Will Hillary Clinton Be Bad Cop to Obama’s Good Cop?

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This is the segment I did last night on Countdown with David Shuster standing in for Keith Olbermann.
I’m back in the U.S. and can report that enthusiasm for Barack Obama throughout Europe is off the charts.
Closing Guantanamo and holding someone, anyone, responsible for America’s use of torture against combat detainees, and putting forward a global climate change proposal may get a number of nations asking Obama if he can be their president too.
Let’s hope that Obama gets a lot of constructive work done before the reality of our stressed world hits and his bubble bursts.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

104 comments on “Will Hillary Clinton Be Bad Cop to Obama’s Good Cop?

  1. questions says:

    The long, ponderous, 17th century English (urgh!) Leviathan — the first two parts, “Of Man” and “Of Commonwealth” are central texts in the history of political philosophy. “Of Man” starts with a Newtonian reading of human motion (desire works the way inertia works) and moves through how we think, what we do, how we use language. The use of language is crucial for Hobbes because it is through language that we communicate, fail to communicate, and lie. Because our living together for Hobbes is contractual, getting the language correct is crucial for a clear understanding of the contract.
    “Of Commonwealth” delves into how to structure a society so that our desires can be kept under control and we can live a commodious life. Hobbes’s fondest wish for all people is a long and prosperous life — not the sort of thing we can attain if we live apart, live selfishly, live without a strong central government. I think his insights into human desire are pretty much on the mark. and I think they can easily be applied to the financial mess, to Republican “governing”, and to our collective failures when we aren’t pushed to act well, act in the name of truth, and not deceive ourselves.
    It’s worth the reading– good long winter night-style. But leave a window open so that you don’t accidentally fall asleep!

    Reply

  2. Tuma says:

    Questions,
    You mention Hobbes often.
    Any particular work?

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    POA,
    Couple of quick things…. I found a clip of the Turley interview on crooksandliars.com and what stood out to me was the number of times he qualified his statements by saying “in my opinion,” “I think” or the like. He’s one person with one opinion. I think his argument may be reasonable for the most part, but I don’t think the courts are likely to agree that the legal opinions don’t have standing, as it were. I THINK that the OLC has a special stature in interpreting law for the president and once it says something, that’s what the law means. I’m not positive about this, though. And I’m guessing that those hand picked extremists (Yoo, for example) will have more court approval than Turley thinks. I could be wrong, though. Goldsmith’s note about how important it is for presidents to be able to seek out candid advice as desired may be on the important side. This issue comes up in Hobbes and may have pretty deep significance. Yes, Yoo has what I consider to be nutwing views, but is it criminal for him to write them up as solicited by the president? It gets kind of tricksy to negotiate issues like this and I’m guessing that the courts will side with Yoo and Bush on this.
    I agree that 9/11 and Kennedy commissions did not do a lot for truth. I would say that, regarding 9/11, the Bush people set it up to investigate Bush’s biggest policy failing to date. How much truth could possibly come out of that? I’m less familiar with the Kennedy commission and won’t comment.
    I would hope that a better system could be put in place given the change in parties, the sheer number of deaths involved, the destruction of an entire nation, the failed US economy that came out of it, the bad policy that flowed all around it. I certainly can’t promise.
    But again, I suspect that criminal proceedings would be even less revealing.
    Please understand that I would like the truth to come out, I would like policy remedies put in place so that we don’t do anything this foolish again. I would like it if people in this country didn’t automatically support wars as soon as a president says “Hey, we need to fight a war.” I don’t think I’m going to get what I like, though. And it is this feeling that leads me to believe that a well-designed commission is a better option than many many individual trials over many many years feeding many many lawyers who will argue many many fine points of the law and get many many criminals off the hook. I wish it were different.

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  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/27/opinion/27cohen.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss
    Oops, forgot the link to Cohen’s blathering and pseudo respect for the law.

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here we have this asshole Cohen arguing for the rule of law, yet advocatinbg for yet one more spineless “commission”. If this jerk-off had the respect for the law that he claims to have, he would be commenting on the obligation our government has to seek prosecutions.
    Does it escape the attention of these jackasses like Cohen, and the above commenters, that the two most noted “commissions” of all time in American history, (Kennedy assination and 9/11), only left more questions in their wake?

