Abu Ghraib investigator Antonio Taguba was interviewed by Salon.com about why he backs a commission to examine Bush torture policies. The following was my letter to Salon.com regarding the interview and more importantly, the notion that a truth commission would be a sufficient response to the war crimes of the Bush Administration.
I agree with General Taguba on two basic points. We cannot afford to sweep these crimes under the table. A truth commission is a fine idea. It provides in depth information about what happened at the behest of the American government. HOWEVER, what we really need is a fundamental, public, transparent process that helps us return to the rule of law. The entire world watched as the U.S. scrapped this fundamental quality in a free society. The entire world saw what happened to the lives of millions of people who may have been killed, maimed, forced from their homes, or tortured due to a know-nothing group of ideological, power hungry zealots who seized power and then tried to transform the government of the U.S. into that of an imperial presidency.
Now we need to have a full and open investigation AND prosecution of those responsible for any and all of these crimes. No one should be able to escape by using what we rejected at Nuremberg as "just following orders." This process must include everyone involved from the lowliest grunt to the president and vice-president of the country.
We let Nixon and his cronies off the hook and look who came back for another round. John Dean in Conservatives Without Conscience details the insidious efforts of Charles Colson and his born again hypocrisy in spreading disgusting lies about both John and his wife. Other Nixon allies have also returned. Dean also discusses the delusional behavior of Vice-Fuhrer Cheney.
We let Reagan and Bush Senior off the hook for their crimes in the Iran-Contra era and look at what that wrought. We had a power mad GOP Congress deregulate everything it could, investigate a president to the tune of millions and millions of dollars over nothing more substantial than their own bigotry and a very foolish sexual tryst Of course, that investigation revealed a good deal about the moral bankruptcy of the radical right and its religious base.
The same power hungry GOP lied to get George W. Bush and his radical cabal into the White House I shudder to think of what will come next if we fail again to restore the rule of law. What is needed now is nothing less than Speaker Pelosi refused to do since the Democrats regained control of Congress in 2006. For the sake of the nation and our standing in the world, we need to come clean and prosecute those wrongdoers from the George W. Bush presidency. Nothing less will cleanse the conscience of the United States of America.
As an addendum to my Salon.com post, I would add something that I recall someone mentioning on either Countdown or The Rachel Maddow Show. The question of holding people accountable is virtually moot. It is already beginning to happen in our courts as some of those who suffered at the hands of the Aush people are beginning to bring their own individual law suits against various members of the Administration. This may very well force the hand of Congress as well as President Obama and his Justice Deptartment. In his Lincoln Day address, President Obama implied that it is better to forgive and move on. We tried this when President Ford pardoned President Nixon. That did not work. We tried a watered down version of forgive and forget when President Clinton chose not to pursue those who had violated the Constitution over Iran-Contra and it essentially brought us to our present fiasco. Now is the time to uphold the law!!!