Sunday, April 26, 2009

David Broder - Stop Scapegoating?

Today, David Broder wrote an editorial in the Washington Post Stop Scapegoating:Obama Should Stand Against Prosecutions

Like many (most?) these days, Mr. Broder has forgotten the part in the Constitution that explains the three branches to our government—the legislative, the judicial, and the administrative, and why. He has also forgotten that in addition to having three branches, the importance of maintaining a wall between the judicial and administrative branches. He states,

One administration later, a different group of individuals occupying the same offices has -- thankfully -- made the opposite decision. Do they now go back and investigate or indict their predecessors?

That way, inevitably, lies endless political warfare. It would set the precedent for turning all future policy disagreements into political or criminal vendettas. That way lies untold bitterness -- and injustice.

Suppose that Obama backs down and Holder or someone else starts hauling Bush administration lawyers and operatives into hearings and courtrooms.

It’s been so long since we’ve had that wall, that President Obama’s involvement in the discussion of investigation and prosecution of torture has seemed reasonable and normal, and most people continue to claim that the Bush Administration’s use of torture was a reasonable response to 9/11 and a policy decision. Thus, any response by the Obama Administration—including from the Dept. of Justice—is a policy difference: a political decision based on differences in policy.

Suppose the investigators decide that the country does not want to see the former president and vice president in the dock. Then underlings pay the price while big shots go free. But at some point, if he is at all a man of honor, George W. Bush would feel bound to say: That was my policy. I was the president. If you want to indict anyone for it, indict me. [emphasis added]

In all the discussion amongst all the Washington pundit class, this is probably the most amusing statement I have heard recently. Of course, Mr. Broder, the Dean of the Pundits, the coolest, calmest, most reasoned head of the punditry, is the wise man on the mountain who is looked to to provide the voice of reason when all about him have been reduced to a chattering class.

Tell me Mr. Broder. When has Mr. Bush ever been bound to say, that was my policy, I was the president? When has Mr. Bush ever said, I was wrong, I accept responsibility? When asked if he regretted that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Mr. Bush replied that he regretted that they hadn’t been found. When asked if he regretted the delay in responding to Hurricane Katrina, he stated that they saved 30,000 people off the roofs of houses. He refused to explain why early warnings were ignored, why response was late, and limited. And why, years later, the majority of the funds appropriated for Katrina relief were still not spent? He has, to this day, not ever, not once, said, “I’m wrong, I made a mistake, I’m sorry.” About anything. Ever.

And you expect him to be a man of honor? To think of those who served under him? Take off your blinders Mr. Broder. His actions speak quite loud enough, thank you very much.

Secretly, right before the inauguration, he gave secret memos to Harriet Miers and Karl Rove (and who knows how others) forcing them to claim executive privilege should they be called to testify before Congress. A privilege, by the way, that Harriet Miers at least, knew wouldn’t stand up to legal scrutiny. And more telling, prior to leaving office, he refused to give Presidential immunity to anyone for committing or authorizing acts of torture. He could have, and could have very easily. Why didn’t he. Oh yeah. If he did, then he would have had to admit “we do not commit torture” was a lie. He told a lot of lies, but that was one of the few where he looked right into the camera and very firmly, clearly, and loudly, stated a declarative sentence that could in no way be spun or later massaged into meaning something else.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

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