Thursday, November 13, 2008

Worth Considering

I kind of get where Glenn Greenwald is coming from here, but I'm not completely sold. What do you think?
Instead, his belief is that Bush officials should be protected from DOJ proceedings even if they committed crimes. And his reason for that is as petty and vapid as it is corrupt: namely, it is more important to have post-partisan harmony in our political class than it is to hold Presidents and other high officials accountable when they break the law.

How is this anything other than a full-scale exemption issued to political leaders to break our laws? There's nothing unique about circumstances now. New Presidents are always going to have Very Important Things to do. And investigations and prosecutions of past administration officials are always going to be politically divisive. By definition, investigations of past criminality are going to be "distractions" from the Important Work that political leaders must attend to. They're always going to be what Litt perversely refers to as "old battles." To argue that new administrations should refrain from investigating crimes that were committed by past administrations due to the need to avoid partisan division is to announce that the rule of law does not apply to our highest political leaders. It's just as simple as that.
Two points - Obama is not going to do what Mr. Greenwald wants here. He's said as much and his disappointing vote on Telecom Amnesty kind of gives a hint as to where his head is. So I'm not sure there is much to be gained by focusing on getting something we aren't going to get.

Secondly, I agree that this is probably something that should happen, but it has certainly not been our policy to do so in the past. Investigating and prosecuting the previous administration would be a break from our traditions. Perhaps a warranted break given the depth of the Bush Administrations corruption, but still a break.

No comments: