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Originally posted at Baldwin Park Democrat

President Obama has not yet reached his 100th day in office. Yet in that short period of time he has already accomplished much; perhaps more than most Presidents in the first moments of their Administrations. However, like all mere mortals he is not perfect and he is wrong on occasion. This is one of those times.

The White House has decided not to hold accountable those who tortured in the name of the United States nor those who devised the policy that gave legal cover to that torture. President Obama is absolutely wrong in taking this approach.

Why is the President wrong? Because if there is no accountability for these actions then this Administration is lending moral authority and giving precedent to the previous Administration's use of torture. President Obama has said that the Untied States will not torture. That is not enough. Unless there is accountability then precedent is established. Future Presidents will be able to torture citing Bush's unchallenged decisions as justification.

But it is not just the torture. It is the warrant-less wire taping. It is the capricious dismissal of the centuries old Writ of Habeas Corpus. It is extraordinary rendition. And on and on. President Obama is wrong not to hold the previous Administration accountable for their illegal and unconstitutional actions.

President Bush and his Administration wrecked havoc on the Constitution of the United States. His actions were those of a dictator rather than the actions of the elected representative of the people. Failure to hold him and his Administration accountable significantly weakens the Constitution that has served us so well for over two hundred years.

This is not about getting even with the previous Administration. It is not about revenge. It is about taking the action necessary to ensure that future Presidents and future Administrations understand that they too will be held accountable if they try the same things that were done in the Bush Administration.

Prosecution should be initiated for all actions that were either illegal or unconstitutional and that includes prosecuting former President Bush and former Vice President Cheney if required. If President Obama wants to be magnanimous then he can pardon those convicted after they are prosecuted and held accountable.

The President need to re-think his position on accountability. The strength of our Constitution depends on it.

Originally posted to Kdawg1012 on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:53 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hitler called (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tamandua, Situational Lefty

    He wants his reputation back, and Josef Mengele's, too.  Same thing for Pinochet, Caligula, Castro, Kim Il Sung, and Pol Pot.  And Napoleon, when he said,

    the barbarous custom of whipping men suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this method of interrogation, by putting men to the torture, is useless. The wretches say whatever comes into their heads and whatever they think one wants to believe. Consequently, the Commander-in-Chief forbids the use of a method which is contrary to reason and humanity

    Just kidding around.  When he said "forbids," he meant, "I hope you don't do anything like this, but you know, boys will be boys, and we must look forward at all costs."

    •  Obama = Hitler (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lying eyes

      Yup, my family, Holocaust survivors say that all the time.

      Outta here.

      •  that is sophistry (0+ / 0-)

        and not worthy of you.  The analogy is not Obama=Hitler.  Rather it is moral wrongdoing punished with outrage vs. moral wrongdoing excused and accommodated.

        The closer (but still not perfect--did anyone say Torquemada was acting in defense of the church and thus was not really all that bad?) analogy to draw with Obama (who was not mentioned in my comment) would be John Negroponte, who whitewashed US crimes in Honduras.  

    •  thanks for this great quote from napoleon (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kay dub

      it made me look it up on the web, and i found it on wikipedia. i was shocked to see that on wikipedia's extensive article on torture, it mentions its practice in all sorts of places and times but not our country's recent use of it. i hope someone with more skills, knowledge, time and energy than i will work on the wikipedia article.

      Politics is not arithmetic. It's chemistry.

      by tamandua on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 12:36:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lest we get our knickers in a wad, let's be (4+ / 0-)

    clear here.  Obama is not the last word on this and he has said time and time again that he might make mistakes from time to time.  
      Now what we ought to take from that is that HE IS STAYING FOCUSED ON HIS THREE-PART PLAN: healthcare, education and energy AND DOES NOT WANT TO GIVE VOICE TO ANYTHING THAT WOULD DETRACT FROM THAT MESSAGE.   I don't like to shout but WE need to stay focused!...not just Obama.
      The enemies of his administration would love nothing more than to get it bogged down in rectifying those moral issues left over from the Bush administration but WE MUST NOT LET THAT HAPPEN.  
      But don't confuse what Obama says and what the Congress or the AG will do.  You can bet that the chairs of appropriate congressional committees will not be sweeping this under any rug and Holder took a pledge to uphold the Constitution not be an Obama sychophant.  
       The Pres can PROPOSE...but Congress will DISPOSE of this matter.  :-)  Get a grip and hang with the Pres until the big three agenda matters are in the law books.