    Reply

  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://howieinseattle.blogspot.com/2008/11/jonathan-turley-on-rachel-maddow-show.html
    MADDOW: The question here is has the administration effectively gotten itself off the legal hook by asserting that because the president has done it, it is not illegal? Joining us now is Jonathan Turley, who is a professor of Constitutional Law at George Washington University. Professor Turley, thanks for joining us again. Nice to see you.
    JONATHAN TURLEY, PROFESSOR OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, GEORGE WASHINGTON
    UNIVERSITY: Hi, Rachel.
    MADDOW: So the White House says now, at least to the “Wall Street Journal,” that they are not likely to pardon anyone who might have implemented or taken part in these torture policies because they believe that their Justice Department memos excuse them, so there’s no need to pardon anyone. Are you buying their reasoning?
    TURLEY: No. I don’t believe that anyone seriously believes in the administration that what they did was legal. This is not a close legal question. Waterboarding is torture. It has been defined as a war crime by U.S. courts and foreign courts. There’s no ambiguity in it. That’s exactly why they have repeatedly tried to stop any court from reviewing any of this. And so what’s really happening here is a rather clever move at this intersection of law and politics, that what the administration is doing is they know that the people that want him to pardon our torture program is primarily the Democrats, not the Republicans. Democratic leadership would love to have a pardon so they could go to their supporters and say, “Look, there’s really nothing we could do. We’re just going to have this truth commission. We’ll get the truth out but there really can’t be indictments now.” Well, the Bush administration is calling their bluff. They know that the Democratic leadership will not allow criminal investigations or indictments. And in that way the Democrats will actually repair Bush’s legacy because he’ll be able to say there’s nothing stopping indictments or prosecutions but a Democratic Congress and a Democratic White House didn’t think there was any basis for it.
    MADDOW: If the Democrats – if we could wave a magic wand and say that the Democrats would decide to indict officials for the torture policies, is there any reason to believe that the John Yoo memos, the torture memos, the Bybee memos – all of these legal reasoning that the Justice Department produced under Bush in order to sort of paper their way to these policies. Is there any reason to believe that would afford them any reasonable defense?
    TURLEY: Not in my view. I think those memos are really devoid of any meaningful arguments that would carry weight in a court of law. What Bush did is he went and got fairly extreme individuals from the academy and from the bar that would ratify his absolute view of executive authority. There is a very small number of people, I believe, on the courts or in the bar that would support that view. And so there’s not a question, at least in my view, whether there could be an indictable and a prosecutable here. There’s no question about that. The question is the intestinal fortitude of the Democrats to stand with the rule of law. And unfortunately, we have many people who campaign on principle but they govern on politics. And I think we’re seeing that with the Democratic balloon they’re floating by saying, “Let’s have a commission, another commission, like the 9/11 commission. And maybe if we find something that can be prosecuted in four or five years, we might do it.” Well, everyone in Washington knows that that commission is being proposed so that there would be no serious criminal investigation or prosecution. And now, the White House is calling their bluff.

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  7. questions says:

    Paul,
    Thanks for the fact checking and historical memory! I really have to read Schmitt. We have a volume or two sitting around, along with some Agamben dealing with Schmitt’s ideas about states of exception. Sadly, the to-be-read list is infinite and time is finite. But maybe Schmitt would be good tragic winter reading for the first major snowstorm. I was hoping to do some Dreiser for whatever reason.

    Reply

  8. Paul Norheim says:

    “Posted by questions Nov 26, 11:04AM – Link
    Tuma,
    IF (and I emphasize this word) I understand what the Bush
    admin did, it’s the following: they removed the victims from the
    legal purview of the US so that NO US laws or treaties could be
    brought to bear on the situation — that’s the point of Gitmo
    and rendition. Second, they denied that the Geneva Conventions
    could be brought to bear on these people because they are not
    “soldiers” in the conventional sense, they are enemy
    combatants. Third, they denied that “enhanced interrogations”
    were torture.”
    That`s correct, Questions. A couple of years ago, I read some
    papers written perhaps by John Yoo (can`t remember exactly
    now, two years later) addressed to President Bush regarding
    Taliban, saying that they did not fulfill the criteria required to be
    defined as a regular army; thus not relevant to the Geneva
    conventions regarding POW. Bush accepted the legal
    suggestions in those papers, concluding that they were not
    regular soldiers.
    But before that (as Yoo himself has said), Yoo and others
    worked immediately after 9/11 to find a place outside US
    jurisdiction for prisoners – Guantanamo was what they came up
    with. I think Jane Mayers writes about this as well (if i remember
    correctly, she mentions this in her Addington portrait in The
    New Yorker, June 2006). All this was initiated by Cheney,
    according to Mayers.
    ———
    Tuma said: “Does the term “enemy combatant” have any support
    anywhere except in the Bush legal memos? IOW, is it something
    they just made up?”
    Tuma, I think I have mentioned this several times before at
    TWN, But Carl Schmitt wrote a book called “Theorie des
    Partisanen” in the beginning of the 1960, translated to English
    recently, where he actually trace the “Illegal combatants” as a
    gray area in law since the Napoleon wars (a Spanish revolt at
    that time, as a pendant to Taliban today) – explicitly in relation
    to the Geneva Conventions and other legal treaties and laws
    dealing with war situations. It`s a highly relevant and
    interesting little book, with chapters about irregular troops in
    the French/Russian war, Partisans in Italy, Vietnam Guerilla,
    Mao`s warfare, Clausewitz etc -all written in the context of the
    cold war.
    Too me it looks like John Yoo and or Addington must have been
    very familiar with that book. Perhaps they did not know it. But
    Schmitt draws the map, in the context of modern history,
    showing all the legal conflicts and issues that Yoo and
    Addington and the rest of the bunch responded to.
    So this is actually not an invention by the Bush administration.
    Other political and military leaders have faced similar situations
    regarding the legal status of their “enemies” in modern times for
    ca. 200 years – when their enemies are not a regular army in a
    state, with a clear chain of command and different other criteria
    mentioned in this kind of legal papers.
    Yoo & Co immediately argued that Taliban was not a regular
    Afghan army, internationally recognized as such; thus they
    could treat them just like Gestapo did if they captured these
    unlawful combatants and put them in a jail abroad, or
    transported them to torturers in other countries.

