There’s no doubt that our political process has become poised by hyper partisan rhetoric but so far we have resisted the temptation of criminalizing policy differences. That all changed on April 21, 2009 when Pres. Barack Obama suggested that Bush Administration lawyers who advised the CIA on the law and interrogation practices may subjected to investigation.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret.
Policy disputes, often bitter, are the stuff of democratic politics. Elections settle those battles, at least for a time, and Mr. Obama’s victory in November has given him the right to change policies on interrogations, Guantanamo, or anything on which he can muster enough support. But at least until now, the U.S. political system has avoided the spectacle of a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements. This is what happens in Argentina, Malaysia or Peru, countries where the law is treated merely as an extension of political power.
Pres. Obama would do well to back-off of the dangerous precedent he set on Tuesday, he has already banned the use of the interrogation techniques in question and declared the CIA personnel who used them will not be charged. Investigating and attempting to criminalize the actions of Bush administration lawyers who advised the CIA will only undermine the ability of this president and his successors to obtain candid advice, as lawyers fear they may in turn by scapegoated by a future administration.
- Congress Knew About the Interrogations – Wall Street Journal
- Torture Cases Would Face Legal Hurdles– Wall Street Journal
- Top legislators knew of interrogations – Washington Times
- Congress Debates Fresh Investigation Of Interrogations – Washington Post