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George W. Bush and Dick Cheney must be laughing their asses off. President Obama has a budding constitutional crisis on his hands, with a leading Senate Democrat accusing Obama's CIA director of spying on Intelligence Committee staff. But at the heart of the issue is a still-classified, 6,000 page report said to catalog abuses and deceptions perpetrated by the Central Intelligence Agency as part of President Bush's program of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques." Which means that five years after he put an end to Bush's regime of detainee torture, Barack Obama is facing the blowback from his decision to leave its architects unpunished.

That the Bush torture team would face no consequences for potential violations of American and international law that the United States is treaty-bound to prosecute became clear before Barack Obama even took the oath of office. During his confirmation hearings on January 16, 2009, Attorney General nominee Eric Holder declared, "waterboarding is torture." But he also reassured Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee about something else:

"I think President-elect Obama has said it well. We don't want to criminalize policy differences that might exist between the outgoing administration and the administration that is about to take over. We certainly don't want to do that."
If that language sounds familiar, it should. "Criminalizing politics," after all, is the defense Republican miscreants used to fight off scandals including Iran-Contra, the Valerie Plame affair, illicit domestic surveillance by the NSA and the Bush administration's prosecutors' purge. And when the Obama administration in April 2009 released the four torture memos authored by Bush attorneys Jay Bybee, Stephen Bradbury and John Yoo, Republicans in Congress and their amen corner in the media charged the new president was "criminalizing conservatism."

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

Powerline's John Hinderaker made that exact charge in a piece by the same title. "Many liberals don't just want to defeat conservatives at the polls, they want to send them to jail," he wrote, adding, "Toward that end, they have sometimes tried to criminalize what are essentially policy differences." In a scathing editorial on April 23, 2009, titled, "Presidential Poison," the Wall Street Journal went on the attack using the GOP's tried and untrue criminalizing politics canard:

Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret...

Above all, the exercise will only embitter Republicans, including the moderates and national-security hawks Mr. Obama may need in the next four years. As patriotic officials who acted in good faith are indicted, smeared, impeached from judgeships or stripped of their academic tenure, the partisan anger and backlash will grow...

Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies, due in part to his personal charm and his seeming goodwill. By indulging his party's desire to criminalize policy advice, he has unleashed furies that will haunt his Presidency.

But that never happened, because President Barack Obama never prosecuted anyone involved in the design and execution of President Bush's program of detainee torture. While the memos authorizing these potential war crimes have seen the light of day, those who ordered and perpetrated them did not. Attorney General Holder announced, "It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department." (Ultimately, none were, as Holder in August 2012 ended his last investigation into two detainee deaths. President Obama went further in seemingly backing away from any legal action against the Bush torture team:
"In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution...

This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke. We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past."

But spending that time and energy was never about "laying blame for the past," but redeeming American values by holding its leaders to account for failing to uphold them. And that's not all. Obama had a responsibility to uphold the law, especially after Dick Cheney and George W. Bush proudly admitted they had not. As Scott Horton concluded in Harper's Magazine after Cheney boast in 2010 that "I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques:"
"What prosecutor can look away when a perpetrator mocks the law itself and revels in his role in violating it? Such cases cry out for prosecution. Dick Cheney wants to be prosecuted. And prosecutors should give him what he wants."
Writing on February 15, 2010, Professor Jonathan Turley lamented that President Obama had turned his back on the law:
It is an astonishing public admission since waterboarding is not just illegal but a war crime. It is akin to the vice president saying that he supported bank robbery or murder-for-hire as a public policy.

The ability of Cheney to openly brag about his taste for torture is the direct result of President Barack Obama blocking any investigation or prosecution of war crimes. For political reasons, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have refused to carry out our clear obligations under international law to prosecute for such waterboarding. Indeed, before taking office, various high-ranking officials stated that both Obama and Holder assured them that they would not allow such prosecutions. While they denied it at the time, those accounts are consistent with their actions following inauguration.

After Bush's tough talk in June 2011 ("Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ... I'd do it again to save lives"), Professor Turley concluded that by turning a blind eye, the Obama administration had dumbed torture down. "Because it would have been politically unpopular to prosecute people for torture," Turley wrote, "the Obama Administration has allowed officials to downgrade torture from a war crime to a talking point."

In early 2009, President Obama no doubt wanted to avoid the political firestorm that would have gripped Washington at a time of national economic crisis. Obama surely feared his agenda on economic stimulus and health care reform would be completely derailed by Republicans in revenge for torture investigations or a 9/11-style commission.