    Reply

  9. questions says:

    Fantasy is the word.
    Goldsmith (not Miller) certainly does have conflict of interest problems, but he also has an insider’s expertise. What a dilemma. It’s precisely what Obama is facing too. The people who know what’s going on in the institution are the inmates. And when the inmates run the asylum, you have the stuff of comedy and/or tragedy. Neither is a good option. And the TRC thing gets us outside of the institution if it’s structured well.

    Reply

  10. Tuma says:

    Well, just because they denied XYZ doesn’t mean they are correct
    in their understanding (obviously). That would be decided by
    the court. Does the term “enemy combatant” have any support
    anywhere except in the Bush legal memos? IOW, is it something
    they just made up?
    It’s possible that what went on in different venues needs to be
    handled different. But Abu Ghraib is obviously part of the mix
    and needs to be dealt with.
    But the fact that they could, possibly, withstand legal arguments
    is all the more reason to have the TRC. Such legal niceties
    wouldn’t hold up there. They would be largely irrelevant.
    I read the Miller op-ed. It’s suspect because he’s in the line of
    fire and admits as much. But you’ll notice that he falls back on
    the “chilling” affect a trial would have on officials trying to keep
    the country “secure.” But he never delves into what security
    means or how best to achieve it. This, to me, is the crux.
    We have a long history of being protected by oceans and two,
    largely non-threatening neighbors. Even though the ocean wall
    has been breached before, we still haven’t gotten it out of our
    pscyhe. And whenever we think it’s in danger of being breached
    by missiles or terrorists, we go bat shit and start invading the
    world. This, to me, is the crux of the problem.
    (Our consumerist society also promises absolute security from…
    want…zits…bad smells…death…which are all unachievable in
    any durable form.)
    Bottom line, absolute security is a fantasy that we tell ourselves.
    When this fantasy gets punctured, we go crazy and grab at
    anything, including torture, to seal the puncture. But poor
    people and nations understand that they are essentially
    vulnerable, meaning in their essence vulnerable, and cannot
    achieve “absolute security.” They understand that the human
    being is 90% water and without carapace and must find a
    different way to stay secure. This is the work, the inner work,
    that Americans have to do.
    It becomes increasingly important as the world becomes
    increasingly interdependent and we can no longer remove
    ourselves to this Island North America. Other powers are
    coming up economically and militarily. Resources are getting
    tight. We’ve soiled our own bed linens environmentally and need
    to clean them. The posture we’ve grown up with since the end of
    WWII is a passing phase, but it’s all we’ve ever known, so we
    think it’s the way things are or should be.
    But the times are a’changing, and we need to change with them.
    I think Obama gets some of this, which is why I’m enthusiastic
    about his presidency.

    Reply

  11. questions says:

    Tuma,
    IF (and I emphasize this word) I understand what the Bush admin did, it’s the following: they removed the victims from the legal purview of the US so that NO US laws or treaties could be brought to bear on the situation — that’s the point of Gitmo and rendition. Second, they denied that the Geneva Conventions could be brought to bear on these people because they are not “soldiers” in the conventional sense, they are enemy combatants. Third, they denied that “enhanced interrogations” were torture. Some of this (number three, especially) was walked back because of court decisions. But my guess is that 1 and 2 negate the walkback of 3.
    England et al were at Abu Ghraib? And they went after POWs?? So, legally, I think it’s really different from the rendition and Gitmo situations. And they CERTAINLY had instructions from higher up the chain — didn’t affect the legal process, though.
    I’m not sure I have all the details correct here, though. So please fix what I’ve messed up on.
    24? Try “Dirty Harry”!! I just saw it again a few months ago. What a nasty piece of work it is. This crossing the lines in the name of justice is really something.

