Friday, April 24, 2009

Krugman: Reclaiming America’s Soul

Well, he is a Nobel Prize winner, and he's been more on-the-money about the economy, that he has not, and, today, he weighs in on pursuing The Bush Grindhouse, for their War Crimes.

And, it just so happened, that Paul Krugman's column today, shared the pages with, yet another, yet another, "My Sister/My Daughter" from President Obama;

Meeting with the Democratic leadership on Wednesday night, Mr. Obama said a special inquiry would steal time and energy from his policy agenda, and could mushroom into a wider distraction looking back at the Bush years, people briefed on the discussion said. Mr. Obama, they said, repeated much the same message on Thursday at a bipartisan meeting with Congressional leaders.
So, it stands, starkly, in contrast to Krugman's position, in "Reclaiming America’s Soul";
What about the argument that investigating the Bush administration’s abuses will impede efforts to deal with the crises of today? Even if that were true — even if truth and justice came at a high price — that would arguably be a price we must pay: laws aren’t supposed to be enforced only when convenient. But is there any real reason to believe that the nation would pay a high price for accountability?

For example, would investigating the crimes of the Bush era really divert time and energy needed elsewhere? Let’s be concrete: whose time and energy are we talking about?

Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to rescue the economy. Peter Orszag, the budget director, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to reform health care. Steven Chu, the energy secretary, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to limit climate change. Even the president needn’t, and indeed shouldn’t, be involved. All he would have to do is let the Justice Department do its job — which he’s supposed to do in any case — and not get in the way of any Congressional investigations.


Some of them probably just don’t want an ugly scene; my guess is that the president, who clearly prefers visions of uplift to confrontation, is in that group. But the ugliness is already there, and pretending it isn’t won’t make it go away

Others, I suspect, would rather not revisit those years because they don’t want to be reminded of their own sins of omission.


We need to do this for the sake of our future. For this isn’t about looking backward, it’s about looking forward — because it’s about reclaiming America’s soul.
Once again, as it has been done most of this week, especially by the pro-torturers, this is a matter of obligation.

It doesn't matter if his "policy agenda" takes a backseat, or that it will be a "distraction".

We are, as a country, legally, and morally, bound to the treaties we signed, to investigate (and prosecute, if necessary) War Crimes.

As Krugman notes, it's out there, not just here, but all over the world, and all eyes are on us, to see what we are doing to do.

Yeah, it's always easier, and better, when it is some other country's leaders that are the War Criminals.

The fact that we have War Criminals, that they are Americans, doesn't mitigate the responsibility.

Yesterday, we posted how, as more of this Bush Grindhouse Torture business comes out, the more it shows that it was designed to give cover to the lies, of invading and occupying Iraq.

Digby, over on her Hullabaloo, has more on that end of it;
Ron Suskind on Maddow yesterday:

And what‘s fascinating here, if you run the timeline side by side, you see, really, for the first time from that report that the key thing being sent down in terms of the request by the policymakers, by the White House, is find a link between Saddam and al Qaeda so that we essentially can link Saddam to the 9/11 attacks and then march into Iraq with the anger of 9/11 behind us. That was the goal and that was being passed down as the directive.

It‘s, you know, it‘s often called the requirement inside the CIA for both agents with their sources and interrogators with their captives. “Here‘s what we‘re interested in, here‘s what we, the duly elected leaders, want to hear about. Tell us what you can find.”

What‘s fascinating, in the Senate report, is finally clear confirmation that that specific thing was driving many of the activities, and mind you, the frustration inside of the White House that was actually driving action. The quote, in fact, inside of the Senate report from a major said that as frustration built inside of the White House, that there was no link that was established—because the CIA told the White House from the very start there is no Saddam/al Qaeda link. We checked it out. We did every which way. Sorry.

The White House simply wouldn‘t take no for an answer and it went with another method. Torture was the method. “Get me a confession, I don‘t care how you do it.” And that bled all the way through the government, both on the CIA side and the Army side. It‘s extraordinary.

Mind you, Rachel, this is important. This is not about an impetus to foil an upcoming potential al Qaeda attacks. The impetus here is largely political diplomatic. The White House had a political diplomatic problem. It wanted it solved in the run-up to the war.

And mind you, and I think the data will show this—after the invasion, when it becomes clear in the summer, just a few months after in 2003, that there are no WMD in Iraq. That‘s the summer of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame—my goodness, there are no WMD. Now, the White House is being hit with a charge that they took us to war under false pretenses. That‘s when the frustration is acute.

My question, the question for investigators now: Is how many of these interrogations were driven specifically by a desire to come up with the Saddam/al Qaeda link? It‘s essentially rivers coming together.
This isn't about policy differences, or ideology, it's about living up to the principles of this country.

Crimes were committed, War Crimes, and they need to be investigated, and prosecuted, as warranted.

It's as simple as that.

Bonus Links

Steve Hynd: Torture's Poisoned Chalice

Dan Balz: Confronting the Bush Legacy, Reluctantly

Joe Sudbay (DC): It's not "if" there will be a torture investigation in Congress, it's how and when it happens

MediaMatters: Conservative media claim prosecution of Bush administration officials will turn U.S. into "banana republic"

Glenn Greenwald: Three key rules of media behavior shape their discussions of "the 'torture' debate"

1 comment:

Foxwood said...

Let's go surfin' now
Everybody's learnin' how
Do some waterboardin' with me!