Many of us are hoping, almost demanding, an accounting for the crimes committed by the Bush administration. It would be deeply satisfying to see some of the law-breakers frog-marched... but possibly counterproductive.
But we need more than just justice - we need admissions. We need those who did wrong to acknowledge the wrong-doing, instead of letting them cry "I'm a victim of politics". We don't need more Oliver North-like convictions, where the perps deny everything and are back on the TV in the future claiming they did nothing wrong. Luckily, there's a way to satisfy both our need to see justice done and still avoid widening the rift between left and right.
Nelson Mandela showed us the way... follow me over the jump to see how we can follow his example.
The National Truth and Reconciliation Commission that Mandela created after coming to power in South Africa was pure genius. By allowing people to come before the commission and admit their wrongdoings, thereby receiving amnesty, they were able to get the crimes on record in such a way that they could never be denied. By telling these people they would be pursued legally if they didn't come clean they were able to get convictions of the most egregious of the criminals.
This solution leads to healing - the supporters of the Bush administration would be unable to make claims of a witch hunt if people like Yoo and Gonzales admitted they'd broken laws in open testimony, and if they refused to make admissions it would be easy to make the case against them using the testimony of those who did their bidding. By refusing to testify, if that's the course they take, they open themselves up to prison.
I think this solution makes more sense, and would be more satisfying in the long run - if we'd done this after Iran-Contra we wouldn't have had so many of those plotters back in the Bush administration years later. It's a fact, unfortunately, that the right will be back in power some time in the future - and I for one would feel better if those future Republican administrations didn't include John Yoo and his ilk.
In the end, the truth is more important than punishing the criminals. It's more important because convictions, absent admissions, will only further polarize the country. Let's get the truth, and begin to heal.