But five years later, a crisis has exploded nonetheless, this time pitting Obama allies like Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) against Obama's CIA director John Brennan. And if Feinstein's charges turn out to be true, Obama will have no choice but to fire Brennan, a Bush-era holdover, for helping the agency cover up its wrongdoing from the Bush-Cheney years.

And all the while, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are laughing their asses off.

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 01:41 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Brennan may have more job security (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Termite, Johnny Q, tardis10, corvo, NonnyO

    than Obama himself does, frankly.

    Brennan is a 25-year-veteran of the Company. There's no way they'll let him go down quietly.

    The Deep State will make its hidden hand felt over this issue; question is, will Americans just yawn and go back to doing what they were doing?

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 01:48:11 PM PDT

  •  At the very least (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q, Dumbo, jedennis

    The Obama administration should have used the threat of prosecution as a bargaining chip against the obstruction of the GOP. In typical Democratic fashion they let the GOP know that those chips were off the table.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 01:58:35 PM PDT

    •  i disagree (8+ / 0-)

      that politicizes it. what we want isn't for obama or holder to be going after the bushies, what we want is full, fair, transparent investigations of alleged crimes, and let the consequences follow the facts.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:04:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  politicize in the sense that the Repubs did it (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis, Johnny Q, corvo, NonnyO

        so identifying them can be seen as politicial when it's merely a characteristic.

        However, now it's bipartisan so that's a problem. Can't go after the Repubs and not the Dems.

        Dear NSA: I am only joking.

        by Shahryar on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:12:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Everything is politicized (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OHdog, Johnny Q

        Especially with how deranged the GOP is about Obama. Someone farts in a movie theater and a Republican will blame Obama. That's just the way it is.

        I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

        by jhecht on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:21:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  but that's not how (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joealan, tardis10, NonnyO, stargaze, dpinzow, kurt

          we want to play it. we want to set the example of how laws are supposed to work. when the watergate investigations started, polls showed 2-1 opposition to the idea of nixon being impeached. but the slow, steady, methodical work of the ervin and judiciary committees and the special prosecutor led even his congressional allies to tell him it was time to go.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:26:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  you say tomayto, I say tomahto, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q

        Let's call the torture investigations off!

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:48:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  better yet (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          let's have full, fair, transparent investigations of alleged crimes, and let the consequences follow the facts.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:50:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  loath as I am (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Q, DavidMS, stargaze

            to repeat myself . . .

            Although you have a point, in that failing to prosecute known crimes amounts to complicity.  Which makes the crimes nicely bipartisan. :-)

            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

            by corvo on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:51:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  It seems the easiest way to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis, Johnny Q

        get both is to kill both birds with one stone.  Full open Senate investigations (impossible with the precious DiFi there), grand jury investigations, occasional leaks of waterboarding tapes to shut down the inevitable neocon pushback.  It might have made ACA impossible in the first year, but I think rooting out this kind of evil in government is more important in the short term.  As it is, ACA hangs by a thread anyway.  The next Republican president will be in a fine position to gut it through simple malign neglect and occasional tweaks.

        •  by the time we have another gop president (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          i think aca will be pretty well established. by mid-summer, i think it will have majority support.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 04:17:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laurence Lewis

            It's like the DMV.  We couldn't live without it, could we?  And yet everybody hates it and would like to see it burned to the ground.

            Well, maybe you don't.  But I dread going to the place.

            We'll see.  I'm probably the minority opinion on this, but I expect the Republicans to win in 2016.

          •  ACA may get to 50% in the polls. (0+ / 0-)

            If we count the 12% or so who disapprove of the ACA because it didn't go far enough toward real health-care reform, then the advocates of repeal are already well under 50%.

            But after the November elections, statistics like that are all but meaningless. All indications are the the Democrats face another drubbing at the polls; the only question is how severe. We've seen this phenomenon many times already - people SAY they prefer Democratic policies to Republican policies, but then they VOTE Republican. (Electoral politics is always more about brand identity than delivering the goods. And, in these times as ever before in American politics, race trumps class.) Most analysts say that the Democrats' chances of taking the House are close to zero & that their chances of losing the Senate are greater than even. If that happens, Obama instantly will become a lame duck & the ACA is toast. Sure, Obama would veto any outright repeal or gutting of the law, but McConnell & Boehner & the teabaggers will have so many legislative & budgetary weapons at their disposal that there's no way the ACA would be able to survive intact.

