Thursday, September 03, 2009

Broder's Column

seems to concede to the civil libertarians on the merits but then objects for pragmatic reasons:

"I understand why so many liberals who opposed the Bush administration are eager to see its operatives and officials forced publicly to explain their actions. The case that Robinson and many others make for seeking testimony is a strong one."

"I am not persuaded by former vice president Dick Cheney's argument that this is simply political revenge by the now-dominant Democrats against their Republican predecessors. For all the previously stated reasons, there is ample justification for seeking answers apart from any partisan motive."

so then why does he object to these preliminary hearings?

1. Trying a Prior Administration Establishes a Precedent
"Cheney is not wrong when he asserts that it is a dangerous precedent when a change in power in Washington leads a successor government not just to change the policies of its predecessors but to invoke the criminal justice system against them."

Well if there is something there then the prior administration deserves to be held accountable. If there is nothing to investigate then future administrations will have nothing to investigate. We cannot let a rogue administration get away with activities that are potentially illegal or unconstitutional just because future administrations would try to use the legal process to exact its revenge.

2. A drop in CIA Morale:

Whose morale are we speaking about? CIA officials who broke the law? CIA officials who did not break the law? And what does that have to do with the pursuit of justice? I'm sure many Catholic priests saw their morale go down when a few of their number were exposed for preying upon the children within their care and when the bishops, acting like your typical bureaucrat, took it upon themselves to protect their own. I'm sure there were Clinton officials who saw their morale drop when the president that they admired was caught in a lie concerning his sexual relationship with Monical Lewinsky and I'm sure there were Nixon officials who saw their morale drop when the president is impeached. We don't let the morale of the good people get in our way when pursuing legal justice.

3. The Lower-Ranked Officials Will Be Hanged While the Architects Go Free:

"What about those who approved of their actions? If accountability is the standard, then it should apply to the policymakers and not just to the underlings. Ultimately, do we want to see Cheney, who backed these actions and still does, standing in the dock?"

No argument here but this isn't a case to hide from an investigation but the case to instruct the prosecutor to investigate the vice president, the vice president's staff, the president, the president's staff, the CIA director, and the lawyers who drafted the legal justification for torture as well as those lower officials who "were just following orders" and those lower officials who went beyond the scope of approved methods.

4. President Obama doesn't want to see the Vice President et al investigated.

So what?

5. Investigating Prior Criminal Acts Will Divide us and Distract Us When We need to Come together and Solve our Problems (whatever they may be).

Note to Broder. Please refer to my response to point one. We cannot let those who may have violated their oath to uphold the Constitution blackmail us into getting away with their crimes by threatening to tie Washington down in gridlock. Besides which, it appears as if we have gridlock already.

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