The Argument For A Special Prosecutor On Torture

Via Lambert, Philip Heymann inadvertently makes an argument for a special prosecutor regarding torture:

“When you get one administration prosecuting its predecessor, you start creating the conditions of a banana republic,” said Philip Heymann, a law professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who served as deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton. “Every Republican in the country would think this was a dangerous attack on the two-party system.”

This is an argument for a special prosecutor, not against prosecutions.

Speaking for me only

< Ezra Klein: New WaPo Blogger | Gov't Preparing For Chrysler Bankruptcy Filing >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Take what he's saying at face value, though (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by andgarden on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:03:12 PM EST
    Members of previous administrations can never be prosecuted for any reason, even if they've committed heinous crimes, because such a prosecution might look political.

    Funny, I didn't know we had an elected dictator in America. silly me.

    Serial dictatorships? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:19:31 PM EST
    IOW - if you don't impeach while they are in office, you can't do anything after.  Automatic pardons for every administration after they leave office?

    surely a head of state ought... (none / 0) (#36)
    by Salo on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:10:03 PM EST
    ...to be liable for his breach of the law? At least in a Democracy he ought to be.

    Oh Andgarden! (none / 0) (#44)
    by CDN Ctzn on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:34:11 PM EST
    Will you ever learn! That silly optimism or yours has to end somewhere!

    Hopeless (5.00 / 8) (#5)
    by Steve M on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:20:49 PM EST
    You cannot depoliticize the issue by farming it out to a special prosecutor.  Who is this mythical, nonpartisan, universally respected individual going to be?  And since everyone in the country agrees that that person is wise and intelligent and certain to do the right thing, why didn't we just elect THEM president?

    The appearance of politically-motivated action is unavoidable.  The president and attorney general simply have to find a way to do their jobs in spite of that.  Jesus is not coming back to earth to do it for them.

    Fair point (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:24:32 PM EST
    so you have to move on and ask: who can get the most just result, and how? Probably a special prosecutor (Patrick Fitzgerald?) with access to a grand jury.

    Not sure why (none / 0) (#22)
    by dk on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:45:35 PM EST
    you think Holder couldn't get a just result.

    "Jesus is not coming back to earth (none / 0) (#35)
    by coast on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:05:09 PM EST
    to do it for them"?  Heretic....where is your faith?

    Judge Melito Solomon Daniel Elijah Softim Presidin (none / 0) (#41)
    by Salo on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:16:35 PM EST
    hear yee hear yee...

    It is an opinion that makes great sense to me (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:22:05 PM EST
    For about eight years I felt I had no voice and was told I wasn't THE decider.  It is time that America found its voice again.  I am enjoying this whole unfolding more than I ever imagined, horrible things were done......we must digest and rediscover our humanity as a nation again.  I noticed in the piece that Russ Feingold has requested that we hold open our possibilities.

    Only to have the next GOP... (none / 0) (#37)
    by Salo on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:11:28 PM EST
    ...maniac throw teh national humanity away again. They may even justify brutality by pointing out how nice America is every 8 years or so.

    Good Lord Child (none / 0) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:45:04 PM EST
    You have really thrown all hope out the window?  I'm not all pony hopey happy changey, but hope never utterly died for me?  Why would I have bred if it all was hopeless?

    Maniac....hypocrytical (none / 0) (#69)
    by Iamme on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 04:25:42 PM EST
    One maniac?  Congress knew about the torture.  That means all your Democratic buddies you are in a love fest with.  2007 and 2008 Both houses of congress were controlled by the Democrats.  Oh I see.  If we cant blame Bush we have nothing to say. Please make sure to throw your Democratic congressmen in that fire pit.  Maybe thats why he is waffling.  I thought I would get Bush and Chenney but now I have to get over 100 fellow democrats also.  Whoops.

    I guess that hearing how bad we are (none / 0) (#70)
    by coast on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 04:31:18 PM EST
    for the four to eight is better somehow.

    Well, first, not every Republican (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by Cream City on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:47:55 PM EST
    in this or any other country (unnecessary verbiage on his part there) would see it as an attack on the two-party system.  Just most of them.

    And even so, so what?  PPUS, again?  But by Republicans, most of whom apparently found it far preferable to go after and impeach a president when in office, not really that long ago. . . .

    They sowed, and not only then by going after Clinton on something so far different from torture that this shows up their foolishness but also by the actions since then of a Republican White House authorizing torture.  So they can darn well reap from all that now.