    Reply

  12. Tuma says:

    Questions,
    On torture, I think the case is clear: It’s illegal. The Geneva
    Conventions certainly prohibit it; I don’t know if there’s US law
    that prohibits it, but there should be, if there isn’t.
    If England et al can be tried for what they did, then certainly the
    higher ups who ordered and condoned it can be tried.
    Warrantless wiretapping probably falls into this category, too.
    All that said, I still think the TRC will have a larger impact on the
    American psyche and politics than trying a cabal of people. We
    did that in Watergate and in Irancontra and the effects were not
    long-lasting. The TRC has the opportunity to deal with the
    largest issues: What is America’s appropriate response when
    she’s attacked on this scale? What is the nature of security in
    this age.
    Lots and lots of people were and are willing to turn a blind eye
    to torture if they think that the purpose is keeping America and
    their families safe. That’s almost the whole premise of the TV
    show 24, and you can hear that echoed around the country. The
    problem is not with a few bad guys.

    Reply

  13. questions says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/25/AR2008112501897.html?hpid=opinionsbox1
    Link to Jack Goldsmith’s piece in today’s WaPo. A different reading, a lawyer’s point of view, an insider’s point of view. Maybe there’s a huge conflict of interest, maybe there’s a grain of truth. It’s worth reading at any rate.
    For what it’s worth, POA, he disagrees with me and I’m not flipping out.

    Reply

  14. questions says:

    POA,
    Happy to hear there’s a Constitutional scholar who thinks this way. I’m not a Constitutional scholar, though I’m not completely unfamiliar with the document.
    As far as I can tell, waterboarding violates the Geneva Conventions, a treaty to which the US is a signatory. BUT, as far as I know, the Bush team has a legalese memo that says that the Geneva Conventions do NOT apply to unlawful combatants, and that EVERY poor soul they have rounded up and shipped off to Gitmo or Syria or wherever is an unlawful combatant and is therefore NOT covered by the Geneva Conventions.
    If Bush’s law team’s view holds up in court, so much for Jonathan the Scholar’s point of view. But since he’s a scholar, maybe he’s right that in fact the US Constitution through some mechanism or other can be applied to KSM and company.
    Again and again I point out that there are institutional realities that must be taken into account.
    Criminal proceedings are not likely to be successful and if they are an epic fail that very failure will make law breaking and CYA memos all the more likely, powerful, and practiced. There will be no truth in court.
    And again, if the proceedings are a success, I worry that we, as a people, will feel cleansed and ready for a new torture team in the White House at the very next crisis. I’m happy to be wrong about this, and I sincerely hope I am wrong.
    TRC-American Style has a chance, just a chance, at getting the truth out. And I tend to think that the truth is a significantly more powerful substance than is a prison sentence.
    I don’t at all feel I’ve been ripped a new anything. I think the dialogue is necessary and dialogue has nothing to do with the violence you keep injecting into things. I have a stake in getting to the right conclusion, not in being right all the way through the conversation. It might help if you learned a little bit of this. You might end up being more persuasive.
    I could certainly be persuaded that I’m totally wrong and that the court system is the right place for the Bush criminals. So far I haven’t seen or read or heard anything to convince me of this, but I’m open to a good argument any time.

    Reply

  15. Mr.Murder says:

    Okcun
    Hit the c and k keys opposite, typo n for m…
    so sue me, it’s not like I got the definition of “actionable” wrong.
    In fact there are claims that there exists plural ways for spelling the name correctly.

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Tuma, Jonathan Turley just ripped you and Questions new assholes on the Rachel Maddow Show.
    I hope you saw it. One point he made is that the American people ARE as guilty as Bush and company if we are witness to war crimes, and we allow our leaders to do NOTHING.
    And there is no ambiguity here, waterboardibng IS A WAR CRIME, is legally recognized as a war crime, and is indictable as a war crime.
    One last statement Turley, (a constitutional scholar) made is that most of Washington realizes and believes that this TRC horseshit is a ploy to avoid holding anyone accountable for REAL CRIMES.
    And like I told questions in my prior post, its impossible for me to think like you two do. You are polar to everything I believe this nation once stand for. In truth and candor, I find your exuses, rationals and justifications detestable and anti-american. If that offends you, good, it should.
    You are definitely getting the government you deserve.

