Mark Green, the perennial also-ran New York politician and Air America radio personality, has proposed a brilliant and necessary idea.
He asks: “How can we hold Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Feith, Wolfowitz, Ashcroft, Gonzales, Woo and all of them accountable?”
His response? A Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In his words:
“This worked in a very different historical situation of South Africa and can work here as well. There, South Africans who engaged in murder and violence were given amnesty if they confessed under oath to their crimes and knowledge…but would be prosecuted if they didn’t. Of some 7110 seeking amnesty, 849 were granted it for “politically motivated” crimes…which in turn provided evidence to pressure and prosecute others. The largely successful effort led to both truth and reconciliation.
If Richard Nixon had his Leon Jaworski, a special prosecutor who sent 29 aides to jail, who will investigate George W. Bush? If massive prosecutions is too big a bite for a 44th president wanting to look to the future, here’s a fair, workable compromise to make sure that the past doesn’t become prologue.
In 2009 a new President could choose a new Attorney General who similarly announces that s/he will prosecute past officials for unlawful acts unless they first come forward and testify under oath. Because Bushies took literally their oaths to “faithfully execute the laws,” their record amounts to a near executive coup d’etat. Such examples include:
* condoning torture;
* ignoring the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act;
* assigning officials to politically campaign in open violation of the Hatch Act;
* refusing to enforce the Clean Air Act;
* spending money for propaganda as the Pentagon did in gathering former brass to hit the airwaves;
* violating contracting rules by giving lucrative contracts to favored firms,
* engaging in cronyism and coercion to influence prosecutions in the U.S. Attorneys
* abusing signing statements.
Indeed, even mere falsehoods could be investigated if they were under oath to Congress or if they legally vouched for false budgets, as Sarbanes Oxley explicitly does for CEOs attesting to annual reports.
If what we know about lies and illegalities is largely what managed to leak out or has been disclosed by a few insiders, imagine how much more may come out when a new administration turns over 43’s rock of corruption?
A TRC for the Bush-Cheney administration would be unprecedented for the U.S. But so is a government of crooks and liars who misled us into a calamitous war and openly violated the U.S. Constitution. Or is it only consensual sexual misconduct by a president that warrants the attention of investigators? The way to deter the “culture of deception” in McClellan’s subtitle is a combination of voters, lawyers, prosecutors and a Truth Commission — to vote against it, sue it, prosecute it, or expose it. Do we believe in the Rule of Law or only the ‘Law’ of Rule?”
Personally, I believe these criminals should be prosecuted, but let’s face it, most, if not all, of them won’t be. There is a world of wrong-doing and illegality under the carpets of the White House right now. In sweeping it out, Obama and the Dems should make sure that they stand up for this country (see previous post).
It ain’t political. It’s the law.