Friday, January 16, 2009

Did Bush Set Precedent For the Palin Administration?

I posted this back in early December, however since then, President Obama has made it clear he will not pursue the crimes of the Bush administration when he said, "I don't believe that anybody is above the law," he responded, but "we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards."

If that's true, than why bother investigating any crime? President Obama, more than anything else, reestablish the "rule of law" as that is what makes this country great. Ignoring the Bush Administration's blatant disregard for the law sends the opposite message...that as long as you are rich enough, powerful enough...the law does not apply to you.

Barack Obama may not choose to indulge in the dangerous legal precedent the Bush administration has set, however, unless that legal precedent is overturned, it's very likely, that a President, like, let's say, Sarah Palin, will cite George W. in an attempt to push her agenda forward.

More than three decades ago, David Frost asked Nixon to respond to the following:

"So what in a sense, you're saying is that there are certain situations, and the Huston Plan or that part of it was one of them, where the president can decide that it's in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal."

Nixon: "Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal."

23-years later, we emerge from an imperial presidency - no doubt, inspired by former President Nixon's statement, 31-years ago, that he is above the law. If 13 words from an impeached president, who resigned in disgrace, can bring on eight years of a president who declares himself immune from the "rule of law"...imagine what might foment in the future if we allow the precedent of illegal wire-tapping, suspension of habeas corpus, and systematically justifying torture as legal dogma, to stand.

Scott Horton, a New York attorney specializing in international law and human rights, who wrote the cover story in the latest issue of Harper's Magazine, " Justice After Bush: Prosecuting an Outlaw Administration" believes a presidential commission of inquiry would be the swift, clear way to proceed. Normally, the justice system conducts such investigations, however as Horton points out, the justice department itself is the crime scene in this case.

President Bush is doing as much damage as he can on his way out. These are not the actions of a man who will redeem himself - if that's even possible - in the future. However, whether President Bush repents or not is not the issue. If it were, we could afford to let him off the hook, and concentrate on repairing what his administration destroyed, however, this goes far beyond what President Bush, the individual deserves or doesn't deserve and has everything to do with
renewing our nation's commitment to the rule of law.

On June 10, 2008 Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and Robert Wexler cosponsored 35 articles of impeachment for indicting George Bush. Included in the list of impeachable offenses:

  • Authorization and encouragement of torture as official policy
  • Fabrications about Iraq’s nuclear weapons
  • Lies about Iraq’s connections to al Qaeda
  • Retaliation against those who tried to tell the truth
  • Direct responsibility for extraordinary rendition
  • Illegal detention of U.S. citizens and foreign captives (including the imprisonment of children)
  • Warrantless wiretapping
  • Failure to protect the U.S. by heeding pre-9/11 warnings
  • Failure to protect soldiers in Iraq with proper armor
  • Failure to protect the residents of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina
  • Instructing subordinates to disregard congressional subpoenas
  • 1,100 signing statements releasing him from carrying out even those laws passed during his own administration.
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