    I've got a news flash for (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:11:37 PM EST
    Professor Heymann: it will be NOT doing the due diligence on this whole issue, including prosecutions at all levels if the totality of the information warrants them, that will take us closer to banana republic status.  

    People have well and truly lost their minds, it seems.  As horrifying as it is to begin to see the depth and extent of the treatment government officials were willing to authorize - that they pushed and argued for and turned away objections to -  it is even more disgusting that there are apparently way too many other people out there who are willing to defend those officials in similar contorted-logic fashion, and recommend a blind eye be turned to it because of...politics?

    I'm beginning to feel like a stranger in a strange land.

    Do you feel like Joseph K? (none / 0) (#43)
    by Salo on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:18:43 PM EST
    Or like you are reading a Kafka novel with these memo's?

    I am listening to Joseph K's sage (none / 0) (#87)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 08:03:45 PM EST
    on CD.  He is firm believer in the rule of law--at the beginning.

    In Case This Goes No-where (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by CDN Ctzn on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:46:08 PM EST
    which is exactly what I suspect, I'm getting my torch and pitchfork ready. Who's with me?

    If this goes nowhere (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:04:50 PM EST
    I will patiently begin shopping around for my chosen torch and pitchfork.  I want an ensemble that looks chic.

    I'm ready for an old-fashioned tar-and-feathering (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:05:24 PM EST
    but I guess a torch and pitchfork could work too...

    only problem is where to go first, New York/Connecticut or Texas....


    I disagree with her. (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:58:40 PM EST
    I don't really care about the public debate which will be more muddy than clear-eyed.  The laws against torture were pretty clear; it has been years now already; and it is really time to put this chapter of our history to bed properly through the impartial structure of the court system.  It will be years from now before this is all resolved if we start today.  Let's just start dealing so we can get closer to real healing.

    I understand. (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 05:03:23 PM EST
    I find her view very reasonable.  I just don't see the world around me as a particularly reasonable place so my gut says "get going now before Cheney et al can talk their way out of this."  There is a point at which there is no going back in our justice system and that is unique in the array of options before us.  If we don't deal, this debate will go on for a much longer time and we'll probably face some of these questions again without a clear roadmap for response - or worse our debate will have landed on favoring torture - legitimizing it because we so feared just going ahead and cutting the cancer out when we could.

    Sometimes there are things that should not be up for debate in a civil society that claims to live by the rule of law.


    absent (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by cpinva on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 04:21:12 PM EST
    an "independent prosecutor" from one of the outlying planets, it's always going to be "political" in nature, by definition. the best that can be done is for that person to be seen as above reproach, and working strictly on the facts.

    the republicans will scream. it's what they do, whether or not they have anything legitimate to scream about.

    I don't understand (5.00 / 0) (#90)
    by lentinel on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 09:10:03 PM EST
    why this is considered a "republican" issue.

    Pelosi knew about waterboarding - and raised no objection. And that's being kind to Pelosi.

    The dems have been in bed with the repubs on every rotten thing.

    This is an American problem in much the same way that Germans had to confront what their leadership did and what they allowed to happen.


    I just saw her on the tube news (none / 0) (#94)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 06:40:17 AM EST
    last night saying she didn't know about the waterboarding.

    Just curious... (none / 0) (#96)
    by lentinel on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 06:58:15 PM EST
    Since there have been reports to the contrary, did she seem credible to you Tracy?

    No (none / 0) (#100)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 06:48:01 AM EST
    Her voice was tight and clipped and her eyes seemed overyly wide in astonishment.  I thought that her body language indicated some fibbing taking place. Seems like a politically dangerous thing to lie about.

    What? (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by lentinel on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 06:12:06 PM EST
    How in the world is one administration that is attempting to bring people who committed criminal acts to justice, "creating the conditions of a banana republic"? Does the fact that the criminals were from a former administration make them off limits and immune from prosecution? Is that what Heymann is saying?

    In a democracy, one of the reasons that people vote for a new administration is exactly for the reason that they hope that people who violated the constitution and other laws will be prosecuted so that the behavior will not be repeated.

    Well, then factor in this theory (none / 0) (#88)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 08:07:34 PM EST
    in the link: President of the United States can't afford to alienate U.S. military and/or the CIA.  

