From the Shit You Already Knew Department

I guess the extent of the criminality and the confirmation of Bush as puppet President is news:

The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.

The report that Mr. Cheney was behind the decision to conceal the still-unidentified program from Congress deepened the mystery surrounding it, suggesting that the Bush administration had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.

I was listening to NPR yesterday, and one analyst stated that the reason Washington is terrified to investigate this is because they know that so many laws were broken so flagrantly that any investigation will lead to the indictment of Bush and Cheney, and that, for obvious reasons, terrifies the Democrats (you can listen to that piece here). It would simply consume Washington and destroy Obama’s agenda, and they want to avoid that at all cost. Holder, on the other hand, may not give two hoots about Obama’s agenda and the delicate sensibilities of the Democrats, and go after them anyway.

I’m not sure what the point of Obama even having an agenda if they don’t go about holding people accountable for what they have done here. Otherwise, we’ll just be going through this again in the future.

I’d also like to point out to everyone that Bill Clinton was impeached over a blowjob.






108 replies
  1. 1
    bernini says:

    here’s hoping holder grows a pair. cheers.

  2. 2
    El Tiburon says:

    I don’t believe for one second AG Holder will investigate.

    At best we get some kind of watered down investigation similar to the 9/11 Commission Report.

    Or Holder starts an investigation and lets it drag out for oh, I don’t know, about 7.5 years or so.

  3. 3
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    What is comically ironic about this, is the finding in the IG report, that Cheney et al were so secretive that only a handful of people in the CIA and elsewhere knew about what was going on. Thereby, the people in the field didn’t know about it and couldn’t use the info derived, though it was likely all snipe hunting anyway.

    The report found that the secrecy surrounding the program may have limited its effectiveness. At the C.I.A., it said, so few working-level officers were allowed to know about the program that the agency often did not make full use of the leads the wiretapping generated, and intelligence leads that came from the wiretapping operation were often “vague or without context,” the report said.

    And besides, John Yoo said it was OK to do, so what’s the problem libtards.

    As far as Obama going after them, I would say, first let’s get him reelected and then start banging the cups to do something. Once it starts, nothing else will get close to getting done.

  4. 4
    PeakVT says:

    Mr. Panetta, who ended the program when he first learned of its existence from subordinates on June 23

    Hrrm. Was the program hidden from Panetta for a while?

  5. 5
    Wag says:

    Holding people accountable for their behavior over the past eight years should be a priority, whether they were on Wall Street or in the White House.

  6. 6
    Brachiator says:

    It would simply consume Washington and destroy Obama’s agenda, and they want to avoid that at all cost.

    What this really means is that it would disrupt the way that business is really done in Washington. Pursuing this might bring about the demise of the Republican Party, but it might also threaten some Democrats who should have known about what Cheney was doing, and who may have even been indirectly briefed about it.

    And some cynical Democrats want to reserve the right for themselves to do what Cheney has done.

    There is also a fear that if Republicans were to be totally routed, then they would sullenly nurse their grudges and look for an opportunity for payback, which is what the GOP did after Watergate.

    Concern about the American people or Obama’s agenda is far down on the list of what these cowards fear.

  7. 7
    mclaren says:

    Shorter version: Democrats discover that Republicans did horrible flagrantly illegal grossly unconstitutional things during the last 8 years (I’m guessing this secret CIA program involved kidnapping American citizens off the streets without charges and hurling ’em into secret prisons without trials) and then the Democrats propose to do horrible flagrantly illegal grossly unconstitutional things during the next 8 years (Obama has now stated that he’s drafting an executive order to kidnap American citizens off the streets without charges and hurl ’em into secret prisons without trials.)

    Say hello to the new boss, same as the old boss. Democracy is dead.

  8. 8
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @mclaren:

    (Obama has now stated that he’s drafting an executive order to kidnap American citizens off the streets without charges and hurl ‘em into secret prisons without trials.)

    Interesting, do you have a link?

  9. 9
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    The report that Mr. Cheney was behind the decision to conceal the still-unidentified program from Congress deepened the mystery surrounding it, suggesting that the Bush administration had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.

    Has Cheney said it’s okay to talk about it now?

  10. 10
    Leelee for Obama says:

    As far as Obama going after them, I would say, first let’s get him reelected and then start banging the cups to do something. Once it starts, nothing else will get close to getting done.

    This. I have said it several times already. Let’s get the Energy, Education and Health Care Bills done, re-elect Obama, and then bury the Bush Admin. cocksuckers at Yucca Mountain. There’s an incentive to use it for noo-kwu-lar waste if I evah heard one.

  11. 11
    maya says:

    On MTP, former Fourth Branch of Government Overlord, Cheney, told Timmeh Russert, the reason he was hanging around the water cooler over at Langley so much before the Iraq invasion: “Well, as you know, Tim, I’m a hands-on kind of guy.”

    Hey! Did Bobo get his dinner companions mixed up?

  12. 12
    Demo Woman says:

    John, If you take the time to ask your repub friends, it was never about the blow job. He lied under oath. Sanford, Ensign, McCain Newt and Sarah were never under oath when they lied. Don’t forget, what will we tell the children.

  13. 13
    Batocchio says:

    the reason Washington is terrified to investigate this is because they know that so many laws were broken so flagrantly that any investigation will lead to the indictment of Bush and Cheney,

    Exactly, and it’s been pretty glaring on torture, surveillance, lying about the war and many, many other scandals. On the one hand, I find it depressing, and on the other, it’s more motivation to keep pushing the bastards in charge to do something. Why exactly would people in power not do the same shit again (even if the specifics change) if they face no consequences? Hell, some of them flat out say they’ve done nothing wrong. (And Obama is claiming some of those same powers.) We’re seeing the same dynamics on Wall Street – yeah, AIG and Goldman Sachs really learned their lesson!

    Nice post, BTW – love the last line, although Broder’s twisted morality and complete disinterest in reality makes me hit my head sometimes. (He still thinks Clinton should have resigned over infidelity, but Bush should not have been impeached – and he also actually claimed that Sanford shouldn’t be hounded. That’s when he’s not pulling crap like parroting Karl Rove’s thoughts on a torture report Broder didn’t bother to read, or read any articles on, of course. If we lived in a just meritocracy, most of those Beltway fuckers would all be in jail – biding their time for Tartarus.)

  14. 14
    Mike in NC says:

    Nobody could have predicted Cheney would be an authoritarian thug. Nope, not a snowball’s chance.

  15. 15
    Anne Laurie says:

    I’m not sure what the point of Obama even having an agenda if they don’t go about holding people accountable for what they have done here. Otherwise, we’ll just be going through this again in the future.

    David Brooks, in his patented confusion-plus-whine voice: “You say that like it was a bad thing!”

    All Cheney learned from his low-level minionship in the Nixon administration was that the secret to successful Republicanism was to hide all your crimes better. The Permanent DC Party, with the Media Village Idiots as its courtiers, cares less about the risk of destroying America than the risk of disrupting the daily routine of the Permanent DC Party.

  16. 16
    mcc says:

    Holder, on the other hand, may not give two hoots about Obama’s agenda and the delicate sensibilities of the Democrats, and go after them anyway.

    The Obama administration seems to have cultivated a situation where Holder is a separate enough player from the rest of the administration that if he does go after people Obama’s publicly spoken against going after, Obama’s hands will basically be tied– and he’ll be able to turn to the public and say, look, my hands are tied, the DOJ must act independently of the executive where it is investigating the executive itself. Obama’s agenda and Holder’s agenda would be firewalled from one another.

    On the other hand before reading this anonymously-sourced Newsweek piece I’ve so far seen zero evidence Holder is interested in investigating such things. He’s not seemed to have demonstrated he’s interested in theatrics or big projects. This could just be wishful thinking…

  17. 17
    mvr says:

    I see the worries about blowing up your chances to do all other sorts of good by standing on principle and punishing those who decided to commit gross human rights violations. But frankly, I think that the economy is much more of a problem for the administration than an investigation, which would of its nature move carefully and slowly to the point that the shit would not hit the fan well past the time that the healthcare bill has been signed and so on. If the administration is making visible progress on the economy by then, I don’t actually see that an investigation harms them much. Obama has already said it it up to the AG, as it should be.

