Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bush Pardons Bad. Obama Pardons Good.

In a piece at Salon Joe Conason reports on Sen. Patrick Leahy's recent call for show trials related to Republican officials in the Bush administrations - the tradition, of course, is to always exclude high ranking Democratic officials from such discussions who would clearly be run over in even the most evanescent satire of the judicial process. While many lived in constant fear of the certainty of last-minute preemptive, blanket, turbo pardons from George Bush and loathed the certain damage they would do to any subsequent "truth" finding commission, Conason is calmed by his faith in the new president:

Is there a way for President Obama to pursue that responsibility without inflicting vengeance or humiliation? Perhaps he ought to consider the creation of a presidential commission whose aims would be purely investigative -- and encourage the participation of those implicated in the abuses of the past by promising a complete pardon to anyone who testifies fully, honestly and publicly.

With that gesture, he would acknowledge the importance of uncovering the facts, no matter how ugly, while magnanimously binding up the nation's wounds. He could leave the issue of criminal prosecution to international authorities that can act without any partisan taint. And he could seek truth without vengeance.

Fully. Honestly. Indeed. Translate "fully" as: "in the manner desired" and "honestly" as: "if it contributes significantly to the inflatation of the predetermined outcome."

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