    Reply

  17. Tuma says:

    “Gee, the next President that wants to seriously abuse his powers is gonna think twice because he just might get TRC’d.”
    The problem is that, in cases where real societal change took place, at least as I read it, only a little bit of it took place because leaders were put in jail. The question is, do you want social change or do you want the satisfaction of seeing XYZ behind bars?
    In some cases, jail time was involved–say, Nuremberg. But in other cases, jail time only polarized political conditions–say, Serbia. Lincoln refrained from jailing Southern leaders to heal the wounds. Would the South have reformed its criminal ways faster if RE Lee had been put in jail? Would South Africa have changed faster if all the old Afrikaaner leaders had been put in jail? What about the perpetrators of the Gulag?
    Stolen elections are things to be avoided. But POA acts as though Ohio 2004 were some sort of outrage beyond the pale of American politics. In fact, it’s probably closer to politics as usual; it’s just that most elections in the past weren’t that close, so the cheating didn’t change the outcome. It’s pretty well settled that Richard Daley stole the election for JFK–Nixon never called for jail time. LBJ was involved in lots of ballot box stuffing in ole Texas. Never got jail time. And of course many, many, many elections in the South were fraudulent for decades for many reasons, not least of which was the fact that blacks were excluded in various ways.
    This is in no way to excuse any of it, but it doesn’t get to the nub of the problem.
    The original question was…what role did the American people themselves play in the mess we’ve descended into. Do we have any culpability? Or are we off the hook because we’re such sleeping dolts that we can only be expected to swallow whatever is put out as the official line.
    I’m sorry–Bush was re-elected by an American public that knew, or should have known, what the Bush policies were, if not in detail, then well enough to know they were seriously off-track.
    Gore Vidal once said that Americans don’t have politics, they have elections. Meaning, we only wake up once every two to four years long enough for some of us to cast a ballot and then go back to sleep. And even then, a 60% turnout is huge for us. We have zero memory of what we ourselves did only a few years ago. So we largely get what we ourselves have wrought. This does NOT excuse Bush et al, but it widens the lens in important ways.

    Reply

  18. questions says:

    Nope, not “criminality trumps the law”; rather, one pursues cases one can win, one uses institutions based on how they actually function rather than based on how one wishes they would function; one looks at all of the material with a judge’s eye and makes a judge’s decision. Will all of those DOJ memos and the OLC’s findings and Congress’s votes and the general wartime scene be enough of a defense? Might very well be. So if the courts are likely to rule in Bush’s favor, wouldn’t you rather not go to the courts but to some kind of commission designed to have the truth come out? Designed to find the faultlines in our thinking and in our institutions? I would, at any rate.
    The only counter to my view I’ve seen that might work is a line by Sy Hersh — something along the lines of, “Wait til Jan. 21 and talk to me.” If enough people will really talk starting on Jan. 21, then maybe the courts will move towards convictions. But there’s still so much documentary support for Bush’s policies, an that support carries a lot of legal weight. I do not think Hersh’s sources will be enough. I’d like to be wrong.

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  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Using your logic, POA, we could lock up a few administration criminals and be done with it. Hooray, Bush is in prison. No more political criminals ever again….”
    Thats bullshit, and you know it.
    In fact, using your logic, prosecutions are out because prosecutions are unlikely to succeed.
    So what the fuck do we have laws for, genius? So you and I don’t shoot the neighbor’s dog while these criminals in Washington engage themselves in killing a million or so Iraqis?
    Look, lets just agree to disagree. I can’t think like you. You’re the problem, not the solution. If you really believe in this TRC horseshit, you’re a damned fool.
    Gee, the next President that wants to seriously abuse his powers is gonna think twice because he just might get TRC’d.
    Yeah, when pigs fly.

    Reply

  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    AH!!! I get it, “popularity” trumps the law.
    Heck, that beats the shit out of Question’s premise, which is criminality trumps the law.
    I suppose you think that stealing elections doesn’t deserve to be subject to accountability either?
    Heck, you’re a regular grade “A” patriot, arencha?
    Ya gotta love your logic, though.

    Reply

  21. questions says:

    Using your logic, POA, we could lock up a few administration criminals and be done with it. Hooray, Bush is in prison. No more political criminals ever again….
    The fact is, Bush and Cheney et al are in a system and they are symptoms of much deeper ills. Opium might stop cancer pain for a while, but it doesn’t cure cancer. Imprisonment might stop your pain, but it doesn’t cure our political system.
    We are a diseased nation and we make the most wicked political choices again and again because we fail to understand ourselves, our institutions, our failings.
    I have some vague hope that TRC-style study might help us see our panic points and our nastiness and how very unexceptional we are as a thug-nation. I have no hope that legal wrangling will show any of these traits.
    Tell me, do please, what specific sentences above are lies, dissemblings, h.s., and so on. And tell me, please do, how your version of events would be truer, purer, and so on.

