Sunday, January 25, 2009

Something True Someone Else Said

"If waterboarding is torture and torture is criminal, and it came from Cheney’s office, I don’t see why there is a problem prosecuting. If waterboarding is torture and torture is criminal, and it’s been ordered from the top, I don’t see the problem with prosecuting unless there’s a political reason to obstruct it and I don’t think that’s justice." -Chris Matthews, commenting on whether Bush administration officials should be prosecuted for authorizing torture by the incoming Obama administration

I don't think that it's justice either but I also don't think that Obama's administration will pursue this, at least to the point that Mathews is suggesting: namely, that top Bush administration officials be prosecuted for ordering the actions that those lower on the chain of command have already been imprisoned for, and I am convinced that the reason for not doing so is entirely political.

President Obama knows that if his justice department goes ahead with trying to prosecute some of the bigger dogs from the Bush administration for the authorization of torture it will utterly destroy any cooperation he might receive from Republicans in congress to institute the larger and frankly more important programs of his agenda. Yes, it is a travesty of justice that will ultimately not be served in this case and he will be attacked by many on the left for it but Obama will do what he believes he has to in order to achieve the greatest good for this country. I've said before that I do not envy him the tough decisions that he will have to make and I believe that this is definitely one of the tougher ones.


JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

I thought prosecuting Bush officials for torture would be a mistake because nearly all members of Congress allowed Bush whatever he wanted for eight years. Your assessment that Obama would lose any Republican support if he allowed prosecutions is changing my mind. The Republicans are the cabal of obstruction now. They won't support Obama on anything. It's not in their party's interest. Release Rahm to do what he does best. Prosecute the se anti American right wing assholes. When the stimulous bill does pass, every one of these republican hypocrites will be at the troft next to their Democratic counterarts. Screw em. Make sure they get nothing. These guys cheered on Tom Delay when he ordered only republicans get government business. Paybacks a bitch fellas.

Soon one of your regulars, maybe even you JBW, will jump my ass and say this is why things don't get done. You gotta remember. We're not dealing with rational, reasonable people here. McCain had to "suspend" his campaign to save America by returning to Washington to get a stimulous bill passed. Now he's against it. Don't be fooled by these republican shysters. Hardball is the only game these guys play.

JBW said...

I guess that'll be me after all T101 but I'm not going to call it an assjumping 'cause I don't want to get any gay on me.

I think Obama understands the gravity of the crises we find ourselves in and has pragmatically decided not to aggressively pursue litigation against these people. I'm assuming that Congress will conduct investigations and that some things will come to light that will give the justice department no choice but to proceed with charges against some but I highly doubt any of the major players and politicos will be charged; they seem to have created a great deal of legal grey area for themselves in which to hide.

Although you and I can clearly see that letting Bush and company get away pretty much scott free is a travesty of justice the other side will frame any prosecutions as politically driven witch hunts and they are very good at framing the arguments. One of Obama's strengths is that he has tried to avoid looking petty and mean even when it was warranted and I don't see him giving up that "above the fray" cred with the American people by letting the Republicans portray him as exacting revenge against his political foes.

In the past Obama has approached problems in a more considered and conciliatory manner than I would have and most times it has worked out for him and several times proven my first inclination to be the wrong one. I don't entirely agree with his strategy on this issue either but I understand his reasons for doing so. We do need to get things done and I think he and Rahm both know how best to do that without antagonizing the other side too much. I understand that many of them are dirty bastards but this is the reality we find ourselves in and the problems we need to fix are too big to tackle without getting them on board.

Van Zan said...

I think we have already let Cheney and co off the hook, and we did it some time ago, with our virtual blessing.

Cheney said after 9-11 that we will "walk on the dark side". We knew what he meant then... really, if we asked ourselves what he meant by that. But we had other things on our minds. We're always going to have other things on our minds. When does it end? When do we say 'no', we are not going to accept a "Sophie's Choice" in political justice and leave one side of ourselves forever tarnished just to keep a hold of something else? Maybe that's too tall an ask of this administration, but maybe even that won't be always so.

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

The language of diplomacy and bipartisan cooperation is not part of the Congressional Republican playbook JBW. The only thing these guys understand is the hammer. They will not do anything for the good of our Country as a whole. It is party first with the republicans. President Obama will amke a good show and most likely will try hard to cooperate and include republican ideas into aNy stimulous plans he gets. But Obama and Emmanuel are smart and realistic enough to know that their republican counterparts will twist and turn everything they can to a political advantage. Call it the Illinois political gene in me, but sooner or later Obama will have squash these guys. Why wait. Boehner and Graham and McCain are up to their tricks now.

JBW said...

I just think he should at least try, T101. I still think that it's important to keep the moral high ground even if he has to crush them later. Principles and results.

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Obama's riding high now. If he waits his hammer won't strike with the same force JBW. But in the interest of teamwork and being a good Nihilist, I will wait as you say.

Anonymous said...

This can be a real slippery slope in the quest for justice, as you have demonstrated.

I say that if, America wants to be taken seriously as a nation that follows international codes of ethics and law, then eventually these guys will have to face the burden of the law.

It may not be prudent to pursue these things in haste, but with time, I hope you all do what is right, not what is politically expedient at the time.

Perhaps appointing some sub committees that will investigate these matters in the future might be a good idea?

I hear the predicament though.