    The average citizen will not be outraged by an investigation. Maybe they think its a bad idea, or maybe not. But for most of those who think it is a bad idea it is not a big deal. The real threat from an investigation is that it will increase the obstructionism of Republican
    politicians. But they’re mostly being obstructionist anyway. We have no evidence that the moves to try for bipartisanship have actually led to any bipartisanship on the Republican side (that’s not to say that they weren’t a good move for preserving the president’s popularity with people who can now plainly see that the Republicans want to see him fail). So while I can in principle see that presidents have to trade off various important goods to get other important goods, I don’t actually think that the threat here is as great as people make it out to be.

  18. 18
    devopsych says:

    the reason Washington is terrified to investigate this is because they know that so many laws were broken so flagrantly that any investigation will lead to the indictment of Bush and Cheney,

    This is it. Exactly.

  19. 19
    Herb says:

    I’d also like to point out to everyone that Bill Clinton was impeached over a blowjob.

    No, no. It was the lying about the blowjob, remember?

    Wait…

    Oh hell, forget this trying to be principled stuff. Clinton was impeached because we just didn’t like him.

    Signed,

    The Republicans

  20. 20
    jwb says:

    John, If you take the time to ask your repub friends, it was never about the blow job. He lied under oath. Sanford, Ensign, McCain Newt and Sarah were never under oath when they lied. Don’t forget, what will we tell the children.

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Stopped it, you’re cracking me up.

  21. 21
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    What dems are afraid of, I think. that if they brought charges against the Bush admin., there would be wailing cries from the right that whatever they did, they did it to protect American babies from being blown up with terrorist bombs, . We know that is bullshit and no excuse for the level of lawbreaking that went on in the national security arena, but many Americans, if not most (Likely most) will be sympathetic to this defense. And once again dems would get pinned with being soft on “evil doers”.

    That’s why I think the best way to make them accountable is investigation and indictments in the economic realm, ie Pentagon no-bid contracts, Haliburton special treatment, and likely a whole slew of money crimes we don’t even know about. There would be no excuses of higher reasons for lawbreaking, and in the process we would also learn about the security crimes.

  22. 22
    Demo Woman says:

    @Herb: Repubs try not to lie under oath but of course with the liberal media they don’t have to.

  23. 23
    jwb says:

    but of course with the liberal media they don’t have to.

    ha, ha, ha, ha. No, really, I mean it. You are just too funny.

  24. 24
    JR says:

    No further investigation is needed beyond the words “withheld information from Congress on Cheney’s orders.” That alone is more than grounds for impeaching him, it’s a fucking imperative for doing it, if separation of powers is to have any force at all and if Congress is going to ever re-assert its role in governing the country.

    Nixon pulled shit like this, they were set to impeach his ass and ended up passing the War Powers Act. Are the Democrats in Congress really going to sit on their thumbs and let this sort of Executive aggrandizement slide just because they’re scared of Fox News and the WSJ op-ed page?

  25. 25
    linda says:

    wasn’t there speculation that this was cheney’s assassination program — accountable only to him. and now that he’s no longer in office….

    or am i conflating their crimes.

  26. 26
    Punchy says:

    You could never, ever indict a former President or Vice. Politically impossible. Republicans would go into a victimhood persona so intense it would make Gregory’s skin melt from 4 feet away during MTP. Rush Limbaugh, should it get to that point, would be openly calling for his listeners to incite violence. UGLY.

  27. 27
    Johnny Pez says:

    As far as I’m concerned, “let justice be done, though the heavens fall” sums it up.

    Are the Democrats in Congress really going to sit on their thumbs and let this sort of Executive aggrandizement slide just because they’re scared of Fox News and the WSJ op-ed page David Broder?

    Fixed. And the answer is “yes”.

  28. 28
    mcc says:

    No further investigation is needed beyond the words “withheld information from Congress on Cheney’s orders.” That alone is more than grounds for impeaching him,

    …to be clear it is impossible to impeach someone who is not currently holding office.

  29. 29
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Make of this what you will.

    These are not just the philosophical musings of a new attorney general. Holder, 58, may be on the verge of asserting his independence in a profound way. Four knowledgeable sources tell NEWSWEEK that he is now leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation practices, something the president has been reluctant to do. While no final decision has been made, an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, say these sources, who decline to be identified discussing a sensitive law-enforcement matter. Such a decision would roil the country, would likely plunge Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil Obama’s domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform. Holder knows all this, and he has been wrestling with the question for months. “I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president’s agenda,” he says. “But that can’t be a part of my decision.”

  30. 30
    Johnny Pez says:

    @mcc:

    Yes, the word we’re looking for here is “indict”.

  31. 31
    Leelee for Obama says:

    to be clear it is impossible to impeach someone who is not currently holding office.

    However, not impossible to indict for crimes that were impeachable? IANAL, so I’m not being snotty, I just want to know.

  32. 32
    AhabTRuler says:

    …to be clear it is impossible to impeach someone who is not currently holding office.

    Yes, but he can still be fired…

    …out of a cannon and into the sun.

  33. 33
    Michael says:

    You could never, ever indict a former President or Vice. Politically impossible. Republicans would go into a victimhood persona so intense it would make Gregory’s skin melt from 4 feet away during MTP. Rush Limbaugh, should it get to that point, would be openly calling for his listeners to incite violence. UGLY.

    Yup. And I’ll add that you could wind up with shenanigans from military units, too. I don’t trust our Dominionist Air Force, but would hope that the Navy (which hasn’t been afflicted by the influx of lazy, power-hungry Evangelicals) would be able to fight them off.

  34. 34
    Fulcanelli says:

    The fun will start if the economy improves and Obama’dib gets elected to a second term, not before. He’s smart enough to know this will change politics in this country forever. Those who say his agenda would be toast are right. This will be the political equivalent of a massive asteroid strike inside the beltway with every man trying to save himself.

    If Holder is serious about going forward information would need to be stage managed and fed to the media by the White House to stoke public support. Well timed and targeted leaks, Monday morning, Friday afternoon and Holiday weekend news dumps, all of it perfectly orchestrated. Watching cable TV news shows would be like watching the Jim Rose Circus.

    This would command the attention of governments and the media around the world non-stop, a US Presidential administration investigating a former President and Vice-President of the USA for War Crimes and criminal violations of the US Constitution.

    I remember how Watergate fucked this country up almost forty years ago and the ripples are still being felt. Bush and Cheney actually being investigated and possibly prosecuted for War Crimes goes so far beyond Obama merely taking a dump in Washington’s punch bowl and pissing off a bunch of Congesscritters that it’s not even funny, and I can’t fucking wait.

  35. 35
    Dave C says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Sweet baby Jesus, please let this be true!

  36. 36
    Brachiator says:

    @Punchy:

    You could never, ever indict a former President or Vice. Politically impossible.

    Some of this reminds me of the baseball drug scandals, where devoted fans either want the problem to just go away so they can get back to enjoying the game, or want to limit the problem to Barry Bonds and maybe one other guy.

    Similarly, some people have this infantile fantasy that the world can be set right if we just prosecute Bush and Cheney.

    But the rot goes deeper, and would ensnare other Republicans and Democrats as well if anyone were really interested it getting down.

    By the way prosecuting Bush and Cheney for war crimes and turning them over to some international tribunal is another progressive wet dream which is both politically and constitutionally impossible.

    The Constitution does not allow for the prosecution of a sitting president by anyone other than the Senate. And no one is going to permit a non-US tribunal from prosecuting a former president or vice-president.

    Fulcanelli — The fun will start if the economy improves and Obama’dib gets elected to a second term, not before.