    Reply

  22. Tuma says:

    Regardless of what you think of Ohio 2004, the fact is that GWB garnered MANY more votes the second time. As to the election itself, yes, there are reasons to doubt the outcome, but there is no reason to doubt that Bush’s popularity had increased by 2004.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I think the strongest argument in favor of your
    general direction is the fact that 1) the American people re-elected GWB with many more votes the second time,……”
    Well, that bit of unabashed braying certainly put a grin on Kenneth Blackwell’s face.
    So, hey, using Tuma’s logic, garnering the most votes, either by a legitimate election, or by a corrupt election, puts you beyond the long arm of the law. Brilliant, Tuma. No wonder the criminals are so fond of running for office.

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  24. Tuma says:

    Questions, I think the strongest argument in favor of your
    general direction is the fact that 1) the American people re-
    elected GWB with many more votes the second time, after much
    of what we’ve seen had already come to light, than the first time;
    an 2) the question of criminality obscures the policy question.
    We didn’t need to know that GWB had broken any laws,
    intentionally or otherwise, to know that his direction was dead
    wrong. It’s ridiculous to paint “the American people” as hapless
    victims and uninvolved or not responsible for this mess when all
    anyone had to do was pick up a newspaper and read and think.
    Too narrow a focus on “criminality” obscures the policy wrong
    turn.
    If Obama made “accountability trials or inquests” the centerpiece
    of his Administration right now, he wouldn’t last one term. We’d
    be back to Republican rule in two years, and everyone shouting
    now would just be shouting louder later. As a “rich” says
    somewhere in another thread, the problems here are not 8 years
    old. They probably go back to the end of WWII and the start of
    the Cold War. Maybe they go back as far as the push to conquer
    the West. Criminal trials, as salutory and deserved as they might
    be, won’t change a thing about our basic outlook. Vietnam,
    Watergate, Irancontra seem to have taught the body politic
    nothing.

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  25. questions says:

    POA, couldn’t resist a reply, but I tried for a few hours.
    questions:
    “Here’s a question for you, though. What set of charges would you bring against any one of the administration criminals? Cite the laws they’ve broken and the legal strategy for conviction. Remember that executive privilege will hide documents, shredding will hide documents, people will cover for each other. And the courts are likely to consider war time extremes as highly significant.”
    POA:
    “I see you are dissembling further, Questions. The point isn’t Kucinich’s “political effectiveness”. The point, jackass, is that you asked for specific charges”
    Note that I requested BOTH broken laws AND strategies for conviction. I have said over and over and over that laws were broken. But our legal system doesn’t stop there. It asks for contexts, mitigating factors, and metes out its version of justice with these in mind. What is the context for all of the admin’s behavior? War. What is the main mitigating factor? War. How will these people defend themselves? Executive privilege and the special powers granted during…war.
    War, war, war, war, war. Find a conviction given this excuse.
    Why does Kucinich’s political effectiveness matter? Because if he runs an investigation and no one comes, is there a sound?
    And once again, justice does need to be served. I’m not at all convinced that the court system is up to the task. I honestly think that a TRC with some American spin to it is our best bet. To dissemble is to lie, to intend to deceive. I’m not lying. I actually think this, as shocking as it might be to your delicate sensibilities. And since you claim to see right through my “lies” anyway, why bother calling me a dissembler?
    Please note that TPMCafe has a discussion running on this same issue — and I don’t think a single poster called another a “jacka&&”. Some people have made points similar to yours, some people have made points similar to mine, including the idea that convicting the thugs will act to exonerate the citizens.
    There are HONEST disagreements. Really. It can happen that someone can want the same thing as another and disagree about how to achieve it, and both people can be honorable.

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see you are dissembling further, Questions. The point isn’t Kucinich’s “political effectiveness”. The point, jackass, is that you asked for specific charges. The point is that such charges have been outlined, enumerated, spelled out, underscored, offered and leveled on a number of occassions. The point is that these charges are ignored. The point is that laws were broken, and accountability is not being pursued. The point is that your dissembling horseshit does not erase the basic truths. Laws were broken, our leaders are holding themselves above the law, and without being held accountable, we can rest assured that the crimes and abuse of power will not only continue, they will escalate. This will be particularly true as the state of the union deteriorates, and it becomes asses and elbows of finger pointing, looting, and fleeing the scene of the crime. Its already began, and is about to get very interesting, and quite real.