    What (none / 0) (#89)
    by lentinel on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 08:59:11 PM EST
    I'm factoring in is that one administration, put in place by descendants of the people who put the former administration in place, finds it convenient to protect its' predecessor.

    The reason for this is so that they can reasonably expect that the same courtesy will be extended to them by the folks who will be next in line.


    But is it realistic to think not (none / 0) (#91)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 09:37:20 PM EST
    investigating and possibly prosecuting now will stave off investigation and possible prosecution when the GOP regains the White House?

    It is too late (none / 0) (#93)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 09:50:27 PM EST
    in many cases. The statute of limitations has already expired. Murder and war crimes, treason - those offenses will hang out there unless and until they are dealt with. We need to thank the Spanish government for being so nice to us. Having a conscience, they are going to indict our war criminals for us. You see about fifty years ago, this happened to them, and they learned the lesson: only prosecution will heal the wounds.

    Could be. (none / 0) (#99)
    by lentinel on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 07:12:42 PM EST
    I got the distinct impression that the members of the GOP who were gung-ho about going after Clinton were doing so as payback for the Dems having gone after Nixon.

    So - maybe the opposite is true.
    Leave us alone, and we'll leave you alone.


    Alienate our military? (none / 0) (#95)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 06:48:46 AM EST
    Could be possible in pockets....hard to do overall, probably close to impossible.  Our soldiers are okay with having the book thrown at them, it is one of their own favorite pastimes.  Military intelligence never seems to act or feel like it is part of the military mindset though....alienate military intelligence?  We wouldn't be missing much right now on the intelligence end :)

    Okay....you have to explain this to me (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:07:53 PM EST
    because I'm not tracking.  A special prosecutor wouldn't be "viewed" as political at a time when Dems are running everything?  Line out the lay people starting with me.

    I would see only one way (none / 0) (#8)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:24:48 PM EST
    a republican with a conscience.  if such a think can be found.
    and not a McCain type.  a Bob Barr type.

    Definitely not John McCain (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by CST on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:39:51 PM EST
    certainly not after this.

    I am so sick of this line:
    prosecute people for actions they didn't agree with under previous administrations

    no - we aren't talking prosecutions because we don't agree.  We are talking prosecutions because people BROKE THE LAW.


    Ummm...that's what (none / 0) (#23)
    by oldpro on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:45:50 PM EST
    the special prosecutor and House Republicans said about Bill Clinton as they investigated to a fare thee well and impeached his ass.

    I don't think (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:02:32 PM EST
    it was his a$$ they were concerned with.

    It was the putting out pieces of it :) (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:06:07 PM EST
    technically (none / 0) (#32)
    by CST on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:58:34 PM EST
    that would have been "current administration" :)

    Who was the Republican (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:30:06 PM EST
    who didn't lose his or her mind during the Bush presidency and completely ditch their whole party's platform and principles?  Which Republican jumped up and cried foul when the Bushies blared to the whole country that they would arrest Sheehan on Thursday if she didn't get her American protesting her President butt gone now?

    By the way (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:36:06 PM EST
    I think the fabric of the nation will survive all this just fine if and when we go forward.  Just honestly questioning the current possibilites, and we may find ourselves with brand new possibilities tomorrow as we are keeping them open and discovering new truths and making them known to all.

    We survived Nixom just fine. (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:51:30 PM EST
    We already survived eight years of Bush/Cheney.

    We survived nine-freaking-eleven!  We survived a Civil War!

    We survived the Great Depression!

    What exactly are we supposed to be frightened of again?


    And even though they won't level with (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:56:55 PM EST
    us about the banks, they have thrown hundreds of billions at them and things still stink and we haven't committed mass suicide yet :)  Who said  something like that recently?

    Pakistan (none / 0) (#73)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 04:59:51 PM EST
    see open thread

    You aren't worried? (none / 0) (#84)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 07:52:38 PM EST
    "When you get one administration prosecuting its predecessor, you start creating the conditions of a banana republic," said Philip Heymann, , , ,
     [Emphasis added.]

    I didnt say (none / 0) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:38:07 PM EST
    it wouldnt be like finding the holy grail.
    I just said its the only I can think of that it would not be widely seen as political

    Sorry I was interrogating you :) (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:39:38 PM EST
    It's all the rage these days :)

    wheres my diaper? (4.25 / 4) (#20)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:44:24 PM EST
    I am not afraid of bug.  hint.  if you want me to break like fine china.

    reality tv.

    two hours of survivor and I will tell you anything you want to know.