    The country will have moved on to other problems by Obama’s second term. And the evidence trail will be so cold by then that a bloodhound won’t be able to pick up the scent again.

  37. 37
    Leelee for Obama says:

    Obama merely taking a dump in Washington’s punch bowl and pissing off a bunch of Congesscritters that it’s not even funny, and I can’t fucking wait.

    For the fucking win!!!!

  38. 38
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Michael:

    I don’t trust our Dominionist Air Force

    Fuck ’em. they never been up against a gazzillion pissed off DFH’s astride divisions of armored Unicorns .

  39. 39
    lotus says:

    Someone no longer in office CAN be impeached. It means “indicted for offenses committed while in office.”

  40. 40
    JR says:

    @mcc: You are historically incorrect. Congress impeached Secretary of War William Belknap after he resigned in disgrace (though the Senate failed to convict). http://query.nytimes.com/mem/a.....838D669FDE

    Belknap remains the only Cabinet officer ever impeached. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_W._Belknap

    Impeachment and conviction don’t just allow Congress to remove current office-holders, but also to prohibit the impeached persons from ever again holding any office of public trust or profit under the United States.

  41. 41
    rollSound says:

    they know that so many laws were broken so flagrantly that any investigation will lead to the indictment of Bush and Cheney, and that, for obvious reasons, terrifies the Democrats

    So, you’re telling us Cheney and Bush are too big to jail?

  42. 42
    wilfred says:

    This has nothing to do with being a Democrat or Republican or any other political affiliation and everything to do with preserving whatever the hell is left of common decency, let alone democracy, in this country.

    As for the press, they’ve become a kind of non-violent Praetorian Guard, tasked with effectively choosing the Emperor and guarding the Palace secrets.

    The fact that the majority of Homelanders are incensed with this kind of shit just indicates the death of any American politics, as in body politic.

  43. 43
    Tonal Crow says:

    @mcc:

    …to be clear it is impossible to impeach someone who is not currently holding office.

    That’s probably incorrect. The impeachment clauses (Art. 2 s.4, Art.1 s.2 cl.5, and Art. 1 s.3 cl.6-7) do not say any such thing. And cl.7 specifies that conviction following impeachment includes not only removal from office, but also “disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust, or Profit under the United States”. This penalty clearly could still be applied should a former officeholder be impeached and convicted. But I doubt the issue of impeaching a former officeholder has ever arisen, and probably the Federalist Papers don’t discuss it.

  44. 44
    wilfred says:

    meant to say are NOT incensed.

  45. 45
    Elizabelle says:

    I think the American people WOULD stand for indictments against Cheney, Bush, Yoo and whomever else.

    Support for Bush-Cheney has vaporized. Even among those who flirted with Palinism.

    It’s time to hold the past administration accountable.

    Yes, the economy is still in the tank. But we have a president and administration who CAN focus on more than one debacle at a time.

    We need a moral cleansing and restoration of American purpose and constitutional principles.

    Every bit as important as the economy, jobs, healthcare.

  46. 46
    JR says:

    @Tonal Crow: William W. Belknap was impeached after resigning. We did it before, and we can do it again. :)

  47. 47
    shep says:

    As I recall, Obama took an oath before God Almighty to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, which includes the treating obligations that the Cheney Administration raped with abandon. Any other “agenda” comes after that duty.

  48. 48

    And no one is going to permit a non-US tribunal from prosecuting a former president or vice-president.

    Yes, but they’d be charged or impeached for violating U. S. law, not international law.

    Since so many of these war criminals & Constitution-trashers crawled from the wreckage of the Nixon/Ford regime, it’s time a precedent for punishing criminal office-holders was set. We might not have had any of this crap if the Nix & more of his flunkies had been prosecuted.

  49. 49
    Doug H. says:

    I’m not sure what the point of Obama even having an agenda if they don’t go about holding people accountable for what they have done here. Otherwise, we’ll just be going through this again in the future.

    Obama could drag the Republicans and Villagers kicking and screaming through prosecutions of the Bush Administration…

    … and watch President Jindal/Romney/Palin/Jenna Bush/whoever pardon them all anyways and go back to doing the same shit again. Welcome to Iran-Contra 101.

  50. 50
    Cat Lady says:

    I haven’t read through all the comments, but if someone already said this, sorry. The Bush prosecutions are a mission for Obama’s second term. Everything to do with exposing the Bush/Cheney era crimes, including the off-the-shelf assasination squads hinge on getting him re-elected. And, keeping him alive. Also, too.

  51. 51
    dopeyo says:

    Has Cheney Said It’s OK to Talk About It Now?

    IIRC, it was not revealed to Pannetta for several months. And Bush told Comey that he wasn’t fully informed about some secret program, during their famous meeting.

    Is it possible that Bush didn’t know any more than Pannetta? That Cheney was running a completely rogue program? Is this the meaning of Fourth Branch – covert branch?

    (and yes, it is possible to impeach someone who has left office. Once impeached, s/ he can never hold public office, and is denied retirement / pensions, and possibly Secret Service protection.

  52. 52
    Brachiator says:

    @shep:

    As I recall, Obama took an oath before God Almighty to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, which includes the treating obligations that the Cheney Administration raped with abandon. Any other “agenda” comes after that duty.

    There is no requirement to make an oath before God in the Constitution.

    M. Bouffant — Yes, but they’d be charged or impeached for violating U. S. law, not international law.

    Here I was thinking of those people who are always talking about how Bush and Cheney violated international law and think that the answer lies in dragging them before some international tribunal.

    Since so many of these war criminals & Constitution-trashers crawled from the wreckage of the Nixon/Ford regime, it’s time a precedent for punishing criminal office-holders was set. We might not have had any of this crap if the Nix & more of his flunkies had been prosecuted.

    We might not have had any of this crap had LBJ and McNamara been prosecuted for Vietnam.

    Or life is complicated, and the idea of obsessing over the idea that punishing Bush and Cheney will solve everything is magical thinking.

    I would like to know how Cheney funded his operation and more about how this stuff happened without apparent Congressional oversight in the first place.

    And if I were big on prosecution, I would put Cheney at the top of the list, for illegally appropriating the powers of the presidency.

  53. 53
    passerby says:

    Don’t know if anyone linked to this Newsweek article yet but the notion that Holder would proceed with a criminal investigation against the Bush cabal makes me feel tingly all over. I’ve been waiting patiently for at least a couple of years for this to happen. Hope I’m/(we’re) not disappointed.

    In the distance, down the track, is that a train I see coming?

  54. 54
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    Yes, but he can still be fired…
     
    …out of a cannon and into the sun most distant black hole.

    Fixed. Firing Cheney into the sun would extinguish it forever. Better to plug some black hole in deep space though it is possible that Cheney could absorb the black hole and come back, more powerful than ever.

    It’s a risk I would be willing to take though.

    The Democratic congresscritters will not do anything, it’s either Holder or nothing though I hope little gets going until a second term. The economy, finance, jobs and healthcare are more important right now and I want to see the Obama administration focus on those first. Maybe Holder could start the ball rolling with the plan to have everything (prosecutions, etc) gel after 2012.

    Either way, I want to see investigations with trials later if warranted. Just walking away and letting the past go would be unwise for our future; those who refuse to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

  55. 55
    shep says:

    @Brachiator:

    There is no requirement to make an oath before God in the Constitution.

    I never said that there was. Nevertheless, so help him God, he did. On a Bible.

  56. 56
    steve s says:

    1 Presidents tend to get stuff done early, and then have scandals in their second terms. Reagan, Bush II, Clinton–scandals. Ford, Carter, Bush I – not so much.

    2 The investigations will send Washington into a frenzy.

    Based on 1 and 2, If i were Obama, I’d get everything done I could by the end of 2010, pull troops out of both Iraq and Afghanistan, then announce that 1 We’re going to find out every illegal thing the prior wannabe-dictator tried to do, every law broken, every prisoner tortured to death, and 2 I’m not running for reelection. Then I’d spend the next two years chillaxing, chatting up foreigners, Executive Ordering HBO to produce 48 new episodes of Firefly, and daydreaming about January 21st, 2013, the day I start getting P.A.I.D.