      •  Politics is always politicized (0+ / 0-)
        i disagree...that politicizes it.
        Everything in politics is politicized. It's called "political calculus" and should be self evident.   Not holding war criminals legally accountable for their actions was a political (politicized) decision. Yes it would have been polarizing but how could it be more polarized than it is now?  Holding them accountable would also be political.  Unfortunately Obama has chosen the former rather than the later.  He will run out the clock and be out of office so I don't where the chickens come to roost if the title implies consequences for Obama.  

        A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

        by YellerDog on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:39:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'd agree, except (6+ / 0-)

      for the part where this is about "Democrats" or "Republicans". It's far bigger than that.

      This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

      by lunachickie on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:11:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When the "policy differences" (9+ / 0-)

    are actual crimes, isn't it the job of the Justice Department to criminalize them?  Especially if they are crimes against humanity like torture, where even ""looking forward, not backward" is itself a crime?

    You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

    by Johnny Q on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:09:51 PM PDT

  •  If there is a crisis, if things are forced to be (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher, Dumbo, NonnyO

    revealed, perhaps this will finally shine the full light on the Bush administration and take the question of prosecution out of the hands of the President and place it in the hands of other people.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:14:22 PM PDT

  •  torture was already "criminalized" . . . (8+ / 0-)

    to fail to prosecute for it is to de-facto "legalize" it.  So the frame "criminalize policy differences" is simply and completely wrong.

    Try "accessory after the fact" to war crimes, instead . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:19:06 PM PDT

  •  "I was just following advice" -- the perfect (5+ / 0-)

    substitute for the original war crimes excuse. Since you "can't" prosecute the advisor, and the officer acting on the advice is acting "in good faith", any sort of accountability is impossible. From the perspective of the perpetrators, it's sort of the opposite of a Catch-22 -- it's an "Out-22" or something.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:20:25 PM PDT

  •  That torture is merely a 'policy difference' (7+ / 0-)

    tells you all you need to know about that moral cesspit, DC.

    Enough of the comity crap.

    Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

    by Bollox Ref on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 02:30:50 PM PDT

  •  New DoJ seal (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, TracieLynn, Johnny Q, NonnyO

    "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

    by BOHICA on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 03:10:25 PM PDT

  •  What we needed (and still need) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q, NonnyO, leftykook

    is something like the post-war de-Nazification program in Germany that routed out the war criminals from the --ahem-- previous German administration and put them on trial.  We might have called it de-Bushification.  

    Unfortunately, those same people were promoted and rehired on to the new Democratic administration.  People like Brennan, for instance, who belongs on trial in the Hague.

    If people like Hindraker (and you can be sure that people like Sally Quinn and Peggy Noonan would be on board with him) feel that's the criminalization of policy differences, well, I think they have the cause and effect backwards.  Policies WERE criminalized the day they became criminal acts.

  •  This is a problem that President Obama (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, RichterScale, hassanm

    NEEDS to have, and be forced to face.

    Addressing this and dealing with Democratic complicity in the crimes of the Bush administration, are necessary IMO if we want to have a viable Party going forward.

    •  Keep on dreamin' (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, dfarrah, hassanm, happymisanthropy

      where was the prosecution of wall st?

      Why do you think one of O's first hires was the corrupt to the core Holder?

      When you man is in place, everything goes according to plan.

      I, for one,am sick and tired of supposed progressives excusing every Bushism Obama commits.

      Nobody has forced O to do these things. He has willingly and gladly done every one.

      That he was reelected is insane and shows a shallowness to the Democratic party that can only mean it is toast, just like the Repuglicans.

    •  Screw the party. (3+ / 0-)

      This is about what we want to be as a country.

      Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

      by Mike S on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:01:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  keep whackin' those weeds, marcy ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichterScale, corvo

    cos we're still holdin' onto these flashlights, and monstrous it may be, exposure is the only remedy. exposure. all the way up, all the way down. merci, marcy.

    The White House Has Been Covering Up the Presidency’s Role in Torture for Years

    TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes? -- Addington's Perpwalk.

    by greenbird on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 07:39:46 PM PDT

  •  Pie (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Pie and more pie. Interrupted only by cake and housewives of Toledo.

    You best believe it does

    by HangsLeft on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 07:43:01 PM PDT

  •  I do NOT know what any President could have done (0+ / 0-)

    better. The Bushies had already crashed the economy, crashed the world security apparatus, were working on crashing the world economy and had significant inroads into crashing the social structures and democratic insitutions in the US. EVERYTHING they touched turned to crap, almost instantly.