    Join the "Partnership for a Pete Sessions-free 32nd CD of Texas."

    by Steve Love on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:07:51 AM PDT

    •  So, Obama can't delegate? (0+ / 0-)

      He only has so many staff to work on stuff for him, and they're all tied up at the moment?  What up with that, eh?

      "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President" - Theodore Roosevelt, editorial, Kansas City Star.

      by Hound Dog on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:11:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Presidents don't delegate to (0+ / 0-)

        Obama can't delegate?

         Congress!  They are not elected to run his errands...besides any media attention on anything but his prime agenda is media attention diverting our attention from what is critical to the country.  We can send all the Bush thugs to prison - and there is no one who would more like see that happen - but that will not move us toward universal medical care, educate a single student or move us toward a green economy.

        Join the "Partnership for a Pete Sessions-free 32nd CD of Texas."

        by Steve Love on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 05:25:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Beasts don't care about affordable quality (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rubine

      education, universal healthcare and environmentally responsibe solutions to the energy crisis. Humans do.

      If we don't condemn torture, we are worse than beasts and deserve nothing.

      Human rights come FIRST.

      Gender neutral marriage. NOW.

      by Montreal Progressive on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:13:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And who in the Obama administration has (0+ / 0-)

        If we don't condemn torture, we are worse than beasts and deserve nothing.

        not condemned torture.   Condemning torture and procecuting people for doing it are two different things.  

        Human rights come FIRST.

        No.  Human EXISTANCE comes first.  People are dying in this country because we have a healthcare system that is focused on monetary issues not saving lives, because our air is contaminated and because our schools cannot compete with gang-bangers.  Rights are what people argue about once they know they have a life to live.  ;-)

        Join the "Partnership for a Pete Sessions-free 32nd CD of Texas."

        by Steve Love on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 05:32:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  REFUSING to prosecute the wicked criminals who (6+ / 0-)

      torture and authorize torture is the biggest motherfucking distraction this whitehouse has created for itself.

      Gender neutral marriage. NOW.

      by Montreal Progressive on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:15:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In some ways (0+ / 0-)

        it's the only distraction that had a chance of taking hold.

        And they're the ones initiating it.

        "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by burndtdan on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:37:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You are way ahead of the process and totally (0+ / 0-)

        making assumptions that have no basis in fact.  Congress and the AG are players in this.  Obama does not tell them what to do.  If you will hold your horses and not go ballistic, you might find that things will go far more to YOUR liking that to what Karl Rove might want.  But, GIVE THE PROCESS TIME TO WORK.  ROMAN WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY!  Obama will not clean up the Bush mess in 100 days.  God, you sound like an adolescent on too many lattes.  :-)

        Join the "Partnership for a Pete Sessions-free 32nd CD of Texas."

        by Steve Love on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 05:40:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  if you dont want to shout (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rubine, polticoscott

      then don't.
      We are not children here.

      If you want to make the immature argument that breaking the law needs to be over looked because the economy is bad that's up to you.

      You come off like some ranting wide eyed crazie.

      In fact your argument is contradictory.
      If Obama can"t act and influence this then by the same reasoning he can't act on the economy, health care etc.
      So what's the point of having him??

      "but I would not be convicted by a jury of my peers. still crazy after all these years".....

      by JadeZ on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:30:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree revealing the memos only confirms what (0+ / 0-)

        we already knew....its what happens next that matters...to just say lets put it behind us is insulting...do we stand for nothing?

