Much is made these days of pardons and prosecutions around the nexus of the war in Iraq. The Repugnicons--specifically the media endowed ones--are erecting their straw men in an attempt to head off any push to prosecute anyone and lefties are pulling on their pointy beards while moaning that 1. The Obama administration probably will not pursue prosecution and 2. The POTUS will pardon everyone and their grandmother.
I for one do not believe we should look to the POTUS Elect to pursue prosecutions here. I would prefer he spend his time turning around the massive damage done to our country on all other fronts. It would be heartening to see some sort of mechanism for the eventual prosecution devised--one that didn't require any more direct action by the new POTUS than signing off on it.
It is not that I think we should ignore the law breaking--I don't. It's just that Saddling the future POTUS with that pursuit seems a little like shoving him into quicksand to act as a bridge when we need someone tall to reach the bananas--he wouldn't make a good bridge and we wouldn't get the bananas.
There may be some things which could be done here. I remember a post somewhere about allowing an International War Crimes Tribunal on American soil. Although it would be a huge uphill battle, Congress could start working on a bill to allow just that. Call it the Protecting Patriotism Act (PPA) or something actually witty. If it were a credible threat, much could be gained from pressing the bill forward. Would a Presidential pardon work at such a tribunal?
What I am proposing here is that the threat of pardons from Bush be met with the threat of a PPA.
There is another consideration though that needs to be made--those whose actions directly broke the law by direction of the current [mis]administration. Here is one area that I think the Obama administration absolutely must act.
Whether by their own cowardice, or their own ideological ignorance, many lower-level folks participated in actions that directly broke the law of armed conflict. Those who actually tortured for example--those who had direct knowledge of the torture as well as those who organized, trained, equipped, administered, prepared and directed units engaged in torture.
A President Obama cannot allow such cowardice to stand unchallenged. Those people should have their actions documented in their next review and should be made ineligible for promotion for the very next promotion cycle they would otherwise be eligible for. That seems punishment enough for some, perhaps a career ender for many but justifiably so.