain them anyway -- even though we can't convict them of anything in our courts of law. So before he can close Guantanamo, he wants a new, special court to be created -- presumably by an act of Congress -- where evidence obtained by torture (confessions and the like) can be used to justify someone's detention and where, presumably, other safeguards are abolished. That's what he means when he refers to "creating a process."
The synergy between right-wing fans of 24 who think torture is cool, members of the Bush administration who carried it out and the DC chattering class who mainstreamed it has created a climate where the political threat of directly dealing with the legacy of torture looms large.
But 70,000 people demanding a Special Prosecutor on change.gov argues that the political price to be paid for sweeping everything under the carpet might be even bigger.
Jane Hamsher blogs at firedoglake.com
Don't expect me to or even ask me to tell you why you should sign the petition.
You already know why you should sign the petition. You don't need me or anyone else to tell you why you should sign the petition.
There is no more debate on these matters. The only people who want to continue debating these matters are war criminals who want to be let off the hook and supporters of letting war criminals off the hook.
Obama's Duty To Prosecute Bush For War Crimes, Patriot Daily, December 29, 2008
Signing the petition drafted by budhydharma and Docudharma is not in defiance of our President-Elect Obama, but rather a sign of support for the difficult times that he and Holder will face when performing their clear constitutional duties.
As President, Obama will have the constitutional duty to faithfully execute our laws.
The constitutional oath of office will require President Obama to faithfully execute the office of President and preserve, protect and defend our Constitution. Our constitution also requires that our presidents "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed." The principle of the rule of law is partially based on this Faithfully Execute clause which requires our President to comply with laws, our Constitution and treaties because our Constitution established a government of laws, not of men and women.
The Geneva Convention is one of the laws which must be faithfully executed.
Our constitution mandates that treaties are one of the laws that the President must faithfully execute. Moreover, treaties are recognized as one of our supreme laws of the land alongside our Constitution and federal laws. For over 200 years, the federal courts have reaffirmed that our President is bound by the laws of war, which include conventions. In fact, both Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004) and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006)addressed issues of whether the US government was violating the terms of the 1949 Geneva Convention. Yet, some will whine that it is partisan to not exempt Bush from 200 years of precedent that governed presidents from both parties.
The Geneva Convention imposes a duty to prosecute former presidents who committed war crimes.
You already have your own reasons why you should sign the petition.
All the reasons that built up, piled one on top of the other for that past eight years as these criminals hijacked the country, dismantled the constitution and the rule of law, made their criminal friends fabulously wealthy, were directly responsible for the deaths of more than a million Iraqis in an illegal and immoral invasion and occupation, destroyed the global economy, wrecked America's reputation around the world, and called you a traitor when you cried foul and set up schemes to spy on you and intimidate you into silence.
And tortured people in your name. Tortured people. In your name. Tortured people with the blackest, most heinous and most evil torture methods known to humanity. Tortured people with methods that America has pressed war criminal charges against other countries citizens for using. Tortured people with the most sadistic and evil methods the Spanish Inquisition and more recently the Khmer Rouge made a regular habit of using as an oppression tool. Tortured people with methods that have been universally condemned and outlawed by virtually every country and society on earth.
You already know. You already know all of your own reasons why you should sign the petition.
Thanks for your help.
If you wish to repost this essay you can download a .txt file of the html here (right click and save). Permission granted.
Docudharma Tag: petition for a special prosecutor for background on the petition