        "Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime" Aristotle

        by polticoscott on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 12:43:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I'm not insulted. Having schools that (0+ / 0-)

          to just say lets put it behind us is insulting...do we stand for nothing?

          don't teach, hospitals that don't heal and an economy that doesn't work IS insulting!
            Just lighten up.  This is not going away regardless of what Obama says.  Conyers and company are not going to let Bush and company get off so easily.  Remember, while you and I were bowling or playing golf, those democrats with seniority have been subjected to daily insults and attacks on their character by the Bush people.  You think those guys are not pissed????
            Do you really think, after years of having Bush piss on their leg that they are just going to let this pass?  FORGET IT!  Congress will not rant and rave like the Repubs do at "tea parties" but justice will be done in time enough that the Bush people will wish they never screwed around with the Constitution.    
           

          Join the "Partnership for a Pete Sessions-free 32nd CD of Texas."

          by Steve Love on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 06:19:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Does the word "priority" have a place in your (0+ / 0-)

        If Obama can"t act and influence this then by the same reasoning he can't act on the economy, health care etc.

        vocabulary?  Or how about "limits to presidental powers?"  I have not said anything about Obama not being about to address issues but he can only advise.  Presidents don't make laws!!!!!  Presidents are not prosecutors!  Congress does that.  Presidential leadership is about helping keep Congress focused on what is important and not letting the lobbyist and FOX muddy the waters such that Congress can kick these cans down the road as they have for the last 50 years!  And the adults in the KOS family are interested in that as well.
          And I would not have to shout if I believed folks like you were listening to the President and not forming up another of the circular firing squads that folks of the contrarian persuasion are so willing to do.   :-)

        Join the "Partnership for a Pete Sessions-free 32nd CD of Texas."

        by Steve Love on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 05:48:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  He might not be the last word (5+ / 0-)

      but he's a fucking loud voice in the room.

      I would be utterly stunned if Holder did anything that Obama didn't agree with.  If Obama weren't placing himself as the de facto last word on this issue, he wouldn't have said anything but "that is the prerogative of the Attorney General."

      "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by burndtdan on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:32:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But, have you not been listening to him. (0+ / 0-)

        but he's a fucking loud voice in the room.

         That is NOT his style. He doesn't yell and beat the table.  He has selected the best people in the country to do, not so much what HE wants, but what they are led to do as they wrestle with the task they are given by the CONSTITUTION.  This is no unitary president!  This is a president who has his job and his cabinet, et.al., have their job.  He ain't the Pope with a bunch of cardinals kissing his ring.  That was the previous guy...or have you forgotten him already? Need I say that there is a style difference between our guy and the last guy?

        Join the "Partnership for a Pete Sessions-free 32nd CD of Texas."

        by Steve Love on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 05:54:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Let someone else do it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rubine

      This sounds like Bush.  He doesn't want to do anything about it so he is saying let Congress do something, so they say if he doesn't feel that strongly about it then why should we. Time to stop and look again at the constitution and your ethics Mr. President.

      Bring back the Constitution of the United States.

      by libbie on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 12:12:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, give me a break! You are going to beat Obama (0+ / 0-)

        Time to stop and look again at the constitution and your ethics Mr. President.

        over the head with the Constitution?  Kind of reminds me of the story of the mouse dreaming of rape as he meets an elephant.
         You need to read the Constitution and learn the powers of the presidency and then we will have something to talk about.

        Join the "Partnership for a Pete Sessions-free 32nd CD of Texas."

        by Steve Love on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 05:58:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Mis-statement (3+ / 0-)

    The White House has decided not to hold accountable those who tortured in the name of the United States nor those who devised the policy that gave legal cover to that torture.

    The first part is incorrect. He has indicated that some members of the first group are indeed liable for prosecution, and no free passes have been given to any in the second group.

    Personally, I think he should be a bit more forceful on this issue, but so far he isn't "wrong" here.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:19:29 AM PDT

    •  That's Not What Rahm Said Today (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Raven, LodinLepp, RageKage

      But it was a nice fantasy yesterday.

      •  "A nice fantasy" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenskeeper, The Raven

        is exactly right.

