Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Looking Forward

"It's easy to make your voice heard," proclaims Change.gov, Barack Obama's web site. The president-elect is taking questions, and after this recent round, the people's concern is clear. The highest ranked question asks, "Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor -- ideally Patrick Fitzgerald -- to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?"

The response was disappointing with both Biden and Obama reiterating the need to look forward above all else:
Vice President-elect Biden, 12/21/08: “[T]he questions of whether or not a criminal act has been committed or a very, very, very bad judgment has been engaged in is—is something the Justice Department decides. Barack Obama and I are—President-elect Obama and I are not sitting thinking about the past. We’re focusing on the future… I’m not ruling [prosecution] in and not ruling it out. I just think we should look forward. I think we should be looking forward, not backwards.”

Barack Obama, 01/11/09: We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth. And obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices and I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. And part of my job is to make sure that for example at the CIA, you’ve got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don’t want them to suddenly feel like they’ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering [up].
Of course we need to look forward, but I, for one, was looking forward to seeing Dick Cheney behind bars!

Well, let me put it another way. Investigating crimes and prosecuting offenders is forward looking! We are a nation of laws, and if we do not prosecute, then those laws are meaningless. If we do not prosecute, we are not protecting our very purpose as a nation: liberty and justice for all. If we do not prosecute, then evil triumphs.

Our government's corruption, lies and crimes have been egregious and gone unchecked for too long. We yawn when Cheney admits to war crimes in primetime. We turn the page when we learn that banking regulators didn't enforce regulations. We hardly notice when the Bush Administration refuses to bring charges of perjury against a former head of the Justice Department. Maybe people think that this is all normal?

Don't accept these transgressions as normal! House judiciary committee chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and nine other lawmakers aim to establish a Blue Ribbon Commission comprised of experts outside government service to investigate the broad range of policies of the Bush administration. A great idea, but if our new President feels he can't look backwards, then maybe the evidence should be turned over to the World Court.

See that picture I posted of the rear-view mirror? It is possible to look forward and backward at the same time. In fact, it is necessary.

1 comment:

Trung said...

that's a well written entry. it looks like the message being sent here is that being president allows you to supersede any laws whether it's domestic or international. i guess the nuremberg trials and geneva conventions only apply to countries that are not the united states; oops, i didn't mean to exclude israel from this list.