  57. 57
    someguy says:

    This has nothing to do with being a Democrat or Republican or any other political affiliation and everything to do with preserving whatever the hell is left of common decency, let alone democracy, in this country.

    Decency?

    Man, is it just me, or did I hear a few chirps out of the concern troll detector?

    I’d be fine with summary justice, though it’d be nice to dress it up in trials and process – y’know, like the “rights” we guarantee to the Gitmo detainees.

  58. 58
    gizmo says:

    The tipping point is going to come when Obama and the dimwits who advise him realize that new information about the horrific acts committed during the Bush administration are going to continue to leak out and will be an ongoing source of embarrassment for our nation.

    You’d think that would be obvious already, but Washington is at least 5 years behind the rest of the country. One of the scourges of hanging around a temple of enlightenment like Balloon Juice is that you know this stuff, and you have to endure the misery of waiting for our elected representatives to get it.

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @passerby:

    Oh, yes, and this part made me do a happy dance in my chair:

    Holder was looking for someone with “gravitas and grit,” according to one of these sources, all of whom declined to be named. At one point, an aide joked that Holder might need to clone Patrick Fitzgerald, the hard-charging, independent-minded U.S. attorney who had prosecuted Scooter Libby in the Plamegate affair. (emphasis mine)

    Fitzgerald didn’t have time during the Libby affair to do what he does best, which is to slowly work his way up the chain of corruption to get to the big guys. After all, what was Libby’s defense? That he was the scapegoat and not the real culprit. If Obama gave Fitzgerald 8 years to do his work, we’d see Bush in the courtroom. It wouldn’t be quick, but it would be airtight.

    That’s the thing that worries me about some of the calls to prosecute NOW NOW NOW!! This is the kind of case that could quite easily be fucked up (especially with all of the Bush-era burrowers in the AG’s office) and Yoo, Bush and/or Cheney could be acquitted and never be held responsible at all. Better a slow, methodical Fitzgerald-style investigation that culminates in prosecutions 6 or 8 years from now than holding show trials next week.

    Trust me, I live in Los Angeles. We know from fucked-up prosecutions against people with high-powered lawyers.

  60. 60
    Rommie says:

    I’m all for Frog Marching and OJ Trial V2 as well, but, in just my opinion, once the ball gets rolling on this, the business will get out of control, and there’s going to be blood on hands.

    I just hope this starts *after* Health Care Reform, because nothing’s getting done once it’s underway for a good long while.

  61. 61
    gizmo says:

    The key to an investigation/prosecution is keeping it away from Congress.

  62. 62
    wilfred says:

    Man, is it just me, or did I hear a few chirps out of the concern troll detector?

    Well, it’s probably not just you, asshole, but fyi it was a general reference to what Joseph Welch said to McCarthy a long time ago.

    It was a question of decency, always has been. The fact that we fgorgot what that means gave us what we got in Bush, Cheney and, gasp!, Obama et al. if they don’t use the pwoer they have to right the injustices done by their predecessors.

  63. 63
    publius says:

    Do Vice Presidents even have authority for shit like this? I don’t really see where they fit on the chain of command. If there was an order, it seems like we need to assume it came from Bush. Otherwise, it’d be pretty easy to outsource all icky things to the VP and then deny knowledge.

  64. 64

    Here’s what I think:

    Someone needs to take one for the team. That someone will be Cheney. He’s probably insulated from such prosecutions that a mere CIA Director or program chief would suffer. Now, if it ever gets to that point, they’ll just point a finger at poor ol’ Dick.

    Cheney did not dream any of this up and impose it on the good citizens toiling at Langley. I suspect it was more like him being presented with something and him smacking his lips and saying, “Wow! That’s a mighty fine idea!”

    The CIA has been a scummy mafia-like government org that have manufactured their own get-out-of-jail-free cards since its inception. They will blackmail when necessary. They will murder if they have to. I’m sure that when it comes to the greater good of the Company that they will be quite willing to let Cheney take the fall. I wouldn’t doubt that they made sure that George Senior’s idiot son was out of the loop to make him even less likely to be prosecuted.

  65. 65
    Phoebe says:

    What Bob in Pacifica said.

  66. 66
    Steeplejack says:

    @Brachiator:

    The country will have moved on to other problems by Obama’s second term. And the evidence trail will be so cold by then that a bloodhound won’t be able to pick up the scent again.

    Beg to differ. Look at how stuff kept coming out about, say, the J.F.K. assassination for years. Not all of it true, admittedly, but still . . .

    Or look at revelations about Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union coming out long after the fact.

    The thing about bureaucrats is that they always leave a paper trail, even if only in the mistaken belief that it will cover their asses.

  67. 67

    @Bob In Pacifica:
    Cheney did not dream any of this up and impose it on the good citizens toiling at Langley.

    That’s a nice assertion, but it demands some evidence. Especially when the public record is becoming increasingly clear that Cheney was the prime mover behind all, or almost all, of the horrible shit that went on.

  68. 68
    SarahLoving says:

    obama desperately wants to pass as much shit as possible – especially healthcare – before the inevitable shit hits the fan. clearly this is the big one since no one can reach cheney for comment.

    so he’s going to foot drag and send out dutch boys to stick their fingers in the dam but that sucker’s coming apart at some point. sooner rather than later, from the look of things.

  69. 69
    ericvsthem says:

    It’s not as if investigations would produce indictments this year. Plenty of time to get health care through.

  70. 70
    kay says:

    I read the Newsweek article really carefully, because I think liberals have vilified Holder unfairly. They’ve assigned motives to nearly every move he’s made.
    He can’t appear political. He just can’t. He can’t come out with guns blazing, because that department will never recover if he is in any way perceived as politically motivated, and that will be the question. That’s reality.
    He has an enormously difficult line to walk here. That some liberals wanted the President to announce that the AG was launching an investigation is just incredible to me. It’s just wrong on so many levels, politically, ethically…. I don’t know what they’re thinking.
    The investigation won’t have an ounce of credibility if Obama is in any way perceived to be directing his AG. That can’t happen. It’s not supposed to happen.
    I would ask how many liberals would buy it if Bush had announced he favored Gonzales launching an investigation into Pelosi. Imagine that. What would our reaction be?
    The saddest part, to me, is where Holder (apparently) believed that there would be some kind of public outcry over the release of the torture memos.
    There wasn’t.
    I wish Eric Holder nothing but the best. The conundrum he’s faced with is really, really hard. He’ll get no public support, the media are going to savage him, and you know the goddamn cowardly Congressional Democrats will run from any decision he makes.

  71. 71
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @kay:

    Well stated Kay/

  72. 72
    someguy says:

    @ Wilfred,

    Your concern trolling about how you’re against the loss of decency in our fine nation would probably be more convincing if you didn’t address me as “asshole.”

    I’m just sayin’…

  73. 73

    I’m torn on this. I think prosecutions are absolutely essential, but there’s a hell of a lot of other things that are absolutely essential, too. That’s the hand we’re looking at: it’s Crisis on Infinite Crises. Of course, keep in mind that I’m one of those folks with pre-existing conditions, so health care reform is more important to me than some. The folks in Bangladesh probably think that global warming is pretty important, though it’s actually make things better here in Minnesota.

    Here are the problems:

    1) Yes, starting prosecutions would derail everything else in Washington. If we go down this road, accept that nothing else of any substance will pass Congress. Republicans in the Senate will use every procedural roadblock they can come up with. The Blue Dogs aren’t going to do much to stop them.

    2) As said above, there is a depressingly large part of the population that thinks that there wasn’t anything wrong with torturing detainees or installing wiretaps without a warrant. There is an even larger part of the population, quite possibly a majority, that may agree that it was wrong, but that it was done for the right reasons, and aren’t going to blame anyone for doing it. The fear factor is easy for those of us who react to 9/11 with logic rather than emotion to understate.

