Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Confidence of War Criminals

Prof. Marjorie Cohn of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law says that Vice-President Dick Cheney has "publicly confessed" to ordering "war crimes" because he has said, in relation to the CIA enhanced interrogations program, "I was aware of the program, certainly." Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has also publicly admitted to knowing about the program, as early as 2002, and - by Cohn's resaoning - Pelosi facilitated "war crimes" in the process of congressional oversight. What is more, Pelosi has also publicly admitted to doing so without raising a single objection along the way.

But Cheney, says Cohn, is - much like Pelosi - "sanguine" about "admitting" he is a "war criminal" because "he’s confident that either President Bush will preemptively pardon him or President-elect Obama won’t prosecute him." PardonPower could not agree more. There seems to really be no other explanation for Pelosi's confidence in these matters.

Meanwhile, in developing a list of "war criminals," Cohn comes up with names like Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, John Ashcroft, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and George Tenet. But she fails altogether to mention Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV). Why? Is Cohn truly concerned about protecting rights and liberties? Or, is she just another partisan cheerleader/hack, wanting to draw attention to herself? Cohn notes:
During the campaign, Obama promised to promptly review actions by Bush officials to determine whether “genuine crimes” were committed. He said, “If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated,” but “I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of the Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we’ve got too many problems we’ve got to solve.”

Two Obama advisers told the Associated Press that “there’s little-if any – chance that the incoming president’s Justice Department will go after anyone involved in authorizing or carrying out interrogations that provoked worldwide outrage.”
Which raises several interesting questions: 1) It is clear that Obama is aware of the fact that reviewing actions by "Bush officials" - and ignoring the behavior of key Democratic leaders - might very well satisfy the blood lust of people like Cohn, but it would hardy be lauded as a "just" process by objective observers. Why is Cohn so clueless to this? 2) If the "war crimes" are so obvious and openly "admitted" to, then why would such investigations "consume" a term? What complexities does Obama see that Cohn cannot see - or chooses to ignore in her rants? Is it because Obama is not as moral and righteous as Cohn? or is it because Obama can separate rhetoric from reality? 3)What color is the sky in Cohn's world? See Cohn's remarks here.

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