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.