    I would have preferred, personally, at great risk would have announced the start of criminal  investigations, yet it remains unclear if the outcome would have been any better than the current state of affairs. It is very likely they could have defeated Obama or worse, incapacitated him in the first term.

    Now, I think there is an opening, finally, from Dems who wanted a full and fair investigation. Obama can allow himself to participate at this point, and he will. There may be no better way to have handled this, and this is the start of some justice for clearly UnConstitional action by the Bushies and the Deep State. Obama will proceed cautiously, but one has to believe he is giving the ok to Dems to make noises about this.

    The start of the start of dismantling the apparatus that produces torture, intimidation, drones, loss of civil liberty, and loss of privacy will start now, I am convinced.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 07:49:04 PM PDT

    •  I thought BO was (3+ / 0-)

      already incapacitated his first few years.  

      Isn't that the excuse the BO supporters readily regurgitated every time someone criticized him for his lack of progress?

      Don't you guys every get tired of regurgitating all the excuses you have for BO?

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:13:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Seriously? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EastcoastChick, OregonOak

        "WASHINGTON -- As President Barack Obama was celebrating his inauguration at various balls, top Republican lawmakers and strategists were conjuring up ways to submarine his presidency at a private dinner in Washington.

        The event -- which provides a telling revelation for how quickly the post-election climate soured -- serves as the prologue of Robert Draper's much-discussed and heavily-reported new book, "Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives."

        According to Draper, the guest list that night (which was just over 15 people in total) included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). The non-lawmakers present included Newt Gingrich, several years removed from his presidential campaign, and Frank Luntz, the long-time Republican wordsmith. Notably absent were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) -- who, Draper writes, had an acrimonious relationship with Luntz.

        For several hours in the Caucus Room (a high-end D.C. establishment), the book says they plotted out ways to not just win back political power, but to also put the brakes on Obama's legislative platform." — HuffPo

        Considering the organized, concerted antipathy directed — non-stop — at Obama since his first election, some of it bordering on treason, I'm sure you'd have welcomed open gunfire on Pennsylvania Avenue if his first initiative had been to jail his predecessors... especially with the U.S. and world economies on the verge of collapse.

        Bush and Cheney will get theirs in the end. Payback's a bitch, and Lady Karma has a long memory.

        •  There you go (0+ / 0-)

          with your pesky facts and stuff.

          I really should step out of this diary...I've had quite enough pie this week.

        •  Oh, big deal. (0+ / 0-)

          The repubs were acting like an opposition party.  yawn.

          Just think if the dems had ever bothered to act like an opposition party.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 06:30:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah... it's a BIG fuckin' deal! (0+ / 0-)

            Challenging his fuckin' birth certificate?

            "You lie!" ?

            Racial epithets?

            Delusional impeachment chatter?

            50-plus votes to "defund" the ACA (but not ONE substantive piece of legislation to address jobs or the economy)?

            "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president... That's my single most important political goal, along with every active Republican in the country." — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ???

            Darrell fuckin' Issa?

            Nothing even remotely comparable from the Dems, not even when Junior and Cheney were lying us into an invasion and occupation that ultimately cost hundreds of thousands of lives. Questions? Yes. Total, mocking disrespect for the office and its occupant (even if he was walking into locked doors and mangling the language)? Not hardly.

            Where'd you learn decorum? In a fuckin' landfill?

    •  I can't see how Congress.. (0+ / 0-)

      Can keep the lid on the huge can of worms. I don't get it...unless it's a little directed noise for effect.

    •  GOP fears and respects only one thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Raw power.   Had he used it, it would have set a vastly different tone.  He squandered it instead out of his own fear of the loosing the dogs.  Because he is conservative, to the core.    

      Knowledge is Hard Won

      by bluelaser2 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 05:23:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Welll... we know what happened to JFK.. (0+ / 0-)

        when he tried to dismantle the Deep State back in 1963. His death could have been coincidence, sure, but still. JFK was a one-term President.

        I think it is time to do something about it now. I think Obama thinks so too. I think the majority of the country would support it now, since the economy is starting to recover. I dont think major reform of the Defense/Intelligence State would have lasted a week back in 2008.

        My intention is not to defend Obama, but to point out that Events control Presidents more than Presidents control Events, as Lincoln so astutely observed 150 years ago.