    Meaning no disrespect, but I'm (none / 0) (#28)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:53:49 PM EST
    not finding jokes about torture funny - even if you're making them about yourself.

    threatening someone (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:00:41 PM EST
    with reality tv is no joke.

    It scares the heck out of me (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:04:04 PM EST
    I'm into Dora now :)

    How about cable news? (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 05:49:31 PM EST
    It's even more traumatic - these are the people who are supposed to be informing us, not entertaining us!

    Few brainwash better (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 06:16:39 PM EST
    It's a free country (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:57:28 PM EST
    A Nancy Kassebaum type. (none / 0) (#24)
    by easilydistracted on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:47:25 PM EST
    It could be Bob Barr. (none / 0) (#42)
    by Salo on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:17:35 PM EST
    He's pretty eccentric.

    Ooooh! (none / 0) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:05:23 PM EST
    That's a GREAT idea!  Set Bob Barr loose on these people.  I don't know where he stands on this whole question, but if he's on our side, he'd be utterly relentless.  Man, that would be soooo satisfying!

    Yes (none / 0) (#54)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:15:46 PM EST
    While he's at it, maybe we can get another photo of him licking cream off of women's, uh...pectoral regions.  Now THOSE women were tortured.

    Is that supposed to be funny? (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:22:44 PM EST
    Do we really need to make jokes about torture, and do we really need to make women and their body parts the subject of those "jokes."

    What's next - shall we joke about rape?

    I'm no prude, I just think it's a mistake to start making jokes about something that's just not funny.


    SorryI (none / 0) (#56)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:26:20 PM EST
    It was a joke about Bob Barr.

    one thing that is never funny (5.00 / 0) (#57)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:30:45 PM EST
    is body parts and whipped cream in the same sentence

    Have you seen the movie (none / 0) (#85)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 07:54:42 PM EST
    "Taxing Woman"?

    Yeah, I know it was a joke about Barr - (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:50:23 PM EST
    and I think he's a little "off," too - I just think that when we start joking about torture, it trivializes what is not a trivial issue.

    And at a time when we want this to be taken seriously, I think we risk making this issue not as important as it is by joking about it.


    I understand (none / 0) (#62)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:55:54 PM EST
    But, I'm about to leave work, and I can't go out on this beautiful day and be angry.  This is a serious subject, but we need a little levity too, especially as people posting on a blog, we can't do much about it besides pressure our government to do the right thing.  Unfortunately, I have no faith in the government to do much of anything right.

    There are lots of things (none / 0) (#78)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 06:01:20 PM EST
    to make levity about, but torture ought not be one of them.  I'm with Anne on that.

    Fitzgerald (none / 0) (#10)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:34:42 PM EST
    Patrick Fitzgerald. If he was good enough to prosecute Dick Cheney when Dick Cheney was in office, he's good enough to prosecute him now. Note that Dick would have been fried except for perjury by Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

    As for letting the Special Prosecutor statute lapse, well, that was a REPUBLICAN controlled Congress, more interested in BJ's than justice.


    I like Fitz (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:37:49 PM EST
    I think America on the whole trusts Fitz too.

    A REALLY REALLY STUPID idea (none / 0) (#14)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:38:57 PM EST
    To get testimony, they will have to give immunity. Once Congress has given immunity, DOJ can't take it back.

    Best way is to give a grant of immunity based on testimony to all the people in CIA, NSA, etc, at the lowest level (as promised). A Presidential pardon for those convicted at Abu Gharaib is due too. Then roll up the network just like a drug conspiracy, until you have Grand Jury testimony that implicates Bush/Cheney. Then let Dick refuse to appear.

    Actually Ms De La Vega made sense (5.00 / 0) (#29)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:56:44 PM EST
    The are talking now in the press. If you start investigations or even a congressional investigation, they will stop incriminating themselves.  

    But (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:43:21 PM EST
    Members of Congress will be implicated too - they knew about this and approved it, either specifically, or through approving budgets.  You think Nancy and Harry are going to testify about what they knew and when they knew it?

