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Posted by on Feb 28, 2008 in At TMV | 15 comments

What To Do About All Those Scandals?

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If the next president is a Democrat (and that is by no means a foregone conclusion) what if any investigations of Bush administration criminality and other misdeeds should be persued?

Or, should the Democratic president and Congress, in the spirit of a new era and an appeal to bipartisanship, wipe the slate clean?

The criminality and misdeeds include:

* The refusal of Alberto Gonzalez, Harriet Miers and other key adminstration officials to answer subpoenas in connection with the politically motivated firings of U.S. attorneys.

* The refusal to hand over to congressional investigators certain testimony from Vice President Cheney and other key administration officials in connection with the Wilson-Plame leak scandal.

* The official embrace of torture in contravention of the Constitution, treaties and conventions and common decency.

* The Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

*
Pre-9/11 CIA and other intelligence failures.

* The willful destruction of millions of White House emails sought by congressional investigators.

* Voter supression efforts directed by the Justice Department.

*
A full accounting of the costs of the Iraq war.

* No-bid contracts given Halliburton and other firms working in Iraq and Afghanistan with close administration ties.

* The consequences of the multiple Bush signing statements.

* Government and government-funded scientific research and studies skewed for political reasons.

* Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s legal conflicts of interest.

And the list goes on.

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  • cosmoetica

    Learn from history. Despite all the hagiographies at his death, Gerald Ford will be remembered for two ugly reasons- being part of the coverup of the Warren Commission and pardoning Nixon.
    If Obama or Hill wins it, they HAVE to pursue the justice and bring those who started this criminal war to justice. Furthermore, if indicted by the Hague and the World Court, we should turn over any indictees for war crimes. It would send a powerful message that we do not condone war criminals- be they ours or our enemies.

    But it’ll never happen, which is why folk like me don’t even think of public service.

  • Macan

    Hmmm…Constitutionally, the only way to meet this laundry list would be to declare a “Dictatorship of the People”.

    For example: investigating Scalia’s conflicts of interest. Unless President Obama assumes dictatorial powers, he can’t do squat to Scalia. There is a separation of powers, and for a bloody good reason. Only one justice was ever impeached, over two hundred years ago, and that was quashed.

    Fantasyland. Pure liberal fantasyland. FDR was a titan, and he got his nose bloodied by trying to mess with the Supreme Court on political grounds. To presume Obama or Clinton are even remotely in his league is absurd.

    Interesting also, tossing around terms like “criminal war”. Has the Supreme Court declared the Iraq War to be a criminal act? Has the World Court?

    By who’s judicial authority is it criminal?

    I would imagine there are a great many Serbs just itching to haul President Clinton into the dock for his “war crimes” against the people of Serbia.

    Ah, the coming era of bipartisanship. Feel the love.

  • superdestroyer

    Senator Obama is proposing massive new entitlement programs and a regulations of vritually the entire economy. Congress should have its hands full doing real work instead of grandstanding for media. Remember, this is the Congress that has had more hearings on NFL Pensions and Steroid use in sports than it has had on immigration reform.

  • cosmoetica

    Macan: I said if indicted, and I’m sure that there will be charges brought against some for this war. But no Prez will act on it.

    AS for the Clinton example, there’s no comparison- the bulk of the Western world was against the Iraq invasion while most supported the UN incursion in the Balkans. Not even remotely similar.

  • superdestroyer

    cosmoetica,

    It was a NATO program in the Balkans, not the UN. I believe the UN came latter.

    http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/05/13/clinton.kosovo/

  • Interesting also, tossing around terms like “criminal war”. Has the Supreme Court declared the Iraq War to be a criminal act? Has the World Court?

    The International Criminal Court would have jurisdiction. The UN could also form a tribunal like it did for Milosevic.

    Of course the United States wouldn’t recognize the authority of any of those international judicial systems, but aggressor nations never do.

  • cosmoetica

    Chris: And that’s the point. This time we were in the wrong.

    And, yes, NATO was first, then UN, but the point is still valid.

  • There is certainly much a new administration can and should do to blow the doors of secrecy off many of these issues, unless there’s a year long shredder party going on right now. A more open, transparent and accountable administration will investigate, and if appropriate, turn the results over to the DOJ.