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 04:51:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A Bush-era holdover? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    John Brennan can hardly be fairly characterized as a "Bush era holdover."  He is a career CIA officer that served under Reagan, Bush I, Bill Clinton, and Bush II before becoming President Obama's top choice in 2009 to be the CIA director.  Congressional resistance over Brennan's links to water boarding squashed that idea, so President Obama brought him into the National Security Council where, among other things, he arranged for Libyan weapons surplused after the "Arab Spring" to be collected by CIA operatives and contractors in Benghazi and given to mercenaries employed by the Saudis for transportation to and distribution in Turkey to Syrian rebels.  Because the Saudis were financing the transportation and distribution, after which CIA trainers came in and trained Syrian rebels in the same weapons that the CIA had collected in Libya and turned over to the Saudis, all of this was done without Congressional reporting and oversight because it was "aiding Saudi intelligence liaison" under a previously-approved Presidential "finding."   As a reward for arranging the Libya-Syria weapons operation with the Saudis, after his re-election, President Obama appointed John Brennan, with Senate Democrat approval, as his Director of CIA.

  •  Does all this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hassanm, notagain

    have anything to do with a missing plane?

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:01:50 PM PDT

  •  Let the blowback begin. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pablo Bocanegra

    It's longr overdue for everyone involved, including this completely amoral president.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:14:37 PM PDT

  •  Bush and Cheney (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    probably are not laughing. I bet they are sweating this. They already have to be careful where they travel, and just because Obama didn't prosecute them doesn't mean they aren't guilty or have been pardoned. I hope Cheney just pooped his pants and Bush choked on a pretzel.

    You can wake someone who is sleeping, but you cannot wake someone who is pretending to sleep.

    by gnothis on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:18:24 PM PDT

    •  Seriously? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      They aren't sweating anything. Nobody's given them any reason to, whatsoever - and I don't see anybody in a position to who is likely to - ever.

      No, "laughing" was accurate.

      Get over to the Green Mountain Daily! What are you still reading this sig for?

      by odum on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:35:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Green Mountain Daily (0+ / 0-)

        is great! Been living in VT for the last decade. You're probably right. Even if there was a real threat to them they are so arrogant and have gotten away with so much that I can imagine them erupting in evil diabolical laughter.

        You can wake someone who is sleeping, but you cannot wake someone who is pretending to sleep.

        by gnothis on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:57:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Seriously? (0+ / 0-)
      They already have to be careful where they travel
      One WISHES that were so. Ed Snowden has to be careful where he travels. But Bush & Cheney? Seriously? I challenge anyone to name ONE SINGLE COUNTRY that would dare issue an indictment of or attempt to arrest a former U.S. president & vice-president. No matter what crimes he is accused of perpetrating or ordering.
  •  Obama said yesterday the report will be declassifi (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ed so it seems he's doing the right thing.

  •  Remember the impeachment diaries here on DKos? (0+ / 0-)

    Many good Kossacks  were trolled to oblivion. Hell, there was even a frontpager that trolled and thread-jacked here every time someone mentioned the prosecution and impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

    Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. Theodore Roosevelt

    by Zwoof on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:29:40 PM PDT

  •  Great work again, Kossacks!! (4+ / 0-)

    Just like 2010 all over again!!

    Instead of rallying the troops for an election, you're beating up the admin over your differences, in this case not prosecuting the Bush administration. Great work!!

    Just like when you all spent the year beating up Obama because he hadn't yet repealed DADT and because there was no public option in Obamacare.

    That led us to the wonderful Tea Party caucus and a GOP-led House & state govt's in a year that included redistricting.

    Brilliant strategy!!

    •  Here it is (7+ / 0-)

      The difference between partisans and progressives.  Partisans will cheer anything good for their team, up to and including war crimes. Progressive have standards that come first.  I can only say we should count ourselves lucky we aren't debating whether genocide might be acceptable if it helps democrats, since I shudder to think that some here might actually excuse it on that basis
      I would simply ask the partisans:

      Have you no shame?

      •  LOL! No shame ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... Lack of participation from supposed "disappointed" liberals led to the Tea Party take over of the House.

        The fact that you'd rather have the GOP win so that you can make your stand is what is shameful.

        •  Not actually even slightly true (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Billybones, happymisanthropy

          The flaky low turnout voters who are mostly moderates, young people and minorities didn't show.   Progressives are what kept it from being worse.  

          Which begs the question:  why didn't those groups show up?

          In any event, there are some things one should never support, from any party. Period   This idea that that Democrats think that opposing torture is purity (which most do not think) just proves up the moral bankruptcy of the party and the uselessness of engagement in electoral politics

        •  Do you ever post accurate comments? (0+ / 0-)

          there's no truth to the assertion that liberals stayed home in 2010.

    •  ...and the horse you rode in on. (n/t) (3+ / 0-)
    •  Aww (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheMomCat, happymisanthropy

      Someone's pissed that people are being mean to the president.


