Apr. 21st, 2009

holzman_tweed: (Default)
Dear President Obama,

Please don't make yourself an accessory to war crimes. Whether the CIA "acted in good faith" when it went to the corrupt Bush Administration's corrupt attorneys, or knew they'd get legal cover for their illegal actions is not a question for you to decide as President, but for a prosecutor and defense attorney to argue. Whether that fine distinction makes any difference to whether they should be convicted for under the War Crimes Act is not a question for you to decide as President, but for a jury. Whether it is a mitigating factor in sentencing is a question for a judge.

I've heard it said that we need to "move forward." Sweeping these things under the rug is not moving forward, Mr. President, it is leaving the question open. Underlying the notion that we must let war criminals go unpunished in order to move forward is the idea that we, the American People, can't take it.

Sir, that idea betrays every principle you espoused as a candidate. You should be ashamed of yourself for even contemplating it.

Charles Pierce put this better than I can hope to, so I will quote him here for your consideration:

I have now lived through three major episodes in my life where the political elite have told me quite plainly that neither I nor my fellow citizens are sufficiently mature to suffer the public prosecution of major crimes committed within my government. The first was when Gerry Ford told me I wasn't strong enough to handle the sight of Richard Nixon in the dock...

"The second time was when the entire government went into spasm over the crimes of the Iran-Contra gang and I was told that I wasn't strong enough to see Ronald Reagan impeached or his men packed off to Danbury...

"Now, Barack Obama, who won election by telling the country and its people that they were great because of all they'd done for him, has told me that I am not strong enough to handle the prosecution of pale and vicious bureaucrats... who have broken the law, disgraced their oaths, and manifestly belong in a one-room suite at the Hague. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I'm sick and goddamn tired of being told that, as a citizen, I am too fragile to bear the horrible burden of watching public criminals pay for their crimes and that, as a political entity, my fellow citizens and I are delicate flowers encased in candy-glass who must be kept away from the sight of men in fine suits weeping as they are ripped from the arms of their families and sent off to penal institutions...

"Put these barbarians on trial and watch me. I'll be the guy out in front of the courtroom with a lawn chair, some sandwiches, and a cooler of fine beer. I'll be the guy who hires the brass band to serenade these criminal bastards on their way off to the big house. I'll be the one who shows up at every one of their probation hearings with a copy of the Constitution, the way crime victims show up at the parole board when their attacker comes up for release. I'll declare a national holiday -- Victory Over Torture Day -- and lead the parade right up whatever gated street it is that Cheney lives on these days. Trust me, Mr. President. I can take it."

It's not too late, Mr. President. You can still make the right decision: prosecute these criminals.


Dan Holzman_Tweed

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