    2) There is an enormous difference between 75% of the public hating George Bush’s presidency, and 75% of the public supporting prosecutions. There seem to be a lot of folks here who are incapable of understanding the concept of gradation. There is no surer way of alienating a lot of moderate voters who aren’t committed Democrats than having a Democratic administration start hauling its Republican predecessors into court. There is a further group that thinks that torture is wrong, that the motives don’t excuse it, but that don’t want to start this kind of political warfare. That’s going to hurt at the ballot box. It will quite possibly completely neuter the charge that the Republicans are batshit crazy, because those independents are going to think that about both parties. The economy better get on a roll, or Obama will actually be in jeopardy of losing in 2012. Think about that.

    4) There is, in my mind, a worse possibility than not prosecuting: prosecuting, and getting acquittals, or even hung juries. Take all those groups I mentioned above. Now think about what the chances are that you’re going to be able to assemble twelve citizens who will *all* vote to convict. If you can’t do that, there’s no point in prosecuting. I’m skeptical that prosecutors can do that.

    5) The set that are batshit insane will go . . . batshit insane. You haven’t seen anything out of Beck, or Limbaugh, or the freepers like you will if this happens. You will get the fringe violence we are all afraid of. It will be beyond ugly.

    Add it all up, and I’m deeply ambivalent. The costs of not prosecuting are immense, but so are the costs of doing so. I honestly can’t tell which is greater.

  74. 74
    kay says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I hope he’s not as naive as that article makes him sound. He has a really hard job ahead.
    Law and order prosecutors, are, in my experience, naive in that exact way. His nickname was “Hold ‘Em Holder” as a judge, for his harsh sentences. He’s a law and order prosecutor. They always think people in general will be as outraged at illegality or criminality as they are, and a lot of times people are just ambivalent, not outraged, and they want ugly things to just go away.

    Holder is going to be the messenger in “kill the messenger”. I don’t envy him that.

  75. 75

    […] John Cole on Cheney and the violation of civil liberties: I was listening to NPR yesterday, and one analyst stated that the reason Washington is terrified to … […]

  76. 76
    Steeplejack says:

    @kay:

    I wish Eric Holder nothing but the best. The conundrum he’s faced with is really, really hard. He’ll get no public support, the media are going to savage him, and you know the goddamn cowardly Congressional Democrats will run from any decision he makes.

    Afraid that you may be right. The only thing I can see that would make a big difference is some smoking-gun revelation way more heinous that what has come out already.

  77. 77
    kay says:

    @JMN Is Now asiangrrlMN’s Official Stalker:

    I’m not sure Holder has a choice. If whatever he read that sickened him is illegal, and the article alludes to the fact that they exceeded the bounds even of the torture memos, he has an independent duty to investigate that.

    If they did, in fact, exceed the limits of the torture memos, then that offers him some cover, and also blows the whole “just following orders we were told were legal” idea away.

  78. 78
    mclaren says:

    Yet another anonymous kook (this one named General Winfield Stuck) seems to have been living in a bathysphere for the last month. When I pointed out that

    Obama has now stated that he’s drafting an executive order to kidnap American citizens off the streets without charges and hurl ‘em into secret prisons without trials

    this kook with a fake name proclaimed “interesting, do you have a link?”

    First, it’s not interesting. It’s appalling and disgusting, but not interesting. To be interesting it would have be new, and it’s been all over the newspapers and on TV for weeks and weeks. What hyperbaric chamber have you been living in that you haven’t heard about Obama’s preventive detention executive order?

    Here are ten (10) links to Obama’s “preventive detention” proposal — AKA kidnapping American citizens off the streets without charges and hurling ’em into secret prisons without a trial:

    Link #1: Obama said said to consider preventive detention plan.

    Link #2: Obama’s “preventive detention” policy compared to “Minority Report”

    Link #3: Human Rights Attorney Vince Warren: Obama’s “Preventive Detention” Plan Goes Beyond Bush Admin Policies

    Link #4: Obama Considering Unconstitutional Imposition Of Preventive Detention Policy

    Link #5: Obama Endorses Indefinite Detention Without Trial for Some

    Link #6: White House Is Drafting Executive Order to Allow Indefinite Detention; Move Would Bypass Congress

    Link #7: Uh, which civil liberties groups want a `prolonged detention’ executive order?

    Link #8: Obama preparing executive order to allow preventive detention

    Link #9: Obama proposes indefinite detention even after suspects acquitted

    Link #10: Profile: Jose Padilla

    Since the guy with the fake name, Xenu-Lover, or Propellor-Beanie-Hat, or General Winfield Stuck, or whatever fake name he’s calling himself this week, will immediately launch into a denial of the facts I’ve just documented, let’s head off the bullshit and the lies before they begin.

    Here’s a review of the lies the kook with a fake name (and others) will tell. I’ve heard ’em before, they’re predictable, so we can cut to the chase and get this over with quick:

    LIE #1: “Obama has only proposed an executive order, he isn’t drafting it!”
    That’s an ignorant lie. You’re uninformed about the facts. See
    links numbers 6 and 8 above. Obama is drafting the executive order now, as we speak. It’s not subject to congressional review, there is no public input, no one has any say in the matter, because (duh!) it’s an executive order.

    LIE #2: “Obama’s preventive detention proposal applies only to foreign nationals in battlefields overseas!”
    That’s an illiterate lie. You need to learn how to read the English language. If you could read, you would have read the NY Times story in link number 1 above, in which two of the participants in Obama’s planning meeting for the preventive detention policy state clearly and unequivocally:
    “The other participant [at the preventive detention planning meeting] said Mr. Obama did not seem to be thinking about preventive detention for terrorism suspects now held at Guantanamo Bay, but for those captured in the future, in settings other than a legitimate battlefield like Afghanistan.”

    LIE #3: “Obama’s proposal may be distasteful, but it’s not nearly as bad as the unconstitutional and criminal policies of the previous administration.”
    That’s a deluded lie. See link number 3, “Obama preventive detention plan goes beyond Bush policies” by a human rights attorney. If you disagree, please provide evidence of your law degrees and tell us in which state you passed the bar and have a license to practice law, so we know you’re qualified to talk about the law, and you’re not just some jerkoff spouting gibberish based on ignorance and halfwit self-delusion.

    LIE #4: “Obama’s proposal doesn’t apply to American citizens on American soil!”
    That’s an incompetent lie. You need to improve your lying skills because a lie this stupid and this ignorant doesn’t even pass the straight-face test. Jose Padilla, one of the people swept up in the unconstitutional kidnappings of the previous administration and hurled into a secret prison without charges and without trial, was an American citizen and he was arrested in Chicago on American soil.
    Since constitutional lawyers and the ACLU have all decried Obama’s proposal as ‘worse than the Bush policies,” and since the Bush policies already kidnapped an American citizen on American soil and threw him into a secret prison without charges and without a trial, the logical conclusion is obvious. If Obama’s plan is worse, then obviously Obama’s plan will kidnap a lot of American citizens on American soil — a point confirmed by the reports of participants in Obama’s meeting planning this unconstitutional policy. See link number one above. And please learn to read before you spout this nonsense.

    Lie #5: “Obama’s executive order may be illegal and unconstituional, but it only applies to the worst of the worst, the most evil terrorists on the planet, so who cares?”

    That’s an evil lie. The only word we can apply to this kind of lie is “evil,” also “soulless,” “degraded,” “debased” and “subhuman.” Because the evidence shows that most of the prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay and at Bagram airbase are innocent. They’re not terrorists, they’re innocent bystanders, goat herders who got sold by corrupt Afghan warlords to the U.S. in a scam to make a quick buck. The prisoners in Gitmo are innocent cab drivers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Want proof? See links number 11, 12 and 13 below.

