Time to Restore Accountability
There are three important stories in the news about the Bush administration. The New York Times is reporting the FBI, State Department and the Red Cross all wanted to look into an alleged 2001 mass killing of Taliban prisoners by the militia of an American backed warlord. Warlord General Abdul Rashid Dostum was on the payroll of the CIA at the time of the killings. US-based Physicians for Human Rights called for a probe last Friday. This group claims it has documents that show up to 2000 Taliban fighters were suffocated in container trucks by Dostum's forces and buried the the Dasht-e-Leili desert in November of 2001.
Democratic senators have called for an investigation into reports that Dick Cheney ordered the Central Intelligence Agency not to tell Congress about a secret "counter-terrorism" program. Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, told Fox News on Sunday that Congress “should have been told” about the CIA program and that the vice-president should not be above the law. There are many speculating about this so-called "counter-terrorism" program. Was Former Vice President Dick Cheney developing a list with over 8 million names on a watch list with plans around that or was the CIA hiding Cheney's "Executive Assassination Ring"? The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh, after earlier reporting from the New York Times, mentioned the possibility that a ring existed in a March 2009 discussion sponsored by the University of Minnesota. Are either of these the secret program?
FInally, a Justice Department official has said that even in the in the face of opposition from the White House Attorney General Eric Holder may move forward with an investigation of the harsh interrogation practices applied to suspected terrorists. Holder will decide in the next few weeks whether to appoint a prosecutor.
I for one, and many citizens of this country, find it difficult to move on to the future without dealing with the 8 years of hell this country was put through by the Bush administration. Over-reaching secrecy, torture, the loss of privacy, a war of choice, and an economic meltdown only rivaled by the 1929 depression: this country needs accountability in order to move forward.
Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon set a terrible precedent of ignoring presidential crimes. That precedent was repeated by Bill Clinton when he stopped all investigations and prosecutions for Iran/Contra. Together, these decisions have created an atmosphere of kingly power around the presidency - exactly what the Founders wanted to prevent.
President Obama has an opportunity now to shatter these terrible precedents by holding his predecessor accountable for this and his cronies crimes. And if he fails to, Congress must. Never again should the citizens of this nation fear lawlessness from the holders of the highest office in the land.