      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ Garcia

      by DeadHead on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 12:16:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This comment illustrates... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Billybones, happymisanthropy

      ...something that has always bothered me about this site. Winning elections seems to be the end game, rather than just the first step in the process of governing and implementing progressive policy.

      There has been a constitutional crisis brewing since, at least, the 2000 election. Whenever anyone suggests that something be done about it, someone else says we can't because it will fuck up the next election. Unfortunately we are in a continuous election cycle, so this can just keeps getting kicked down the road.

      Our federal government is virtually dysfunctional. It needs to be fixed, and some eggs are going to be broken on both sides. The big problem I see in fixing it is being able to find someone to prosecute who is not complicit in this, or some other nefarious activity. Ironically, I suspect that if polled, popular opinion would support fixing the government so it works better for everyone.

      So endith the trick.

      by itsjim on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:10:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can't make the right changes ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... if you lose elections and have the GOP take over the Senate & House. Look what happened after 2010 because "disappointed" Dems stayed home.

        Can't have change without winning elections.

        •  That's really funny. (0+ / 0-)

          You mean like 2008, right?

          So endith the trick.

          by itsjim on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:51:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Apparently on the matter of torture & culpability (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          . . . we can't have change even with winning elections.

          On the larger point, it's ludicrous to suggest that we on the left are to blame for hard-right Republicans coming to power in 2010. I voted that year. Every progressive I know voted that year. It still wasn't enough to overcome a cyclone of fear, bitterness, racism, bigotry, disinformation & corporate money that called itself the "Tea Party".

          Echoing what Mindful Nature said, elections are a means to an end, not the end itself. It isn't enough just to get Democrats elected. It does not advance the cause to have Democrats elected & then have them govern right of center. If the only choice we have is between center-right & hard-right, it can't really be considered surprising that so many people fail to turn out on election day.

        •  Zombie lie. n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
  •  Well, who could have foreseen this? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SlightKC, happymisanthropy

    Oh, just put your hands down, you dirty fucking hippies!

  •  obama endorsed bush foreign policy (0+ / 0-)

    just did it without being a goober.

  •  Perhaps Obama Behind Leaks As Repub Warning Shot (0+ / 0-)

    That is interesting way to intimidate back at them.  He is obviously holding explosive material.

  •  What was always foolish (4+ / 0-)

    What's foolish is thinking Republicans won't prosecute Obama's officials, and maybe Obama, for whatever charges they can trump up. So there's that to worry about, on top of the CIA thinking it's a law unto itself. A lot of the Democratic base objected to John Brennan. Sorry to say we told you so, but, ... I lied. Not sorry at all.

  •  I personally don't think "Bush and Cheney are (0+ / 0-)

    laughing their asses off."  They tortured, we knew it.  It didn't get results, we knew it. We knew videos were made and destroyed.  We knew there were documents.  Those on the right could always find a reason for its implementation and an excuse for their leaders unAmerican and illegal methods.

    Now, it is undeniable.  The documents are officially a part of the truth.  The history books will not treat the Bush and Cheney Administration kindly.  Progressives already find these two pathetic examples of the United States Government. They have already  incurred a tremendous amount of loathing and disrespect from many Americans.

    •  Look on your TeeVee (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Cheney is on it, laughing.  

      Bush is happy painting pictures and getting rehabilitated.  


      Knowledge is Hard Won

      by bluelaser2 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 05:27:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They should be held accountable, no (0+ / 0-)

        doubt.  Torture is against International Law.  My view is both of these men, Rumsfeld and others  in that Administration  are pariahs, and will go down, and I mean down, in the history books.

        Their legacy to their country, their children and grandchildren will forever be tainted.

    •  It didn't get results? (0+ / 0-)

      the purpose of torture is to torture.  The purpose of oppression is to oppress.  The goal of power is power.

      If nothing else, torture made the CIA circle the wagons against the incoming president (more than they would have otherwise).  Is that worth nothing?

      •  There have been documents and reports (0+ / 0-)

        stating exactly that, torture did not give them any information they did not already have.

        No one has to be a genius to understand that with torture one will confess to anything, and that's what they got, but no information.

         Bin Laden was still roaming around and had  reportedly hid in six residences -- all in Pakistan -- from 2002 to 2011.  The last one where he was killed he reportedly lived for 6 years.

        Sorry, I'm not sure I understand what you are driving at.

  •  Time to convert the Whitehouse (0+ / 0-)

    into a Chicken Coup if you ask me.

    My invisible imaginary friend is the "true" creator

    by Mr Robert on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 10:46:12 PM PDT

  •  There is no way we can even depend on (0+ / 0-)

    the UN to investigate this whole mess because there is waay too money being thrown at other countries.
    We are the world police and  bank.  This whole thing is not going to end up well except for those in high power.
    Now the question is...Who is that?  Who holds the most power ?   Three branches of government and all three are in a triangular stand off... The Supremes have not stepped to the mike yet but it is coming.   All three branches of this
    government are drawing lines and like a game....the ones holding the most power It would be the legislative branch if people got up and demanded the declassification of that report but as it stands... The executive holds the  power with executive privilege and
    pen power.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 12:11:49 AM PDT

  •  Karma's a bitch, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    she's patient and she has a wicked sense of humor. The irony in this delayed-action grenade is that nobody saw it coming 'cause they were waiting for Obama to pull the trigger.

    Ya' think that might have engendered a little hostility on the right... maybe a fuckin' armed insurrection, instead of the cordiality, cooperation and respect shown by Republicans since January, 2009?

  •  Well, if one defines politics as the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itsjim, happymisanthropy

    wielding of power to coerce the population under the rule of law, then the extent to which that coercion is applied is a policy difference.
    If, on the other hand, one defines politics as the interests of the polis (res publica) and the agents of government as assigned to serve, then coercion is ruled out a priori, except as a response to violations of the law -- i.e. criminal acts.
    It all depends on one's preconceived notion. If one assumes that humans are evil and must be ruled to make them good or, at least, acceptable to society, then coercion is ipso facto the order of the day. If, on the other hand, one assumes, as the Constitution does, that individual behavior is good, unless and until it is proved injurious to someone else, then the main purpose of government is to serve and do good, as well.
    The Republican party is full of people who believe humans are evil and deserve to be coerced.  They believe that because it is a notion that justifies their impulse to rule and be served. And, the reason they prefer being served is because they are generally lacking in the practical skills that would enable them to sustain themselves on their own. Indeed, for the most part, their only attribute is their gift of gab, the ability to issue demands and threaten punishment, if they are not met.
    The assertion that policy should not be criminalized reveals a failure to comprehend that coercion is the core element of crime; that criminal behavior is not defined by who's coercive, official or layman, but by the deployment of force in other than a retaliatory situation. Coercion, being a violation of liberty, a human right, is crime, unless it is deployed to halt a coercive force that's already in progress. Pre-emption is not allowed in a society that is just.

    by hannah on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 02:30:36 AM PDT

  •  Oh jailing the previous Pres and Vice Pres.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    .... would just look like payback for impeaching Clinton 37 times.

         Besides... it would probably have gotten Obama killed.

  •  Why Is Obama Still Protecting His Predecessors? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    For the life of me, I can't figure it out.  It makes no sense.

    When President Obama first took office, I understood it.  I didn't agree with it, but I understood his motives.  Simply put, he wanted to "Move On", to use a cliche from the Clinton era that spawned the popular liberal web site.  He wanted to move forward and get things done, and didn't want the time and energy of his infant administration consumed by lengthy legal and Constitutional battles that in the end would be resolved by the 5 to 4 split Supreme Court who would likely give the Bush criminals a "Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card.  Politically, I'm sure he (naively)thought that by giving Bush, Cheney and Company a pass, their fellow Republicans in Congress would be grateful.  That it would foster a spirit of "Bipartisanship" with Congressional Republicans which he presumed he would need to get his legislative agenda passed.  The alternative, I'm sure he conjectured, which would result from an aggressive prosecution of ex-administration, would be severe pay back by Congressional Republicans in the form of filibustering his entire legislative agenda until he agreed to let the Bush criminal family go.

    But as we all know now, the Republicans weren't grateful.  Instead, as soon as he agreed to let the Bush/Cheney crowd off the hook, their Republican friends in Congress promptly got up and punched President Obama right in the face.  No Bipartisanship, no cooperation, not so much as even a small friendly gesture towards the new President.  I'm sure President Obama must now be siting around saying "Those Ungrateful Bastards", perplexed at how Republicans could have thrown the olive branch back into his face.  Why would they do such a thing?  They did it because they are exactly what, in the back of your mind, you thought they were, A Bunch of Ungrateful Bastards!

    So flash forward to today, after seeing how UN-appreciative Republicans have been.  How the olive branch gestures he made when coming into office got him nothing from Republicans.  How Cheney and the other criminals now mock him by openly taking pride in their crimes.  After all that has transpired since President Obama made his initial "Let's Move On" decision, I have to ask:

    Why Is Obama Still Protecting His Predecessors?

