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April 15, 2008
Let the Witch Hunts Begin!
For years, the left has been accusing the Bush Administration of not only incompetence but illegality as well. The question has arisen in recent weeks on lefty blogs regarding the probability that if a Democrat is elected president, the Justice Department will be turned into an angel of revenge, investigating and charging former Bush officials with all manner of crimes.
Over the years, the left has let its imagination run wild about all sorts of law breaking by Bush officials. And they have felt enormously frustrated because no one else in the country quite sees it their way. Their way is to turn political spats into law breaking -- and if Obama is elected, he will apparently give them what they want:
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. Note that Obama is worried how the probe could be "spun" not whether it was right or whether it was necessary. And, of course, the left didn't get its panties in a bunch when Bill Clinton initiated the rendition program back in the 1990's.
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." The question was inspired by a recent report by ABC News, confirmed by the Associated Press, that high-level officials including Vice President Dick Cheney and former Cabinet secretaries Colin Powell, John Ashcroft and Donald Rumsfeld, among others, met in the White House and discussed the use of waterboarding and other torture techniques on terrorism suspects. I mentioned the report in my question, and said
"I know you've talked about reconciliation and moving on, but there's also the issue of justice, and a lot of people -- certainly around the world and certainly within this country -- feel that crimes were possibly committed" regarding torture, rendition, and illegal wiretapping. I wanted to know how whether his Justice Department "would aggressively go after and investigate whether crimes have been committed."
As far as torture, there are certainly grounds in my mind for a review of the facts. But this is an extraordinarily gray area and to turn it into a partisan witch hunt -- which is exactly what it would be -- would only prove that the Democrats are more about revenge and garnering political satisfaction than they are about justice.
One more thing to look forward to under our Democratic taskmasters.