    Link #11: Top Bush officials knew most at Guantanamo were innocent

    Link #12: Guest Post by Lawrence Wilkerson: Some Truths About Guantanamo Bay
    “The second dimension that is largely unreported is that several in the U.S. leadership became aware of this lack of proper vetting very early on and, thus, of the reality that many of the detainees were innocent of any substantial wrongdoing, had little intelligence value, and should be immediately released.”

    Link #13: America’s prison for terrorists often held the wrong men

    Since the only other response to this statements of documented facts by kooks like General Winfield Stuck, or Xenu-Lover, or whatever he calls himself this week, boils down to hysterical accusations of treason against me because I had the infernal gall to cite public statements by White House officials and newspaper articles, we now return you to the regularly scheduled delusional gibberings of crackpot commenters like the guy with the fake name.

  79. 79
    mclaren says:

    Yet another anonymous kook (this one named General Winfield Stuck) seems to have been living in a bathysphere for the last month. When I pointed out that

    Obama has now stated that he’s drafting an executive order to kidnap American citizens off the streets without charges and hurl ‘em into secret prisons without trials

    this kook with a fake name proclaimed “interesting, do you have a link?”

    First, it’s not interesting. It’s appalling and disgusting, but not interesting. To be interesting it would have be new, and it’s been all over the newspapers and on TV for weeks and weeks. What hyperbaric chamber have you been living in that you haven’t heard about Obama’s preventive detention executive order?

    Here are ten (10) links to Obama’s “preventive detention” proposal — AKA kidnapping American citizens off the streets without charges and hurling ’em into secret prisons without a trial:

    Link #1: Obama said said to consider preventive detention plan.

    Link #2: Obama’s “preventive detention” policy compared to “Minority Report”

    Link #3: Human Rights Attorney Vince Warren: Obama’s “Preventive Detention” Plan Goes Beyond Bush Admin Policies

    Link #4: Obama Considering Unconstitutional Imposition Of Preventive Detention Policy

    Link #5: Obama Endorses Indefinite Detention Without Trial for Some

    Link #6: White House Is Drafting Executive Order to Allow Indefinite Detention; Move Would Bypass Congress

    Link #7: Uh, which civil liberties groups want a `prolonged detention’ executive order?

    Link #8: Obama preparing executive order to allow preventive detention

    Link #9: Obama proposes indefinite detention even after suspects acquitted

    Link #10: Profile: Jose Padilla

    Since the guy with the fake name, Xenu-Lover, or Propellor-Beanie-Hat, or General Winfield Stuck, or whatever fake name he’s calling himself this week, will immediately launch into a denial of the facts I’ve just documented, let’s head off the misinformation and the spin and the distortions and the outright lies before they begin.

    Here’s a review of the lies the kook with a fake name (and others) will tell. I’ve heard ’em before, they’re predictable, so we can cut to the chase and get this over with quick:

    LIE #1: “Obama has only proposed an executive order, he isn’t drafting it!”
    That’s an ignorant lie. You’re uninformed about the facts. See
    links numbers 6 and 8 above. Obama is drafting the executive order now, as we speak. It’s not subject to congressional review, there is no public input, no one has any say in the matter, because (duh!) it’s an executive order.

    LIE #2: “Obama’s preventive detention proposal applies only to foreign nationals in battlefields overseas!”
    That’s an illiterate lie. You need to learn how to read the English language. If you could read, you would have read the NY Times story in link number 1 above, in which two of the participants in Obama’s planning meeting for the preventive detention policy state clearly and unequivocally:
    “The other participant [at the preventive detention planning meeting] said Mr. Obama did not seem to be thinking about preventive detention for terrorism suspects now held at Guantanamo Bay, but for those captured in the future, in settings other than a legitimate battlefield like Afghanistan.”

    LIE #3: “Obama’s proposal may be distasteful, but it’s not nearly as bad as the unconstitutional and criminal policies of the previous administration.”
    That’s a deluded lie. See link number 3, “Obama preventive detention plan goes beyond Bush policies” by a human rights attorney. If you disagree, please provide evidence of your law degrees and tell us in which state you passed the bar and have a license to practice law, so we know you’re qualified to talk about the law, and you’re not just some jerkoff spouting gibberish based on ignorance and halfwit self-delusion.

    LIE #4: “Obama’s proposal doesn’t apply to American citizens on American soil!”
    That’s an incompetent lie. You need to improve your lying skills because a lie this stupid and this ignorant doesn’t even pass the straight-face test. Jose Padilla, one of the people swept up in the unconstitutional kidnappings of the previous administration and hurled into a secret prison without charges and without trial, was an American citizen and he was arrested in Chicago on American soil.
    Since constitutional lawyers and the ACLU have all decried Obama’s proposal as ‘worse than the Bush policies,” and since the Bush policies already kidnapped an American citizen on American soil and threw him into a secret prison without charges and without a trial, the logical conclusion is obvious. If Obama’s plan is worse, then obviously Obama’s plan will kidnap a lot of American citizens on American soil — a point confirmed by the reports of participants in Obama’s meeting planning this unconstitutional policy. See link number one above. And please learn to read before you spout this nonsense.

    Lie #5: “Obama’s executive order may be illegal and unconstituional, but it only applies to the worst of the worst, the most evil terrorists on the planet, so who cares?”

    That’s an evil lie. The only word we can apply to this kind of lie is “evil,” also “soulless,” “degraded,” “debased” and “subhuman.” Because the evidence shows that most of the prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay and at Bagram airbase are innocent. They’re not terrorists, they’re innocent bystanders, goat herders who got sold by corrupt Afghan warlords to the U.S. in a scam to make a quick buck. The prisoners in Gitmo are innocent cab drivers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Want proof? See links number 11, 12 and 13 below.

    Link #11: Top Bush officials knew most at Guantanamo were innocent

    Link #12: Guest Post by Lawrence Wilkerson: Some Truths About Guantanamo Bay
    “The second dimension that is largely unreported is that several in the U.S. leadership became aware of this lack of proper vetting very early on and, thus, of the reality that many of the detainees were innocent of any substantial wrongdoing, had little intelligence value, and should be immediately released.”

    Link #13: America’s prison for terrorists often held the wrong men

    Since the only other response to this statements of documented facts by kooks like General Winfield Stuck, or Xenu-Lover, or whatever he calls himself this week, boils down to hysterical accusations of treason against me because I had the infernal gall to cite public statements by White House officials and newspaper articles, we now return you to the regularly scheduled delusional gibberings of crackpot commenters like the guy with the fake name.

  80. 80
    kay says:

    @Steeplejack:

    When they had the in-house discussions over whether the torture memos should be released Gates told the press in his flat midwestern accent that he said they should reveal them “because it’s all going to come out eventually”. He sounded resigned.

    I agree with that. Gates has been around a long time. I think it all probably comes out, and I’m not sure any one person can stop it, once the big, unwieldy, agonizingly slow legal machine starts chugging away.

  81. 81
    Tracy says:

    @Fulcanelli:

    I, for one, would dearly love to see if Dick Cheney can swallow swords.

  82. 82
    Steeplejack says:

    @kay:

    I, too, think it will all come out eventually. The question is whether the timing is congruent with prosecution and accountability or (if much later) just historical accuracy.

  83. 83
    Tsulagi says:

    for obvious reasons, terrifies the Democrats (you can listen to that piece here). It would simply consume Washington and destroy Obama’s agenda, and they want to avoid that at all cost.

    Right, so you must pick your battles (but never this one) and keep your powder so dry Death Valley seems like Waterworld in comparison. That is the most important thing. Otherwise, the Pubs would get mad and call them names.

    You really have to give the Pubs credit, they have the Dems well trained. Really well.

    How would this “consume Washington and destroy Obama’s agenda?” Holder could appoint a special prosecutor. Fitzgerald would be my choice. The special prosecutor could do his/her job while the rest of Washington does theirs. Multitasking. Eight years of Starr branching out from Whitewater down every road like Travelgate, who killed Vince Foster, etc., then ultimately to a blow job and a blue dress IIRC was around $70M. About the cost of one AIG spa retreat.