    Reply

  27. questions says:

    POA:
    “Perhaps, some day, irony will find one of his children held captive by enemies, and he will witness the sad futility of an American President demanding fair and humane treatment for the captive.”
    questions:
    “The idea that you’d hope ANYone’s children would be held captive is vile. I certainly wouldn’t hope that for a living thing, not even the turkey killed behind Sarah Palin.”
    Maybe I misread your comment. If so, I apologize.
    POA:
    “The world community needs to witness that the American people, and its government, will not condone, employ, accept, or abet acts of torture.”
    I agree. But I don’t think our legal system will do what you want it to. And further, I don’t think that the American people will suddenly develop such a distaste for the torture regime that trials and convictions will end it.
    POA
    “your cavalier dismissal of the pursuit of justice is the actual act of vileness”
    I haven’t dismissed the pursuit of justice. I have questioned what the nature of justice is, and how practically one attains it. If you have it figured out, you’re a smarter man than Plato and Socrates put together. Congratulations. I’m not smart enough to have figured this one out.
    You seem on some level to be accusing me of condoning torture and Cheneyism. I don’t. I think that we’re not equipped to handle this any more than we have been equipped to handle the aftemath of slavery, Jim Crow, the internment of the Japanese, or what we’ve done in Latin America.
    Maybe there will be trials and convictions, and we will finally learn. You’ll be right and I’ll be wrong. I have no problem with that, really.
    With what I know of US political institutions, I don’t think justice will come about your way. I hope I’m wrong.
    With what I suspect about US political culture, I don’t think the torture regime will end quite so easily. In fact, I think the GWOT made public what has been policy for quite some time. I’d be happy to be wrong.
    I read some of Kucinich’s charges at some point. He’s sadly not very politically effective. I’d be happy to be wrong about this, too.
    In the end, I wish the world were other than it is, but it isn’t. And we really have to deal with what there is, even as we hope for something else. So keep hoping for Bush and Cheney’s imprisonment on a host of convictions. And while you’re hoping, try reading Plato’s Apology (it’s a trial) and the Dickens novel that features Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce (long, perfect for the winter, though your part of California is not likely very wintery). Trials really don’t do what we want them to do and they really do stuff we don’t want done. Justice isn’t merely litigation and imprisonment or fines.

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Mr. Murder….
    Its Okham. An “a”, not a “u”.

    Reply

  29. PissedOffAmerican says:

    You’re a dissembling jackass. Cite a comment of mine that expresses “hope” your child will be held captive.
    In truth, your cavalier dismissal of the pursuit of justice is the actual act of vileness. The world community needs to witness that the American people, and its government, will not condone, employ, accept, or abet acts of torture. And your kind of dissembling justifications, excuses, and rationales are an impediment to that process.

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breaches, and intentional breaches of the president’s authority” – Obama
    http://yellowcakewalk.net/articles_of_impeachment_bush.pdf
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.res.01258:

    Reply

  31. questions says:

    POA,
    You miss the boat again and again and again. I am not falling in to legalese. I am suggesting that legalese is what will happen. I am not against honest accounting. I am more hopeful that honesty will come from some variation on the truth and reconciliation commission theme.
    I do not know if Cheney had sincere moments, but I have read in both Jane Mayer (whom you seem to dislike) and Jack Goldman that there was real terror in the White House, that Cheney’s fear of death was massive, that many people were expecting many more attacks and would do anything to prevent them. I am no fan of Cheney, no defender of Cheney, no fan of the War in Iraq, the War on/of Terror, the War on the Constitution, a legal system that gets gamed routinely by well-paid lawyers…. In short, I’m less one of the bad guys than you seem to wish to consider me. But I know a little about how institutions work, I have a little perspective on how people might use court cases to excuse themselves from responsibility, and I honestly wonder what the best and right thing to do is.
    But I’m glad that you have a kind of certainty my training doesn’t allow me to have. It must be nice to know already who deserves death, life, imprisonment and the like. Certainty is a gift from the gods, and so you must be a blessed man.
    How a series of trials would prevent your little ironic scenario eludes my understanding. The US has already become a torture regime. It’s over for us.
    The idea that you’d hope ANYone’s children would be held captive is vile. I certainly wouldn’t hope that for a living thing, not even the turkey killed behind Sarah Palin.

    Reply

  32. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “And finally, the cite the laws and the strategies remark was aimed…blablahblah…bleat..blah….
    http://kucinich.house.gov/SpotlightIssues/documents.htm
    http://kucinich.house.gov/UploadedFiles/int3.pdf

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    What a crock of shit “questions” advances. He’s full of excuses, rationales, justifications and diversions. All couched in pseudo-intellectual blather.
    Bleat, bleat, bleat…..baaaaabaaaa…
    He comments that perhaps Cheney acted in the sincere effort to “keep us safe”, then dissembles and diverts when it is pointed out that some of the more egregious abuses had nothing to do with “security”, and had more to do with a TRUE “political vindictiveness”, (that Arun tries to lay at the feet of those that have, would, should, and do demand accountability).
    Seeking to move the debate into the realm of legalese doublespeak and the kind of slimey legal manipulations that have turned the bar into a seething ball of writhing scumballs, no equivication or knee jerk excuse escapes employment by “questions” as he seeks to minimize the import of honest and thorough accountability.
    Perhaps, some day, irony will find one of his children held captive by enemies, and he will witness the sad futility of an American President demanding fair and humane treatment for the captive.

