Monday, November 15, 2010

ACLU urges AG to probe Bush crimes

From the blog of the American Civil Liberties Union:

Sounds to us like President Bush broke the law. So last Thursday, the ACLU sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to ask Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate whether Bush violated the Anti-Torture Statute. From our letter:

"The ACLU acknowledges the significance of this request, but it bears emphasis that the former President's acknowledgement that he authorized torture is absolutely without parallel in American history. The admission cannot be ignored. In our system, no one is above the law or beyond its reach, not even a former president. That founding principle of our democracy would mean little if it were ignored with respect to those in whom the public most invests its trust."

If this country is committed to the rule of law, our leaders cannot ignore this very clear, plain evidence that our former president authorized torture.

The Nation's John Nichols believes that there is no time like the present:
Both the House and Senate judiciary committees have Constitution subcommittees. There needs to be an examination by one or both of these committees of the question of whether George Bush's statements mark him an a man who violated his solemn oath to "faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

President Bush and Vice President Cheney continue to "enjoy" the benefits of the positions they held -- in the form of the pensions and extensive staff and structural supports afforded former members of the executive branch. As such, they are subject to the scrutiny of Congress. And that scutiny should be applied with the purpose of achieving accountability -- not just for Bush and Cheney but for the executive branch in general.

The point is not punishment. Rather, it is clarification. Bush has acknowledged wrongdoing. That wrongdoing should be examined, documented and censured by the Congress. Ideally, Democrats and Republicans would accept the importance of a proper investigation and response -- as it would, in many senses, be as much about the future as the past.

From Matthew Rothschild at The Progressive:

Under the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, countries that have ratified the accords have a binding obligation to exercise jurisdiction over those accused of grave breaches. (See “Stripping Rumsfeld and Bush of Impunity,”).

So if I were Bush (and what a horrifying thought that is!), I’d cancel those plans to visit Spain or Germany or any other country where some prosecutor, somewhere, respects international law.

Fry, Baby, Fry.


caheidelberger said...

Ford pardoned Nixon... but might we argue that Nixon didn't do as much direct and extensive harm to the Constitution?

larry kurtz said...

Maybe Mr. Bush learned something from the pardon of Nixon. Obstruction of justice does seem like a lesser offense than ordering the torture of illegal combatants.

A constitutional test might be just the kind of catharsis Mr. Bush wants for himself and the country. The quest for redemption is all over his memoir.