    But then if a special prosecutor were named the Pubs would get mad and start name calling. As if that isn’t an every day occurrence regardless.

    Hope the Dems at least got a nice certificate from obedience school to hang over their dry powder.

  84. 84
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @kay:

    he has an independent duty to investigate that.

    As I was saying earlier, I bet they are already investigating quietly the economic crimes of Cheney and Addington. I watched every one of Dorgan’s unofficial Senate Democratic Policy Committee, oversight meetings when dems were in the minority before 2006, and there is a deep pile of pooh within the Army Corp of Engineers contracting for reconstruction contracts in Iraq, and elsewhere. He is trying now to form a Truman like Commission to investigate war profiteering, but like everything else it is being put off for all the other piles of shit left by the Bushies.

  85. 85
    kay says:

    @Steeplejack:

    Absolutely. I agree. I may not be the best advocate for accountability.

    I have a little Peggy Noonan in me, and I’m often tempted to keep walking.

    I think of the repercussions of the former President and the Vice President investigated for war crimes and I get wobbly. I think the country will implode.

    The only saving grace is we have this process we claim to revere and trust , and if everyone just sticks to the orderly process….like that’s going to happen.

    It’ll be a huge, chaotic political show.

  86. 86
    kay says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I’ve written this here before, but I always felt Cheney was the big threat to Our Democracy, and Addington is part and parcel of Cheney. I’d love very much to hit them where they live, on the profiteering end.

    I could never really get enough of a read on Bush to feel threatened by him. I consider Bush and just bounce off. 8 years and I don’t know one real thing about him.

  87. 87
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gizmo:

    The key to an investigation/prosecution is keeping it away from Congress.

    This. If Congress dips so much as a toe in this pool, it all gets blown to shit. Doesn’t anyone else remember that Ollie North’s conviction was thrown out because he testified to Congress before his criminal trial, and the courts decided that his Congressional testimony had tainted the jury pool for the actual trial?

    If Congress gets involved in this, wave bye-bye to any hope of successful prosecution.

  88. 88
    JenJen says:

    First time I’ve logged onto the computer today, and this is the very first thing I saw.

    I’m really not sure I want to look at anything else, honestly. I feel pretty sick to my stomach, and am really looking forward to all the apologies we’ll surely hear in a few hours on the Sunday talk shows.

    Like that’s going to happen.

  89. 89
    Fulcanelli says:

    If it ever gets to that point W. will not take the fall, Cheney will and maybe Rumsfeld. W. will get some shit on his shoes but Cheney will be the ultimate villain of the piece, Rumsfeld will look like his Igor co-conspiritor and it will play out like a B-grade made for TV movie.

    There’s no effin’ way that an ex-president son (named Bush) of an ex-president/ex-head of the CIA (named Bush) is going down in history as a criminal with war crimes on his hands. Not as long as George H. W. and Barbara Bush are alive. Na ga happen. And don’t think Cheney and Rumsfeld don’t know this.

    But the Bush the elder is not stupid, he knows the republicans fucked up royally with their clumsy torture bullshit, fundie ass kissing and Iraq, to name just a few of their greatest hits. This isn’t his style. And, this isn’t the first mess of W’s he’s had to clean up.

    But the country and a lot of the World (read: Carlysle group clients) is pissed off and there’s blood in the water. I’d wager that Bush the Elder also knows that if his beloved Republican party is to survive it needs a high colonic. Enter the bleating scapegoats Cheney and Rummy.

    Bush the Elder knows Obama will have to do something if the evidence piles up and I would expect he’d get a head’s up via back channels and an offer of a gentleman’s agreement wherein W. has to wear a cum stained blue dress for a while but no formal charges being filed in exchange for him signing off on Obama tarring and feathering Cheney and Rummy.

    Obama will need political cover from the old guard on both sides of the aisle if the investigations go forward and cover from the Elder Bush and his powerful contacts could help a great deal. If the Elder Bush sees his son and his name walking the plank and he starts beating the war drums… With all his clout and contacts we’ll have another civil war.

    This approach accomplishes many things:

    We get our War Criminals. The World gets it’s War Criminals.

    The CIA will get to pile on Cheney during the investigation and have their revenge for him being a Dick in the runup to Iraq, meddling in their business and making them look bad.

    The Republicans can strut and say they purged a couple of bad apples, and “We’re Baaaaack”.

    The Bush family name suffers less damage, leaving the door open for Jeb to take a stab at the Presidency in the future.

    I haven’t seen much regarding GWH Bush’s opinion on all this war crimes/torture business, but W. is still his son and the old man carries a LOT of clout in the GOP. He would probably be welcome to the idea of keeping his name clean and getting the country settled down and his party back in business.

    Just a theory.

  90. 90

    But then if a special prosecutor were named the Pubs would get mad and start name calling. As if that isn’t an every day occurrence regardless.

    If you think that the big problem is what the Republicans think (which is a problem, given the Senate, but not the big one), rather than what the independents think, you’re terminally clueless. As I said, their are some people around here who really don’t get the concept of gradation.

  91. 91

    @John Cole

    It would simply consume Washington and destroy Obama’s agenda, and they want to avoid that at all cost.

    That’s right, the agenda is the most important thing in the world. Who gives a shit how many people we torture or kill? We need a climate change bill and universal health care, those are far more important than trivial shit like human rights, and if you cause the administration to expend any effort on human rights or weaken the agenda you’re killing people without health insurance and polar bears.

  92. 92
    wilfred says:

    Who gives a shit how many people we torture or kill?

    See LBJ; The Great Society for Vietnam. We’ve been here already.

  93. 93
    Thistle says:

    Bear with me…Since you can’t anonymously post to The Unreligious Right Blog, would like to respond to the bloggers rant from a post called ‘BDS & The CIA’ posted by UNRR. This post references John Cole’s post “The Shit You Already Knew Department” on the Balloon Juice blog, so there is a nexus.

    To UNRR: Delude yourself as much as you want. Your premise doesn’t hold water when held up to the law and the light of day. Bush and Cheney are scofflaws and someday you and the rest of the Bush/Cheney apologist’s will have to face that reality. Rewriting law, or writing new laws to cover criminal acts isn’t as you put it “clearly illegal”. Covering your ass as you clearly break the law does not excuse the whining argument “They had a legal argument for everything they did” Holding Bush accountable doesn’t make one a ‘Bush hater’ it makes one a rule-of-law lover.

  94. 94
    bob h says:

    Probably worth noting that the Republicans are in a highly weakened state of ideological confusion and public contempt. Perhaps they are not in condition to make much of a fuss. Strike now.

  95. 95
    Tsulagi says:

    @JMN Is Now asiangrrlMN’s Official Stalker:

    If you think that the big problem is what the Republicans think (which is a problem, given the Senate, but not the big one), rather than what the independents think, you’re terminally clueless. As I said, their are some people around here who really don’t get the concept of gradation.

    Apparently you’re ready for last rites if you think independents are all only just fractionally saner than a Cheney or Bachmann and would have R-cards if they got around to registering for a political party. That has been another excuse by Democrats for their inaction and refusal to fight when it counts, or outright capitulations before shots are even fired.

    Yeah, let’s strive for “gradation.” Democratic prosecutor to a Republican strongly suspected of murder: “There appears to be evidence of your culpability and potentially much more could be uncovered with investigation, but looking forward with our plate full, we’re considering charging you with malicious jay walking. Is that okay?”

    Funny, RedState type Republicans think independents en masse would vote for their candidates if they were simply more “conservative” in their retarded mold. While Democrats fear independents would if they attempt to take more than a baby step or two away from the worst or looniest Republican positions. Both are dead clueless. As I said, Republicans have the Democrats well trained. A fact not lost on all independents.

