Friday, June 13, 2008

Obama: May Prosecute Members of Bush Administration for “War Crimes”

We blogged about this back in April, but it has come up again.

From Patrick McIlheran, how the candidate of getting beyond divisiveness and achieving national unity would treat members of the Bush Administration.

From the blog of Will Bunch:
Tonight I had an opportunity to ask Barack Obama a question that is on the minds of many Americans, yet rarely rises to the surface in the great ruckus of the 2008 presidential race -- and that is whether an Obama administration would seek to prosecute officials of a former Bush administration on the revelations that they greenlighted torture, or for other potential crimes that took place in the White House.

Obama said that as president he would indeed ask his new Attorney General and his deputies to “immediately review the information that’s already there” and determine if an inquiry is warranted -- but he also tread carefully on the issue, in line with his reputation for seeking to bridge the partisan divide. He worried that such a probe could be spun as “a partisan witch hunt.” However, he said that equation changes if there was willful criminality, because “nobody is above the law.”
And then Bunch goes on to quote Obama directly:
What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that’s already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can’t prejudge that because we don’t have access to all the material right now. I think that you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You’re also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we’ve got too many problems we’ve got to solve.

You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings and I’ve said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law -- and I think that’s roughly how I would look at it.
Let’s see: a party loses an election. Members of that party are put on trial by the new regime, and punished for this or that supposed “crime.”

What kind of government is that? Not a democracy.

But then, given the friends that Obama has, why wouldn’t we expect this from him?

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17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law -- and I think that's roughly how I would look at it."

So, you're saying that if a high official knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, you wouldn't want him or her to be investigated by the next administration?

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve."

So, if it could be proven that members of the Bush administration broke the law, you think a President Obama should ignore those crimes in the name of party unity? Seriously?

3:12 PM  
Blogger grumps said...

Um, if crimes were committed would you prefer that they were ignored?

3:12 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

The posters to this point are merely proving my point about the depth of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

The notion that Bush administration officials are "criminals" for making choices that liberals disagree with opens the door to the sort of politically-motivated prosecutions that look like banana republic politics.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous smart cookie said...

Do you ever directly answer questions that are posed to you?

(May this be the test.)

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect, Prof McAdams, you're inflating.

If is a conditional. Obama explicitly states that he has not pre-judged that crimes took place.

Do you object to an investigation?

4:09 PM  
Blogger Xoff said...

Because his own administration won't investigate, is Bush entitled to a "get out of jail free" card even if he knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront?

Does he also, then, get a free pass on any illegal conduct between now and January 20?

What is it you teach? Apparently it's not constitutional law.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Clutch said...

"The notion that Bush administration officials are "criminals" for making choices that liberals disagree with..."

How does one become a professor without learning the meaning of "if"?

Please do answer the perfectly simple question: If the next President -- of whatever party -- discovers evidence not of lousy policies but of criminality from the current administration, what should he do?

The only flaw in what Obama's said on the topic is its utter boring obviousness: evidence of crimes should be investigated; poor policy shouldn't be prosecuted. And the only evidence of derangement -- powerful evidence indeed -- is your absurd twisting of this platitude into some strangely inarticulable fear, and your subsequently convenient inability to grasp English conditionals.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous mrslovett said...

First off, John, none of those posters said ANYTHING about Prez Bush or members of his administration having knowingly, consciously broken existing laws. Every single one of them simply questioned you on your reasoning by presenting a hypothetical: if a high official were to knowingly break laws, would you really want that to be ignored in the name of party unity? And I think that's a question worth providing a real answer to, rather than a non-sequitor, ad hominem, middle-school comment about what dunderheads those who dare question you are. Got a real response to give us?

And, at the risk of you simply responding with a comment about me being a cranky liberal fascist, I'm pretty sure the party which brought us the Starr Report shouldn't be making moral judgements on "politically-motivated prosecutions".

Let the non-sensical, irate responses roll!

7:32 PM  
Blogger Billiam said...

Would Obamamessiah also prosecute the Democrats who sided with Bush? I think not. SSDD!

7:52 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Tell ya' what, Bush bashers:

Let's investigate Obama's possible connections with terrorists.

How about that?

If he broke the law, he definitely should be punished, don't you think?

Of course, you think any such "investigation" would be politically motivated, right?

So would any "investigation" directed at Bush.

11:59 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

I'm pretty sure the party which brought us the Starr Report shouldn't be making moral judgements on "politically-motivated prosecutions".

I'm not Ken Starr, and I'll certainly make comments on politically motivated prosecutions.

12:01 AM  
Blogger John Foust said...

This is actually one of those parody blogs, right?

8:40 AM  
Anonymous john said...

Did you actually read Obama's response to the reporter's question or did you just read McIlheran's fabrication of Obama's answer?

10:58 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Did you actually read Obama's response to the reporter's question or did you just read McIlheran's fabrication of Obama's answer?

Of course I read it.

Obama holding open the possibility of presecuting Bush is like McCain holding open the possibility of prosecuting Obama for supporting terrorists.

In short, Obama was willing to lend credibility to a wacko moonbat anti-Bush theme.

11:16 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

This is actually one of those parody blogs, right?

The hate Bush crowd is terribly easy to parody.

They don't understand that their responses simply reinforce all I've been saying for years about Bush Derangement Syndrome.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous joe stalin said...

Prof McAdams, these nut jobs don't see themselves the way they are.
People are so afraid to call these nuts what they are. They are Marxists. They believe their ideology is the true religion and they will purge any other thought.
They hide behind a faux righteousness and pretend to hold a moral highground. They are neither righteous nor moral.
They looked the other way when both Clintons lied under oath.
It's about the ideology. They believe they have a "divine" right to rule and to tax and to purge those who attempt to stop them from making America a socialist utoptia.
People pee their pants in apoplecty when confronted with what I've said. And I'm right.
Liberals are turgid in the pants at the thought of an Obama Presidency and some purges.
And they are so disturbed they can't see clearly.

10:10 PM  

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