In the NYTimes today Paul Krugman makes a very strong case as for why the Bush Administration needs to be investigated and where warrented prosecuted for the abuses they perpetrated while in office. As you can tell from some of my recent postings I totally agree with Krugman on this. He makes some very salient points in his article and I will exerpt just a few:
Last Sunday President-elect Barack Obama was asked whether he would seek an investigation of possible crimes by the Bush administration. “I don’t believe that anybody is above the law,” he responded, but “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”
I’m sorry, but if we don’t have an inquest into what happened during the Bush years — and nearly everyone has taken Mr. Obama’s remarks to mean that we won’t — this means that those who hold power are indeed above the law because they don’t face any consequences if they abuse their power.
Can anybody credibly argue against him on this point? Krugman addresses two of the going memes put forth by mostly conservative talking heads about why we shouldn't investigate.
Why, then, shouldn’t we have an official inquiry into abuses during the Bush years?
One answer you hear is that pursuing the truth would be divisive, that it would exacerbate partisanship. But if partisanship is so terrible, shouldn’t there be some penalty for the Bush administration’s politicization of every aspect of government?
Alternatively, we’re told that we don’t have to dwell on past abuses, because we won’t repeat them. But no important figure in the Bush administration, or among that administration’s political allies, has expressed remorse for breaking the law. What makes anyone think that they or their political heirs won’t do it all over again, given the chance?
Amen and Amen. History tells us that in the past when we have chosen to look forward and not back all it has led to is more abuses by our Commander in Chief and really who could blame them? Why WOULDN'T you abuse your office if there is historical precedent that you will never be held to account if you do so? Witness exhibit A.
In fact, we’ve already seen this movie. During the Reagan years, the Iran-contra conspirators violated the Constitution in the name of national security. But the first President Bush pardoned the major malefactors, and when the White House finally changed hands the political and media establishment gave Bill Clinton the same advice it’s giving Mr. Obama: let sleeping scandals lie. Sure enough, the second Bush administration picked up right where the Iran-contra conspirators left off — which isn’t too surprising when you bear in mind that Mr. Bush actually hired some of those conspirators.
And now people are wondering how we ended up in these messes we are in 8 years later. Its because 16 years prior we were hearing the same advice from the same jackasses being handed out now about letting bygones be bygones and not offending anyone's delicate sensibilities. Well its about time somebody stood up and said FUCK THAT! How many times do you have to see the same episode before you decide its time to change the channel. We have done the "just let it go" dance before and now we see to disasterous effect. If we as Americans REALLY believe in the rule of law and the Constitution how does that jibe with letting people off the hook simply because "its too divisive". If we don't have the courage to stand up for the justice then what does that say about us as a country?
Now, it’s true that a serious investigation of Bush-era abuses would make Washington an uncomfortable place, both for those who abused power and those who acted as their enablers or apologists. And these people have a lot of friends. But the price of protecting their comfort would be high: If we whitewash the abuses of the past eight years, we’ll guarantee that they will happen again.
When was the last time you heard that we should let a killer get away with murder becuase it might divide the country? When was the last time you heard someone say we should let a crook get away with robbing people because we just need to focus on making sure nobody gets robbed again? Never. Never would you hear such talk of leniency for some random nobody who commits a crime. And if we aren't pushing for them to get away with their crimes then we for damn sure shouldn't be pushing for our leaders to get away with theirs.
One thing that bothers me is that in my own personal life I haven't encountered anyone, even any conservatives who have said they don't want the Bush Administration investigated. So why is it that every pundit is trying to make it seem like the world would come to an end? Are we really supposed to believe that because it might be hard thats a good enough reason not to do it? Is that what America is about now adays?
Its also very curious to me that you will see poll after poll released these days about approval ratings on different issues, but I have yet to see a national poll about how the populous feels about whether Bush and his cronines should be investigated. I wonder why that is. I imagine because if those poll numbers came in and the will of the majority of people fell on the side of investigating the Bush administration then there would be no way to justify the lack of doing so. And of course the pundits wouldn't want that, would they?
Please vote in my unscientific and thoroughly useless straw poll over there --->