  96. 96
    hidflect says:

    @El Tiburon:
    Exactly – Like Sanford was gonna “move for impeachment”.. Spent a month collecting signatures and then just reneged and melted back into the framework like the cockroach he is.

    David Swanson: Conyers Explains Why He Didn’t Push Impeachment

  97. 97
    hidflect says:

    @El Tiburon:
    Exactly – Like Conyers was gonna “move for impeachment”.. Spent months collecting signatures and then just reneged and melted back into the framework like the cockroach he is.

    David Swanson: Conyers Explains Why He Didn’t Push Impeachment

  98. 98
    smintheus says:

    The NPR link is to a different story.

  99. 99
    hidflect says:

    Holder’s track record (a la the Marc Rich pardon) speaks pretty clearly. He’s a cynical, morally bankrupt, inside-track manipulator who is playing the public for a fool. He’s running defensive cover for criticism of Obama on the issue. Quell the mob. Nothing will come of this due to some “unfortunate but inevitable” circumstances. Representative Conyers pulled the same shtick with his petitions for the impeachment-plan-that-never-was and they’re trying to run the same scam all over again.

  100. 100
    escort says:

    if only we can get cheneys liar daughter indicted as well. she certainly knew about the program. if she was at the state department and knew about illegal activities and did not report them, that is a felony. punishable by jail time.

    the obama administration is just hemming and hawing while they wait for Spain to get its shit together and issue warrants. a million dollar bounty in spain will get their attention. i wonder how long yoo and gonzo will be seen in public with a million dollar bounty on their heads. not long at all.

  101. 101

    […] John Cole at Balloon-Juice is indignant no one’s been indicted yet. I’m not sure what the point of Obama even having an agenda if they don’t go about holding people accountable for what they have done here. Otherwise, we’ll just be going through this again in the future. […]

  102. 102
    scarshapedstar says:

    any investigation will lead to the indictment of Bush and Cheney, and that, for obvious reasons, terrifies the Democrats

    I dunno. Are the reasons that obvious? I’m sure there will be lots of whining about witch hunts and the criminalization of politics, but I suspect that the majority of the country (at least the majority from 2000 and 2008) wouldn’t mind seeing those fuckers hang.

    Oh, and it’s also a legal and moral responsibility…

  103. 103
    Wakefield Tolbert says:

    Bill Clinton was impeached over lying, actually. Perjury being the legal term.

    Having said that, the closet analogy here to THAT sordid detail regarding Team Bush would be Bush getting impeached about taking a more active role in doing what the Democrats think is going overboard: actually pursuing the war on terror and stanching Islamism.

    Pelosi is most probably the liar here. She knew damned well what the CIA was up to.

    Panetta’s take on this is to do a little CYA of his own and do what DEMOCRATS think is the noble fall-on-the-sword act, which for them means politics.

    The pursing of the Bush admin. could still be done, but it would uncover the Dems own skeletons in all this, and in doing so, would be a real head-scratcher when it comes to the notion that no one on their side had ANY idea about things like enhanced interrorgation but decided NOW would be the PERFECT time to roll all this out.

    So the South American, junta-like “bloodpurge” that often accompanies the changing of the guard in some nations might have to wait in America. It would be a nifty thing to do. As in South America, you diss the opposition and make them “un” people and at the same time cause distraction.
    Something the Dems are masters of in any case.

    But that might be expecting too much at the moment.

    The answer to this riddle is that the Dems have too much on the plate to allow Nancy, repugnant as she is, to go down in flames over her absurd assertion at being clueless as to the details of enhanced interrogation. Which, btw, was shown to produce results. Life is grey like that sometimes. Better to firebomb Tokyo than Ohio, Gen. Lemay told us, and likewise in life some unpleasantries must be faced to get things done. Better to gurgle some terror lords once in a while than witness more roasted Americans and crushed buildings.

    In fact I think it was one of your folks, the mighty leftie web warrior Steve Kangas, who mentioned that too. Granted, Kangas take on such moral sacrifice, in typical leftie fashion that hails from Stalin Lite, is more akin to asking you if you’ll really kill your grandma with taxes in order to pave I-95.

  104. 104
    Neo says:

    Now we find out that this was that program that Bush never authorized to hunt down individual members of al Qaeda.

    Wasn’t there an endless drone of Democrats asking why we hadn’t gotten UBL yet ?

    I guess they were for killing or capturing members of al Qaeda before it became politically expedient to be against it.

  105. 105

    Wakefield Tolbert: So the South American, junta-like “bloodpurge” that often accompanies the changing of the guard in some nations might have to wait in America. It would be a nifty thing to do. As in South America, you diss the opposition and make them “un” people and at the same time cause distraction.

    Making over-the-top analogies with military dictatorships of South America is particularly rich here, as you’re comparing bringing those responsible for the torture and disappearances of the last decade to justice with… actual torture and disappearances. Torturer and tortured, morally equivalent.

    How exactly do you manage to look into the yawning moral void in your heart without giving in to existential terror?

    The answer to this riddle is that the Dems have too much on the plate to allow Nancy, repugnant as she is, to go down in flames over her absurd assertion at being clueless as to the details of enhanced interrogation. Which, btw, was shown to produce results.

    No, it wasn’t. People keep asserting this, but all we have are anonymously-sourced hit pieces that the publishing news outlets would be ashamed of if they were capable of shame.

    Better to gurgle some terror lords once in a while than witness more roasted Americans and crushed buildings.

    Or, more accurately, better to beat some poor random schmuck to death (well, over a hundred random schmucks) than to bother to interrogate them properly, because that’s just not manly enough.

  106. 106

    […] Cole at Balloon Juice thinks the former veep will be saved only by general Washington hypocrisy: I was listening to NPR yesterday, and one analyst stated […]

  107. 107

    Making over-the-top analogies with military dictatorships of South America is particularly rich here, as you’re comparing bringing those responsible for the torture and disappearances of the last decade to justice with… actual torture and disappearances. Torturer and tortured, morally equivalent.

    Not quite Chico. I said the current administration’s tack is “junta-like.” Reread the missive and call me a liar. This means, for those living in Rio Linda, that the tactic is akin to making certain notions go away or an incessant condemnation of the opposition. Juntas do this in addition to nipping people. Of course we’ve not crossed that nasty line of putting the opposition team’s colors 6 feet under.

    Yet.

    It means the tactic is about the same when it comes to doing everything in one’s power–even at the risk of national security and state secrets–to pacify your nutroots base of lefties demanding the CIA basically disband, and to make an ideological statement. The first part of course won’t be done. The latter will. The understanding here is that smart leftists and radicals like Obama can’t overturn the whole apple cart just yet, and that things must be incremental to be effective. A motion will be made to satiate the Berkely types, who will remain sulking nontheless, but that’s the breaks, eh?

    How exactly do you manage to look into the yawning moral void in your heart without giving in to existential terror?

    Well, for one thing (and I’ll shorten the list here this time, as there are many possible answers to such a front-end loaded question) Mr. Meanie makes it a point to keep the value and the limitations of analogies in mind, all the while understanding their effectiveness in making a point.

    And this falls neatly into a point about your last assertion–that some putz from the Allah Knows Best crowd has been beaten into submission for not giving up the info. I see little evidence of that.

    Not THAT was a little overdone, brother. Getting three squares a day and your daily Koranic readings is not the common definition of torture, even if three or four of these animals had something done to them that is questionable for its morals or effectiveness.

    Don’t overplay your hand here.

  108. 108

    Not THAT was a little overdone, brother….

    …should read….NOW THAT was a little overdone…..

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  2. […] John Cole at Balloon-Juice is indignant no one’s been indicted yet. I’m not sure what the point of Obama even having an agenda if they don’t go about holding people accountable for what they have done here. Otherwise, we’ll just be going through this again in the future. […]

  3. […] John Cole on Cheney and the violation of civil liberties: I was listening to NPR yesterday, and one analyst stated that the reason Washington is terrified to … […]

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