Monday, July 21, 2008

Anyone See a Pattern Here?

THIS YEAR: So don't be surprised if some time before Inauguration Day 2009, President George W. Bush issues a blanket presidential pardon to ensure that those who organized and implemented brutal interrogation techniques such as "waterboarding" (a terrifying simulated drowning) are never hauled before the courts. A pardon would prevent future administrations from ever prosecuting those responsible for torture and other mistreatment at Guantánamo Bay and secret CIA detention facilities elsewhere overseas ... Constitutionally, neither Congress nor the courts can prevent President Bush from signing such a pardon. It would, however, be the first preemptive pardon in U.S. history for war crimes. And because of his own possible criminal role in approving the torture program, Bush effectively would be granting a self-pardon - Salon

TEN YEARS AGO: But Presidents who resign are subject to criminal prosecution, like those who leave office through impeachment and conviction, defeat or expiration of term. Only a pardon would shield [Bill] Clinton from indictment if he were to resign. ... What then about a resignation and pardon? Legally speaking, Mr. Clinton could pardon himself and resign. But that option could have destructive consequences for the Democratic Party. Or he could try to cut a deal with Vice President Al Gore to pardon him after Mr. Gore had succeeded him - New York Times

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: President [George H.W.] Bush, defending himself from his Christmas Eve pardons in the Iran-Contra case, set out for a triumphant farewell trip to Somalia and Moscow - but not before hiring a lawyer. Maybe he should save himself a lot of trouble and pardon himself, too, since special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh seems determined to get him - St. Petersburg Times

TWENTY YEARS AGO: A pardon, he believes, should never be issued by a person involved in the case, as [Ronald]Reagan is in the Iran-contra scandal. No President ever seems to have done so. "Even when Ford pardoned Nixon, there was no question of Ford's being involved in Watergate," says Josephson. "Reagan, on the other hand, could pardon everyone, theoretically including himself - Time Magazine

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