Time for some truth and reconciliation, with possible jail time to follow:
There’s a new poll out from Gallup and USA Today which one is headlining as showing there’s “no mandate for criminal prosecutions” and the other is headlining as showing that “most want an enquiry” into whether Bush’s anti-terror policies broke the law.
Those headlines aren’t mutually incompatible. There’s a hard core of around 30% of Americans who still cleave to Bush as a hero, an unsung genius who can do no wrong and think that a president can just declare actions legal and be done with it. There’s a slightly larger core of those who want America to return to the fold of the rule of law, presidential accountability and humanity. They’ve done some homework and realise that anti-terror tactics during the Bush Years were built upon the kind of deliberately twisted legal reasoning that got Nazi lawyers hanged at Nuremberg. And there’s a group – the undecideds – who want to know more before they make their minds up, and would understandably prefer the evidence to come from official governmental sources rather than liberal blogs and human rights groups. They want to trust their government and want that government to bring the facts out in the open. That’s just human nature and trying to spin the two different headlines about results of this poll as some liberal conspiracy is just being dishonest.
So give the people a Truth Commission. Let the evidence be made public in official hearings rather than tucked away in little-read reports from human rights groups about the Defense Department’s co-operation in running CIA secret prisons or in obscure blog posts citing studies showing the military have “disappeared over 24,000 video tapes of detainee interrogations. Let’s not rely on whether foreign officials and judges bow to blackmail in hoping to get details of why someone had his penis repeatedly sliced because he once read a satirical article online. Let’s get those Bush officials who have admitted their administration engaged in torture up on the witness stand, under oath.
When all of those nasty little details come out, the turnaround from “let’s put the past behind us” to “let’s put the bastards in jail!” could be fairly dramatic. Even if it doesn’t lead to a public outcry, however, it will at least serve as a sharp, humiliating reminder to certain individuals that there are consequences for war crimes.
Patrick Leahy’s all about that. He’s trying to deliver what 2/3 of the American public want: the truth. Head on over and show him some love. The more of us who sign on to the idea, the more likely it is the oblivious dimwits in Congress will realize we can’t just wave buh-bye to Bush and pretend it’s all over.
It won’t be over until the jailbird sings.