This is the only conclusion I could come to when I heard/read that he is not going to go after the war criminals/terrorists in the Bush administration. Obama has said that he wants to look forward not backward and make sure that his administration is on the right track. Well, that’s all fine and good except that by not prosecuting those who tortured, authorized torture, and lied to get us into at least one illegal war then I have to say that we are not on the right track. Criminals need to be punished, and not just the ones on the street who are poor and disenfranchised. I am sure that we all know someone in our lives who has broken the law and been punished for it. My question is what makes our leaders exempt from prosecution. Nothing, really, except that they have money and power and apparently that is enough to get away with breaking national and international laws.
By choosing not to go after BushCo (it’s not official, but Obama said he probably won’t, which means he won’t) Obama is condoning the behavior of the past eight years, behavior that he had been condemning. Now, the man is not in office yet and there is not telling exactly what he will do once he is there, but this bit of news is disheartening to say the least. Obama promised change, and we may still get it, but I think that the implication was that he would bring about more change than what it now looks like he will. As I said, though, he is not in office yet (only a few more days) and I don’t want to jump the gun and start condemning him for actions that he has not even taken yet, but this stance on not prosecuting the people responsible for the deaths of countless Iraqis and Americans leaves a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Another thing that bothers me is that he has said that he will not close Gitmo in the first 100 days because the situation is too complex. “It is more complicated than people realize,” is what (or close to) he said about it. Okay, I can understand that Gitmo is a sensitive area and that some people there really did want to take aggressive action against the US when they were first captured (and if they did not then, I am sure they do now after the way we have treated them), but that does not change the fact that we are holding and torturing these people illegally. We have no right to keep the place open, and up until yesterday I thought Obama understood that. He says that we can’t just close the place down because some of the people there want to harm America, but we cannot prosecute those people because the evidence against them is tainted (hehe) due to the interrogation tactics (TORTURE) used to obtain it. Well, it is easy then: let them go. Sure, that might come back to bite us in the ass when one or 50 of them conduct terrorist actions against America or her allies, but that is not the point.
In the American legal system, if the prosecution blows it and offers tainted evidence it can result in a mistrial which then results in either another trial or the whole thing being thrown out and the accused being let go. It is an unfortunate side effect of our legal and justice system, but it is there to insure that more innocent people stay out of jail than in jail. And I would think that any evidence obtained through torture would be worthless and inadmissible anyway, but then again I am not a legal expert, and the people at Gitmo are not subject to any kind of law, America or otherwise. Well, that is not exactly true, they are subject to BUSHLAW which basically means that they are at the mercy of those who keep them detained, and with no hope of that situation changing as cries from human rights groups, families, and others have gone ignored by the current (and most likely the incoming) administration.
It saddens me to think that Obama will not go after the men and women who have perpetrated the tactics of torture and spreading terror in the name of The War on Terror, and since he is not going after these terrorists I can only offer one explanation: Sarah Palin was right (never th0ught I would type those words); he really does pal around with terrorists. Sure, they are not Islamic terrorists, or even American radical terrorists (like the weather underground or whatever it was called) but terrorists nonetheless and he pals around with them. Hell, he is even moving into one of their old houses.
I commend the fact that Obama does not want to dwell on the past, and think it is good that he is focused on moving the country forward. However, I think there is a difference between dwelling on the past and making people pay for crimes they have committed in the past, and that difference is that criminals (of all economic levels and means) need to know that they will be held accountable for their criminal actions. If that message is not made clear (especially in today’s world where white collar criminals have run the world’s economy into the ground) then there can be no hope for CHANGE, which, as we all recall is the platform that Obama ran on in the first place.
My one true hope (and it’s so ridiculous that it might just be possible) is that Obama is saying there will be no prosecutions because he does not want G W Bush to be able to issue presidential pardons in a pre-emptive strike against impending indictments. That would explain Obama’s reluctance to come out and say that he is going after these crooks to the fullest extent of the law, and if it is true (which I highly doubt–I’m naive but not that naive) it is brilliant. It is brilliant because not only should these peckerheads be tried, but if they are convicted they should serve time, something that would be impossible if they were given Presidential pardons.
Of course, my invented plan for Obama does not guarantee that these liars and thieves would serve any jail time because Bush is still President and he could still pardon himself and those around him in an effort to thwart any forthcoming prosecution. I’m not exactly sure how that would work (or even if it would be legal) but if BushCo has proven one thing during its time in power it is that it can, and often does, do things that are both seemingly impossible and definitely illegal–getting America into an unjust and illegal war and hiring thousands of mercenaries who operated with impunity for years to fight that war.