    Wow, I can't believe I'm going to say this (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:49:50 PM EST
    It isn't fair that the Abu Ghraib bad apples paid the price for everyone.  They were only the ones who happened to get blantantly caught......but they did do it.  I have mixed feelings.  In the military you don't just obey illegal orders.  Granted that newbies very very often don't know what constitutes an illegal order and then you have those kids in basic training who run around with copies of the Constitution in their pockets or who can recite portions of the Geneva Conventions.  It was a turning point even if it was a completely unfair one, it shook all soldier wide awake though.  Don't preform illegal orders!  The same guys giving out the orders will bake your butt if they are illegal and you are caught.  It changed everything that was going on in Iraq.  Nobody was willing to do the administrations filthy chit work anymore that they snuck into gentle little rummy snowflakes.

    It only becomes an issue of concern... (none / 0) (#39)
    by Salo on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:13:27 PM EST
    ...when a commander does not hang his underlings.  Infact, had some of the Nuremberg higher ups executed a few of their own miscreants they'd have dodged the ewar crimes trials altogether by pointing out that they did in fact discipline poor conduct. It's a funny thing this war crimes racket.

    It is a funny thing (none / 0) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:01:52 PM EST
    I can only do the next right thing and go after the higher ups who requested or ordered torture to be done......pardoning those who provided us with the first really terrific proof of themselves doing it..........I don't know?  All United States military are instructed that they are to not to preform illegal orders even though many of them don't know what constitutes an illegal order.

    "what constitutes an illegal order" (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 04:15:36 PM EST
    exactly.  you cant expect an 18 or 19 year old to know that.  it probably never occured to Lindy England that she was being ordered to perform a war crime.  after all, we are the good guys, right?  we are the liberators.  thats what they believed.

    Well, they do take an oath (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 05:46:54 PM EST
    stating they won't preform unlawful orders.  My husband and his peers discuss what is legal and illegal all the time.  As times and conditions change it seems to be a constantly evolving topic.  I suppose that is a good argument for having the professional military that we have.  One of the things that bothers me the most about England and all others involved outside of Garner is that they were kids and they were National Guard.  They were shamefully sent into a combat zone with very little training that would equate with what my husband has received about how a U.S. soldier conducts themselves in combat.....taxpayers have paid through the nose for him to receive and use that training too.  It has served him and his nation well also in the face of this horrible mess.  Lindy England was probably clueless about what could be an unlawful order.  She was probably clueless that refusing any order at all was even on the table or how to go about that in a professional manner that would have afforded her a few much needed protections.  It also seems that this could have been a factor in military intelligence selecting those who were assigned to the area of Abu Ghraib she served in.

    perhaps so. (none / 0) (#64)
    by cpinva on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 04:11:26 PM EST
    Infact, had some of the Nuremberg higher ups executed a few of their own miscreants they'd have dodged the ewar crimes trials altogether by pointing out that they did in fact discipline poor conduct. It's a funny thing this war crimes racket.

    except that the crimes in question were, in fact, state policy. the whole point of the concentration camps was to exterminate "undesirables", either by working them to death, or straight from the train to the gas chambers.

    hence, the frantic attempts, by the gestapo, to destroy all camp records, and murder any inmates still alive, as the allies were bearing down on germany, at war's end. the nazi's kept meticulous records, which they knew would hang them, were they captured.


    "Poor conduct"? (none / 0) (#79)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 06:04:08 PM EST
    Poor conduct?  You mean six million people were murdered because of "poor conduct"?  Do you have any idea what you're talking about?

    Just like Plamegate? (none / 0) (#40)
    by diogenes on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:15:00 PM EST
    You tried this already in Plamegate (special prosecutor, etc) and all you got was one perjury trap on Libby while neither Rove, Cheney, nor anyone else were charged with any actual crime.

    Scooter Libby was not (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by KeysDan on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 02:59:03 PM EST
    a low level government official. Rather, he was the Vice President's chief of staff and the highest ranking member of the federal government convicted of a felony since the Iran-contra scandal. Libby was convicted by a federal jury on four felony counts of making false statements to the FBI, lying to a federal grand jury, and obstructing a probe into the leak of Valerie Plame's CIA position. The obstruction felony count did prevent learning more about the role of Cheney and others.  It is true that some called to testify in a torture case may also lie and obstruct.  But, the difference this time may be that assurances for a presidential pardon or even commutation of the sentence upon conviction of perjury and/or obstruction could not be presumed. Importantly, Patrick Fitzgerald was not seen as being on a political mission, rather, he was pursuing the truth in a court of law as best he could under the circumstances-- something that most citizens understand, save for the wingers

    Another man (none / 0) (#17)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:42:16 PM EST
    who thinks the president is the law.  That is what he's effectively saying.

