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Obama can talk all he wants about not looking back but this grotesque past is bigger than he is. [View All]

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BigBearJohn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 03:59 AM
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Obama can talk all he wants about not looking back but this grotesque past is bigger than he is.
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so says Frank Rich in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/opinion/26rich.html?_r=1

Last week Bush-Cheney defenders, true to form, dismissed the Senate Armed Services Committee report as partisan. But as the committee chairman, Carl Levin, told me, the report received unanimous support from its members John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman included.

Levin also emphasized the reports accounts of military lawyers who dissented from White House doctrine only to be disregarded. The Bush administration was driven, Levin said. By what? Theyd say it was to get more information. But they were desperate to find a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq.

Five years after the Abu Ghraib revelations, we must acknowledge that our government methodically authorized torture and lied about it. But we also must contemplate the possibility that it did so not just out of a sincere, if criminally misguided, desire to protect us but also to promote an unnecessary and catastrophic war. Instead of saving us from another 9/11, torture was a tool in the campaign to falsify and exploit 9/11 so that fearful Americans would be bamboozled into a mission that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. The lying about Iraq remains the original sin from which flows much of the Bush White Houses illegality.

Levin suggests and I agree that as additional fact-finding plays out, its time for the Justice Department to enlist a panel of two or three apolitical outsiders, perhaps retired federal judges, to review the mass of material we already have. The fundamental truth is there, as it long has been. The panel can recommend a legal path that will insure accountability for this wholesale betrayal of American values.

President Obama can talk all he wants about not looking back, but this grotesque past is bigger than even he is. It wont vanish into a memory hole any more than Andersonville, World War II internment camps or My Lai. The White House, Congress and politicians of both parties should get out of the way. We dont need another commission. We dont need any Capitol Hill witch hunts. What we must have are fair trials that at long last uphold and reclaim our nations commitment to the rule of law.

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