    I’ll tell you one thing that would illustrate to Americans exactly what Bushco has sacrificed in the name of GWOT, would be if Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, Rove, Meiers, et al. simply disappeared to Gitmo, no notice, no lawyer, no rights. “We cannot comment on whether or not these individuals have been picked up”. Remember, if they are not repealed this year, President Clinton or Obama will have these sweeping powers at her/his whim. It’s perfectly legal now.

    Plus, we’d learn if waterboarding actually yields valid intelligence.

    Yes, I’m kidding. OMG

  • Macan

    Cosmoetica said: “AS for the Clinton example, there’s no comparison- the bulk of the Western world was against the Iraq invasion while most supported the UN incursion in the Balkans. Not even remotely similar.”

    What you say is true.

    However, anti-Americans are LEGION, and long pre-date W. Some have legitimate grievances with the American empire, but many just want payback.

    The Serbs…supported by the Russians, if they feel like causing trouble…might call for Clinton’s indictment. They have been rioting against the US.

    If Rummy – who vetoed an incursion into Pakistan – why not Prez Obama who might, as he has said, approve such an incursion regardless of Pakistan’s sovereignty (not saying I would disagree with Pres. O. on this, just making a point).

    BTW: Greendreams makes an excellent point ab out the sweeping powers of the executive thanks to W. I wonder if the GOP will be so happy/supportive of Prez Clinton/Obama having such sweeping powers hahahahahahahahaha….

  • cosmoetica

    Macan: Yes, there wil always be gripers. I’m sure had the Nazis been able to broker an end to WW2, had Hitler been assassinated, they would have tried to play off legal forgiveness for Dresden in exchange for looking the other way at the death camps. But the Serbs’ calls for justice are Hitler calling out Churchill, not Stalin.

  • pacatrue

    I feel like the next Congress and administration should seriously consider investigating truly criminal acts, but not acts that were probably stupid, even immoral, but not criminal. The disregard of the FISA laws seems the most likely candidate for actual criminality and perhaps the destruction of documents that must be kept by law. However, items like intelligence failures and full-cost accounting are not criminal. Of course, since the Senate just voted to give phone companies legal immunity for complying with likely illegal phone record requests, the chances seem rather slim.

    Oh, and I get to agree with SD today. Yeah, the Congress has a lot more important things to be doing than investigating steroids in baseball or the Patriots cheating scandals.

  • archangel

    It is appreciated that you put many of the most unsettled matters in one place Shaun, thank you. I will send this on.

    dr.e

  • kritt11

    I guess I compare DOJ’s quick move to investigate Roger Clemons for lying to Congress with its inaction over Bush administration officials who have lied to Congress or simply refused to appear.

  • Slamfu

    Its not simply media grandstanding. Bush has basically done as he please and said FUCK YOU to Congress when they asked for information as to his goings on. By the standards Bush has set presidents are completely unaccountable for their actions.

    I don’t know about the Bush die hards, but how about a liberal president doing the same things? Once you give them that power good luck getting it back. People that insist on operating in secrecy are up to no good. I can accept that in an intelligence agency, but not in the oval office. Politicians use those means to do very bad things, and both sides of the aisle should demand accountability from the most powerful office in the land. I find it extremely short sighted of those on the right to simply give Bush a pass on these things.

  • StockBoySF

    Another excellent list by Shaun, thanks!

    The charges should be investigated. What has happened within America over the last seven years under Bush has irrefutably shaped world history and ravaged the US Constitution (among other effects). In order to fully understand the impact of Bush’s words and deeds a full accounting needs to be done. Without knowledge of America’s deeds (the most powerful country on Earth) is to deny future historians a seminal vehicle to understand the history of the world. To deny this accounting will be as though the Dark Ages have returned.

    If we do not want to repeat these mistakes again (or if we simply want to move forward) we need to understand what went wrong and why.

    Sure part if this understanding may involve people who broke laws. But lawbreakers should be brought to trial and punished accordingly. But the biggest piece is that Americans need to know what we gave up as Americans and at what price.

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