        While yesterday there was technically a semantic opening for him to prosecute some without contradicting himself, that is far less important than the clear direction his statements took him in.

        Prosecutions wouldn't be held up if it were pointed out they contradicted a statement made by the President, so it's not like that was some type of necessary legal maneuver.  And there was no indication that it was some tricky semantic kung fu.

        While possible, there was nothing to make it probable.

        "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by burndtdan on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:36:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  you missed Rahm this morning (4+ / 0-)

      He stated unequivocally that Obama does not intend to prosecute anyone, including those that devised the strategies.

      "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by burndtdan on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:33:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

        I wonder why he said that? Last time Obama spoke on this, he'd left a door open. Wish I'd caught Rahm today. Anyway, I'm certainly willing to agitate for prosecutions. We have a pretty good idea of who to go after.

        Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

        by The Raven on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:38:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  See my comment above... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Raven, rubine

          "Obama left a door open" is wishful thinking.

          Obama's statement was not legally binding.  It did not, as a matter of law, preclude him from prosecuting anyone.  Thus, there was no reason for him to approach the situation from that mindset.

          To think he left a door open is to think that his intentions are most clearly delineated by what he did not say (but you imagine he was thinking), as opposed to being most clearly delineated by what he said.  What he actually said was that he wasn't interested in prosecuting people involved, and that he likened doing so to "retribution".

          "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

          by burndtdan on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:42:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  video (prosecution statement about 12 min. in) (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Raven, rubine
          •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rubine

            You guys are great - I appreciate the correction very much (and this link, too).

            Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

            by The Raven on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:58:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're welcome. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              The Raven

              I was just providing the source.

              I don't necessarily believe that Bush's OLC team won't be prosecuted. There's too much law  - our president knows this to be true - no matter what Rahm said to one of the Sunday morning chatterers.  

              •  What I hope for (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sybil Liberty

                I truly hope that this is just a pause while Obama builds the political capital and cover he'll need to go after the worst of them. The more you look at who is on the blame line for this, the more you see how tough it would be go after them.

                Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

                by The Raven on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 01:29:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  somewhere it was written, (early on) (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  The Raven

                  that Barack Obama has "killer political instincts". I believe that he does. It's one of the reasons I voted for him. I never saw a "messiah".

                  ...and to this day of course, I still wonder how much JFK would have accomplished in his second term. No more open cars.

                  Ever.

  •  Obama and spineless democrats in Congress (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LodinLepp, rubine

    Are too worried about what republicans will say or do if they try to hold anyone republican accountable.  And the worse the crime they excuse by doing nothing out of this fear, the more powerful the republicans become.  You don't think they have figured this out?  

    The same republican party that impeached a (democrat) president for lying about extramartial sex, contending that it was only the lie that mattered, not the reason, and that the rule of law must be strictly applied or our nation will perish?  The same republican party that sat silent throughout the Bush years of crimes, neglect, cronyism, and violations of rights?  And Obama and Dems in congress say they couldn't possibly go forward with any investigations of lawlessness in the Bush years without republican participation, because that would just be detrimental to the nations mood (more republican screaming?).

    So here is what we are left with:

    Obama says: Yeah, we tortured.  It was authorized by our president, and our whole national security team.  So what.  Move on.  Nothing to see here.  Oh, and f**k the law.  And the republicans approve.

  •  Agree with most of what you write..... (0+ / 0-)

    but I really think a "people's tribunal" approach would be more appropriate, more democratic, and more lasting historically......not sure of the processes but we can and should.....if the administration or congress does it the next or another administration or congress can merely condemn and move their prescribed way.........a real people's investigation (and not just from the left, the numbers are there) would provide a lasting message; missed only by those who would want the consequences of such a foolish move

  •  Responsible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rubine

    Are you responsible for the choices that you make?  Would you know when to say no?  I would hope that if someone told me to torture someone, that unless I'm a sadistic SOB, I would say no I won't do that.  If you say yes then you are responsible for that choice to torture and you need to be brought to justice for making the wrong choice.  It is just like the gang telling you to rob or kill and they will take you out if you don't do it.  The answer is no.  The choice is no or you will be brought to justice.  My President is wrong, very wrong, morally wrong, law breaking wrong.