    I truly have no idea.  Is it out of his "Christ-like" merciful nature?  Come on Mr. President, I'm not sure that Jesus Christ himself would have shown such mercy.  And now you're facing political heat from within your own Party as well as from many of your friends on the left, over your continued concealment of the truth, all to protect those that mock and scorn you.  It doesn't make any sense!

    So in closing, I have two questions for you to ponder:

    1. Why is President Obama Still Protecting His Predecessors? and

    2. After all that has transpired, will he decide to now allow the release of the 6000 page report and throw the Bush/Cheney crowd to the wolves?

    Please offer your thoughts on these questions.            

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 05:14:48 AM PDT

    •  I will only offer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Doctor Who


      I think your assessment of Obama's first term is correct, he was trying to be nice, trying to build cooperation because he knew coming in that they hated him.  I think however, he underestimated how much they hated him and how far they would be willing to go with that hatred.  That was the nice guy in him failing.

      Now in his second term, I think he now fully understands that there will be no nice civil business relationship with them and he just wants to survive and do as much good things as he can without getting impeached or worse.  

      I think he takes risks when he thinks he can get away with it (government shutdown, minimum wage) and covers his ass and looks the other way when he thinks it's not safe (NSA).  

      The CIA has deep roots.  They know where all the bodies are buried...because they put them there.  I think Obama has considered that a hated president is not the one to voluntarily poke that bear with a stick.


    •  Good points. (0+ / 0-)

      I think back to what was the biggest concern about Obama when he was running for president: The guy had no executive experience. I believe that has been proven to be valid. I think he completely underestimated the binary reptilian brains of the republicans he had to deal with and they just tore him up. His naive overtures of reconciliation and bipartisan cooperation were perceived as signs of weakness and were preyed upon, and he never overcame it.

      As for your questions,

      1. He is still protecting them because he waited too long. Not only has he become complicit in some things, but any action now would be perceived as payback for the shabby way in which he has been treated. Forget Clinton.

      2. Only if he is forced to.

      He's pretty much dead meat now. Way beyond being a lame duck. That duck had died, been plucked and roasted.

      So endith the trick.

      by itsjim on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:48:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No mention of "Looking forward, not backward"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in a piece about Obama and torture?  

    That phrase will haunt him and the assessment of his presidency long, long after the unemployment statistics or the details of health insurance laws are lost to remembered history.   I will never forget it.  The moment I heard it, I knew we had a conservative in office who would NEVER take on an entrenched interest, on any level: and I have yet to see him do so.  

    Dick Cheney, at least, should be in a cold cell right now.  That he is not essentially empowered a wholesale disregard for the rule of law up and down the chain in America.  The OJ trial brought it to the very fore, but looking forward, not backward, cemented it for real.   The NSA, Wall Street; all of it has extended from there.  We are lawless because our chief magistrate could not find the strength to enforce the most basic, the most serious of all laws.  


    Knowledge is Hard Won

    by bluelaser2 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 05:19:13 AM PDT

  •  How about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    we criminalize criminals.

    Get busy living or get busy dying

    by Kaiser Soeze on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 05:50:07 AM PDT

  •  Power/Forgiveness (0+ / 0-)

    Eisenhower, McNamara, Johnson, Kissinger, Nixon, Ollie North, Reagan, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld.  All are forgiven for their crimes and their roles.  Power always grants forgiveness to those in their same class.

  •  I have never understood...... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    why Obama kept any of the Bush appointees around.  He should have kicked Brennan to the curve immediately - along with Gates.  Why in the world would you want some other president's picks around you, especially those of Bush?  

  •  "Potential?" (0+ / 0-)
    ". . . the Bush torture team would face no consequences for potential violations of American and international law that the United States is treaty-bound to prosecute became clear before Barack Obama even took the oath of office. . .


    The sentence should read: " . . . consequences for violations of U.S. and International law . . . "

    There is no grey area here.  The violations of the U.S. Criminal Code are black & white.  These were never "potential" crimes.  The issue has always been, and will continue to be:  (1) who is above the law?; and (2) why do we choose to allow certain powerful people to commit felonies with no accountability?

    We have both public confessions, uncontroverted evidence of the criminal activity, photographs, videotapes, testimony etc.

    -- Religion is like sodomy: both can be harmless when practiced between consenting adults but neither should be imposed upon children.

    by Caoimhin Laochdha on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 11:39:06 AM PDT

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