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What to Do, What to Do

I found myself watching part of Bush’s disingenuous, actually disgusting, final press conference yesterday.  The only mistake acknowledged was one of public relations — shouldn’t have hung that Mission Accomplished banner on the aircraft carrier.  Otherwise there were only “disappointments”, about  the lack of WMD, and Abu Gharab.

The only passion was reserved for arguing that America’s standing in the world had not been damaged by his out of control administration that kidnapped and tortured people, and ran secret prisons and kangaroo courts, (are people aware that many of the military lawyers assigned to prosecute prisoners at Guantanamo have resigned in protest.  I listened to an Air Force officer refer to the military tribunals as “kangaroo courts” last night), wire tapped American citizens illegally, and did away with Due Process and Habeus Corpus.

Which left me with the question — what do we do about these criminal activities?  Criminal activities that in some cases rise to the level of war crimes.

The hard headed pragmatist in me would advise Obama to let it go.  It will be seen as merely partisan by that stubborn, ignorant 25 to 30 percent who thought Bush did “a heck of a job”.  He would lose almost all Republican support for his legislation.

Which leads me to the frightened investor who has watched her portfolio lose thirty percent of its value over the past year.  I want the new administration to try big, bold moves that will help stabilize the economy, and let me have a hope of retiring someday.  I don’t want them mucking about with Bush and Cheney.  I want them to fix things.

Then the other side of my nature — the Constitutional lawyer — rears up and demands that these people be brought to account.  Investigation and prosecution is the only thing that’s going to restore American standing in the world.  It’s the only thing that’s going to rub out the stain that’s on my soul.  These people tortured in my name.  

Also, we need to face and accept what occurred.  Put aside the cowboy machismo that glorifies violence and war as the only solutions to problems.  Stop taking our lead from a television show, 24, and accept the verdict of experts — torture doesn’t work.  Only by shining a harsh light on these practices can we ensure that another president doesn’t try the same evil tactics again.  

So, do we look back or do we look forward?  Or is there some middle ground — a 9/11 type commission that can expose these abuses to light and air.  Heap shame the men and women who took part, and redeem our country.  At present Bush is trying a modified Nuremburg defense — “the lawyers told me it was legal”.   In order to find lawyers who would override decades of precedent they had to drill far down into the muck and dredge up extreme, right wing attorneys.  John Friggin Ashcroft was threatening to resign over some of the White House activities.    Sit with that for a minute — John Ashcroft.

I want my portfolio to recover.  I want my friends not to be worried about losing their jobs.  

But we can’t let Bush get away with it.

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