    Yes, more Americans really need to be involved (none / 0) (#18)
    by vicndabx on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:42:34 PM EST
    in the debate.  Not just those of us who visit blog sites.

    Just as important (none / 0) (#21)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 01:45:28 PM EST
     Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, reminds us that people obeying Dick Cheney's and Donald Rumsfeld's orders WERE prosecuted for torture, and if President Obama's word is worth ANYTHING, he will pardon Specialist Charles Graner, and his former fiancee, Specialist Lynndie England, who are STILL in prison for Cheney's crimes.

    I recently England has been (none / 0) (#86)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 08:01:05 PM EST

    McCain from CNN.com (none / 0) (#58)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:31:06 PM EST
    "If we prosecute individuals for providing their best recommendation to the president of the United States, it will have a chilling effect from now on," the Arizona Republican said.

    It is not the "recommendation" that is at issue, it is the implementing of that recommendation.  Advisors can and do recommend whatever they want with impunity.  Dumb advisors recommend illegal things, dumb Presidents act on those recommendations.

    I think of it a bit differently... (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by coast on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:43:34 PM EST
    I believe that a President with 3000+ dead citizens and the threat that more would die acted on the recommendation.  If you see that as being "dumb", that is fine.  I don't.

    You think of it wrong then (none / 0) (#82)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 06:58:34 PM EST
    "Let's torture people"

    That's the recommendation.  You OK it?  If your Bush you do, Cheney, Rumsfeld.  If you got half a brain you say NO.  Loudly.

    Jeez.  You certainly do think of it a bit differently.


    Perhaps less vitriol (none / 0) (#92)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 09:45:36 PM EST
    and more thought, from all involved. First thing in defeating the terrorists: don't become the terrorists ourselves. Second, how do we reduce their sphere of influence, funding, supporting states, etc. (known as Zugswang in chess) until they have no moves left. How do we drain the swamp that made them, and build a better future for us all?

    Bush got bad advice, and made bad decisions. Some of that advice was to break the law, both national and international. Where he and his cronies broke the law, they need to be held to account. If you do not believe that they could protect and defend us without breaking the law, then go back to the top of this post and repeat the thought experiment.


    Bad advise? (none / 0) (#98)
    by lentinel on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 07:08:06 PM EST
    Bush didn't get bad advise.
    He got people to say what he wanted them to say.
    He got his employees to say what he wanted them to say.

    Sure, boss. Saddam was behind 9/11. He got nukes. Anything else, boss?


    Dumb? (none / 0) (#97)
    by lentinel on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 07:05:14 PM EST
    Just evil.

    Bush used 9/11 to advance his own agenda.
    He didn't care anything about the people who died in the Trade Center. He was all f-cked up about the Pentagon. Someone had to shake him and prompt him to say something about the Trade Center. Then he made it into a photo-op with his bullhorn.

    He is an amoral man/child.

    If you want a filmed example - look at him doing his "where are the WMD" routine for the sycophants in the press corps. This - while thousands of young Americans were killing and being killed in Iraq for nothing.

    He has no soul. No heart. No brain.
    Calling him "dumb" is too good for this cretin.


    honestly (none / 0) (#59)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 03:41:05 PM EST
    I think he has a point.  and idiotic one, but a point.  its the people who acted on and carried out those recommendations we should be thinking about.  at least as far a criminal prosecution.
    and I am not talking about the Lindy England types.
    again, at least not for the most severe criminal charges. they and the lawyers may well deserve some sort of repercussions but I really hope we dont try to purge our consciences that way.

    idiotic (none / 0) (#83)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 07:02:39 PM EST
    how?  Hold accountable the idiots, yes they were idiots, who approved of the torture recommendation.  You know as well as I do they didn't approve the "recommendation,"  they ordered it up to provide cover for what they wanted to do, and were already doing.

    Wha?   McCain is making sense?  If we hold accountable fools who approved a "recommendation" that we torture other human beings we "chill" future advisors from freely making recommendations?  Well if their recommendations are along the line that we should torture or build death camps I sure as Hell hope they are chilled.


    Political (none / 0) (#75)
    by trillian on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 05:15:39 PM EST
    Janis Karpinski suggests that since it wasn't just Americans who were in the theatre of war, the commission should be drawn from all the countries that served in Iraq.