Will Bush Issue Torture Pardons?

One conservative blogger is asking President Bush to issue torture pardons:

My powder is still dry on seeking to deny Holder the AG job, but is no longer dry on deeming preemptive pardons acceptable on the narrow issue of those involved in waterboarding.

Bush has two days to left do it. The wording of such a pardon would be extremely interesting. Presumably, the specific people being pardoned would be named. Also presumably, Bush would expressly pardon Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet, Hayden, Brennan, Kappes, specific field agents, etc. Finally, the pardons would state the actions for which pardons were issued. On one level, pardons would be good - we would certainly find out more about what was done. Of course, justice may be thwarted. Personally, I am more interested in stopping the abuses now. See also Jeralyn on Cheney's dismissal of the need for preemptive pardons.

Speaking for me only

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    The pardons will come (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by Saul on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:38:55 PM EST
    Not only those but Libby and Gonzales will come.  I do not think Bush wants anybody out there talking if this or that person is being investigated and then they make a deal with that person in exchange for  bigger fish.  

    Isn't there one upside to pardons? (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by ThatOneVoter on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:42:13 PM EST
    If these people are pardoned, then they can be compelled to testify to what they did ----they have no need for protection against self incrimination.

    Secret Pardons? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by RocksRock on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 06:00:49 PM EST
    Given the novel ways he's managed to contort the law to fit his needs (permitting torture, signing statements, etc) I wouldn't be surprised to find that he's found a way to issue secret pardons.

    Good point (none / 0) (#16)
    by ricosuave on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:48:49 AM EST
    What exactly is "the pardon"?  Is it a public declaration that needs to be filed and announced, or is it some kind of document signed and sealed by the president but which doesn't need to be filed publicly until it is used?  And how specific does it need to be?  Would a signed and dated letter on presidential stationary that says "I, GWB, pardon --- for any and all crimes related to torture" be enough?  Could the recipient keep the letter in their desk drawer until needed like a get-out-of-jail card, not telling anyone about it?

    I am sure that 4 or 8 years from now, when the next president decides to prosecute the torture crimes of the Bush administration, we might find out.


    why? (1.00 / 1) (#7)
    by diogenes on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 01:38:19 PM EST
    Obama put Pannetta in charge of the CIA already.  What would the purpose of torture prosecutions by Obama be except to create a perception of weakness on the part of the US?  The best way to prove there is no need for torture is for Obama to maintain security for the next eight years without torture.  

    I would like (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by killer on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 01:57:40 PM EST
    to pre-empt an international war crimes tribunal. As it is, no matter whether pardons come or not, it will be very hard for any of these people to travel outside the US except to Paraguay and other places with no International Court extradition treatys. To leave these actions alone is the same as saying "we don't torture" and leaving it at that. I say NO. We must follow the clear laws on this.

    "International war crimes???" (none / 0) (#18)
    by diogenes on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 06:45:17 PM EST
    What a joke.  The day Putin hands someone over for trial due to war crime violations in Chechnya or some such place is the day we can take this seriously.  Pretty much the only people being tried for war crimes now are Serbs; we can't even extradite the president of a two bit country like Sudan about Darfur.  

    If he doesn't (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:29:28 PM EST
    I would guess that he has gotten assurances from the incoming administration. That would be bad news. (Of course it's also possible that they're so convinced they've done nothing illegal that they don't think it's necessary).

    I don't think he will (none / 0) (#4)
    by esmense on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:51:29 PM EST
    because doing so would be admitting the policy was wrong and/or illegal. This man is stubborn and willful and has rarely, if ever, demonstrated concern about the consequences others suffer for his actions (or role as "the decider"). I think he may be arrogant enough to think he can be/will be protected (by the loyalty and self-interest of others) from responsibility, and also arrogant and cynical enough to think that any consequence that falls on others is just the risk they took in seeking public power and position.

    Right. torture medals would be (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by ThatOneVoter on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:58:20 PM EST
    more Bush's style.

    Exactly. (none / 0) (#6)
    by esmense on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 01:18:21 PM EST
    There will be no pardons... (none / 0) (#9)
    by pmj6 on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 03:49:24 PM EST
    If he was going to issue such pardons, doing it at the last minute would look very bad indeed, almost like a sign of both guilt and panic.

    Regardless of what Holder has said during confirmation (people say the darnedest things in these hearings--remember Roberts and Alito on stare decisis?), Obama has already said in public our brave men and women of the CIA don't need nobody lookin' over their shoulder why they are out protectin' America. Bush himself could not have said it better.

    Look Bad (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by squeaky on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 03:59:50 PM EST
    How can Bush look worse than he already does. The reason for pardoning in the last minute is that the lame duck gets to escape the over heated kitchen, and avoid getting his goose cooked.

    Bush and his cronies care more about flipping the bird than about how we think of them. I would not be surprised by a string of pardons, Cheney and GOnzales at the top of the list.


    I agree with (none / 0) (#15)
    by Amiss on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 12:40:23 AM EST
    your summation here. I believe you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. I certainly could not have said it as well.

    Why are the conservatives (none / 0) (#12)
    by hairspray on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 06:19:58 PM EST
    against Holder?  I read Joe Conasen in Salon.com  yesterday and he said Holder could have yanked Specter"s chain and told the truth about the pardoning of Marc Rich (top level Israeli government officials and the US Jewish community literally begging Clinton to pardon him) which Clinton did for political reasons not the money the Wapo insisted was the reason.  Holder chose to go easy on Arlen, even tho' Arlen, the hypocrite, was part and parcel of the pressure applied to Clinton. Clinton complied because he wanted a peace accord before he left office, but didn't get it after all.

    I wonder what Gamecock thinks the (none / 0) (#13)
    by JDM in NYC on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 07:15:22 PM EST
    expression "Keep your powder dry" means.

    What do you make of Cheney's (none / 0) (#14)
    by weltec2 on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:09:07 PM EST
    recent admissions? Either he is trying to force Bush to issue pardons or he is rubbing his crimes in the faces of the Democrats knowing full well that an agreement has already been reached with Obama/Pelosi to not pursue any investigations. If this is the case then Cheney is gloating and at the same time reminding the Democratic leadership that they are bound by their own complicity to keep their mouths shut.

    I would not be at all surprised to see a continuation of no-bid contracts to Halliburton, KBR, and other Cheney interests.

    recent admissions? (none / 0) (#17)
    by NYShooter on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:04:15 PM EST
    What Cheney "admitted" to was that he was really just a simple file clerk, and G.W.B. really was "The Decider." You heard him say that all those silly rumors about him being the power behind the throne, a "Svengali" to the idiot Son was just a big piffle, kind of like Saddam bragging he had W.M.D. to keep the enemy off guard. "George Bush was the President, a War Time President, and I, being a True Blue Patriot, followed the President's orders."

    It didn't work at Nurnberg, but..............at least there was a Nurnberg.