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Web Letter

I reject the basic premise of your article, namely, that Republicans would somehow take offense at Obama appointing an investigator to uncover potential crimes of the Bush administration.

First of all, why would Republicans balk at investigating crimes against the Constitution? Don't "they" believe in the rule of law? Why do so many pundits presuppose the GOP is not willing to look critically at the Bush administration's actions over the past eight years?

The GOP should loathe these past eight years because Bush sunk the party. By essentially creating a despot, the Bush administration veered so far to the right--they took all the moderate Republicans and independents and drove them all to the Democratic side--just look at elections 2006 and 2008.

Obama does not need to appease the right. He should be more concerned with uncovering serious crimes that took place these past eight years--and torture is only the tip of the iceberg. Bush put into place many secret laws and directives that will adversely impact the Government for years to come.

Finally, as a private citizen, "I" want to know what my Government has been doing in my name for the past eight years! I want to know if US citizens are being spied upon by spooks in our own government; I would like to know who authorized torture and what was gained for such savagery; I would like to know who has received the hundreds of billions of dollars of bailout money; I would like to know how the Pentagon was hit by a plane and no one sounded any type of alarm; I would like to know why Condi Rice and Bush himself said no one could have ever predicted bin Laden would fly planes into the WTC, when they were both warned of exactly that type of scenario happening; and I would like to know what type of intelligence Doug Feith's Office of Special Plans generated for the White House in the months leading up to the invasion.

This is only a small sampling of what crimes were perpetrated by Bush, and if Obama is worried about some rogue Republicans disagreeing with open, honest investigations, then our country will be a lot worse off this next four years.

Stu Wilde

Carefree, AZ

Dec 27 2008 - 7:14pm

Web Letter

Excellent article by Brecher and Smith. I had not been aware of the conference in Andover on September 20 titled "Planning for the Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals."

There seems to be an increasing amount of serious planning to meet our moral and legal duties and prepare to prosecute these war criminals--and hopefully Obama will not block, and may even support, doing the right thing for America.

In addition to this excellent article in The Nation, there have recently been a number of articles in Harper's, Op-Ed News, Alternet and others in print and online strongly suggesting a very firm need to investigate and, if warranted, to prosecute.

The following is a comment that I wrote to Dave Lindorff about his excellent article in Op-Ed News regarding the absolute need for Obama to prosecute Bush for war crimes:

"Yes, we can"--Yes, we must.

David, I am in strong agreement with you and Scott Horton, in his excellent article "Justice after Bush" in the December issue of Harper's, arguing that Bush (and the Bush regime) can and must be prosecuted for war crimes.

To do any less would leave all "ordinary Americans" and our proud country guilty of the mortal sin of being "Bush's willing executioners."

Alan MacDonald

Sanford, ME

Dec 23 2008 - 7:00pm

Web Letter

If they go after the Bush Adminstration for war crimes, can we at least clarify what they have done differently than say the Clinton Administration did in the bombing campaign in the Baltics? Also, can we ask, if water-boarding is the heinous instrument of torture everyone says it is, why do we still subject our troops to it as a training device? (Yes, it's been in use for decades to train our men and women as a "simulation" of physical torture.) I'm sorry if the hardened terrorists, errr, freedom fighters of Al Qaeda don't have the strength of character of your average American servicewoman and feel this was extreme physical coercion.

Echo Sierra

Riverside, CA

Dec 23 2008 - 10:38am

Web Letter

The revenge tradition in jurisprudence of the United States may provide a further argument in favor of pursuing Bush and his agents. The European Union rejects capital punishment and approaches to criminal justice based on revenge. Here in Germany, for example, Christian Klar, a member of the RAF who was found guilty of numerous murder charges, was recently released from prison after more than twenty years of imprisonment. He remains unrepentant. Relatives of his victims and several ambitious right-wing politicians are outraged. The State, however, has determined that justice has been served.

Needless to say, in the US, thanks to the role of revenge--retribution in a biblical "eye for an eye" sense--in the public definition of punishment, Klar would either be dead or a permanent resident of the penal system.

Punishment follows determinations of guilt. Ideally, the form of punishment should not motivate the pursuit of crime. But by sanctioning revenge through the endorsement of capital punishment, the American state attempts to pre-empt crime. This notion of revenge might therefore be helpful in arguments to pursue Bush and his agents.

Paul Abbott

Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Dec 21 2008 - 2:08pm

Web Letter

"Will War Crimes Be Outed?" No. Next question.

Oh, you want to know why that should be? Okay, that's an easy one. It is a little thing that most Americans are not fully aware of. It's a little thing called "American exceptionalism," wherein the US is not, by its own insistence, subject to play by what the rest of the world might suppose is "the rules."

You see, holding the Bush cabal responsible for its crimes, even those pertaining to US law, would set a precedent in the view of the executive. The president (now and future) being the Exception in Chief would never want his/her hands tied in this way.

And that is why this will probably all be dealt with via a "commission" whose findings will be released well after the statute of limitations as pertains to US law. As to "war crimes"? Pshaw.

So endeth the lesson. See. Wasn't that easy?

Patrick Hertel

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dec 19 2008 - 12:48pm

Web Letter

Only criminals condone crime. The only way to distinguish ourselves from Nazis, Communists, and other such beasts is to bring the Bushies to justice for crimes against humanity. It won't be easy. After all, this is the country of citizens dumb enough to elect Nixon (twice) and Bush (twice). This is a warmongering nation with very little sense of morality.


Big Timber, MT

Dec 17 2008 - 6:47pm