    Bring back the Constitution of the United States.

    by libbie on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 12:07:40 PM PDT

  •  Was That a Bus? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rubine

    Said the flattened progressives.

  •  You're entitled to your opinion, but you're wrong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hawkjt

    I believe Obama is correct: it would be suicide to prosecute the CIA operatives involved.

    I believe this would cause chaos within the CIA and alienate many, many rank and file, many of whom were just middle level operatives following orders from above.

    Also with nuclear-powered Pakistan verging on collapse and/or total takeover by the Taliban(along with countless other intelligence problems worldwide), this is NOT the time to wreak havoc with the CIA.

    Yes, everyone knows that the real culprits were Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and while TPTB should go after them, if they could, it would be a tough and divisive, and there is no guarantee of success.

    Obama has too many other critical problems to deal with, not least of which is leading the world in the direction of a sustainable, green economy.

    In other words, if the Obama Administration prosecutes CIA operatives, CIA operatives will turn against CIA operative; alienating all of them; losing many to resignations, etc.....leaving ourselves with seriously compromised intelligence.

    If that's what you want, then c'est la vie.

  •  Nation of Laws, Not People (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LodinLepp, rubine, polticoscott

    Thanks for the diary.

    Sad so many of us forget we are a Republic.  A Nation of laws and that no man is exempt from the rule of laws.

    By ignoring the factual violations of laws not only do we miss the opportunity to correct it and learn from it, we have our President tainted and arguably now complicit in it.

  •  Why not change the argument to Congress? (0+ / 0-)

    This matter is not only to be fixed by the President. Congress has to act in a manner that is cohesive to make a statement that torture is not tolerable. Let's not harp on the President. He has made it pretty clear that his administration is not going to tolerate torture. He has declassified the torture memo's, a present to Congress. Congress has everything they need to proceed to get a convection on everyone involved. Singling out the President is like trying to kneecap him.

    In this difficult times, when there are many other important issues, a lot of folks are throwing Obama under the bus as if he is doing nothing. A little bit of time and understanding I think will prove most wrong on the principles that he is willing to let this go. NO, I don't think this issue is off Obama's radar...he has given congress what they need to get those accountable. Let Congress do their job first. In the mean time, let Obama pass me a bill in areas like the environment, health care, energy, education, etc...

    I will go after Torture after seeing what Congress does if I was Obama.

    •  So instead of trusting Obama... (0+ / 0-)

      to enforce the law we're supposed to trust Reid and Pelosi?

      I believe Obama is working in concert with the congressional leadership to quash any prosecution of bush and company.  Which constitutes an obstruction of justice.

      "I believe I found the link between animal and civilized man. It is us." Konrad Lorenz

      by rubine on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 12:37:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The bottom line... (0+ / 0-)

        Obama is very methodical and will proceed accordingly. He wants to succeed in passing key initiatives without being divisive within the intelligence community. In the mean time, I am sure we will see Congress step it up now that they have a declassified memo's are out. I will however continue to trust Obama will enforce the law.

  •  So? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heterodoxie, rubine, polticoscott

    Right is right and if that means that you are committing political suicide by doing the right thing then what the hell has this country come to?  I will not excuse him for not doing what is right and prosecuting all of the people that were involved.  He is committing political suicide with me if he continues on this very wrong ethical path.  You are responsible for your own actions and you should be able to say no when you don't want to do do a wrong; but you  should be able to stand up and do what is right.

    Bring back the Constitution of the United States.

    by libbie on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 12:17:32 PM PDT

  •  Get away drivers are also guilty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rubine

    Now Complicit.

  •  we need to push for further investigations and (0+ / 0-)

    ultimately prosecutions....if Obama is unwilling now then we push until he hears us.

    "Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime" Aristotle

    by polticoscott on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 12:40:21 PM PDT

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