    Reply

  34. Paul Norheim says:

    Mr.Murder, why on earth did you chose that moniker?

    Reply

  35. Mr.Murder says:

    If you want to get more information from Sibel Edmonds, you need to lace it with disclosure in the question.
    Ask her about Ahmed Ockum.
    She’s probably bound from providing an answer.
    Burns knows him. So does Hastert.

    Reply

  36. Mr.Murder says:

    This is business as usual.
    Nixon broke into people’s houses
    The same burglar crew he hired to ruin professional lives “took caree of that Kennedy in Dallas.”
    His own words.
    Nixon never did jail time. That is an affront to law and order, or the very notion of it. This is nothing new. His daughter celebrated lavish weddings while sons of th epoor died fighting in ‘Nam for the Dow to beef up its stock. He opened doors to China on the blood of your sons, and the jobs that would feed their grand children.
    It is what it is.
    Let Free Dumb Reign.

    Reply

  37. Paul Norheim says:

    Yeah,
    there will always be plenty of arguments against doing anything,
    and you are clever finding all those potential traps!
    Somewhere on this tread, I referred to Nixon. The main point
    was not to see Nixon convicted, but to highlight his crimes; and
    at least regarding Watergate, America won that fight, despite
    the fact that Ford pardoned him. The crucial issue was: this is
    not business as usual. Crimes were committed on a high level.
    And how can we avoid these crimes to happen again? And the
    same applies to the Bush administration on a much more
    serious level: THIS IS NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL.
    An investigation would certainly not go unnoticed, and
    regardless of the outcome, plenty of these crimes are so evident
    that most people would recognize them as crimes, as
    manipulation etc…
    Even if the lawyers delayed everything and turned the whole
    thing into a parody, I think most Americans would recognize it
    as a parody, and show their contempt for these lawyers and the
    criminals they were defending.
    The success should not be measured in convictions or years in
    prison; the success should be measured in the clarity gained
    into what actually happened, especially between 2001 and
    2004, and in the possible long term lessons.
    Personally, I would be delighted if Cheney and Addington had
    spend the rest of their lives in a prison cell in Arusha, Tanzania,
    or in Hague. But the really important issue is: do the actions
    and legal bending and interpretations of the law during the
    Bush years create a precedence, or will someone work hard to
    change those practices? And: will the American people
    understand what was actually going on during those years?
    A legal process would help highlighting the crucial issues.
    “The theoretical issues are more concerned with things like
    absolving the guilt of the people en masse by convicting a few
    middle-to-upper middle officials.”
    This is long term work, just like the issues the European nations
    faced after 1945: the fact that Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler
    committed suicide did not solve all questions regarding guilt.
    Most people had to look into a mirror and ask themselves some
    questions. And I guess most people did not do that. But a lot of
    people actually did so. And the questions tended to be moral
    questions, which ultimately are more important then legal
    questions.

    Reply

  38. questions says:

    Paul,
    No, my hesitation comes from a couple of perhaps merely theoretical issues and a few clearly practical ones. The practical ones are basically the institutional issues that would stall a genuine investigation and any kind of real result, like, say, a conviction. (This category includes the memos from the OLC and DOJ seemingly legalizing everything that was done, the claims of executive privilege and so on (see above).)
    The theoretical issues are more concerned with things like absolving the guilt of the people en masse by convicting a few middle-to-upper middle officials. Gee, we’re not implicated in torture because that was John Yoo’s issue, or Lynndie England’s issue. Or maybe, we run through a partisan investigation fest and the result is a build up of resentment against the investigators and a renewed Republican party — it’s not impossible to create HUGE resentment in this country against dems when dems do things occasionally that Repubs do all the time. I’m not sure what happens to the legal system if it fails to convict, and I’m not sure what happens to the political system if convictions come out. Because taking the very broadest view before we step in it seems important to me, I think it’s profoundly important to discuss all of this before there is a legal look around. What will we look for and why, what will we find, and what will we do with the findings. We should have answers before we risk possible unwished for consequences.
    So no, it’s not my native squeamishness that has me hesitating; rather it’s my wondering how institutions and individuals will respond. And maybe there’s even a little teensy tiny itsy bitsy fear that we could have trials and no one actually cares. What would that say about us as a nation? Of course my impulses are contradicting each other to some extent, but then I don’t think there are easy answers ever. I suppose I could be a one-person SNL skit!
    And finally, the cite the laws and the strategies remark was aimed more at the idea that if you try to convict based on a particular act of, say, torture, then you run in to all of the memo issues, the plausible deniability issues, the Guantanamo or Syria isn’t under US legal jurisdiction issues…. If you try to convict based on executive overreach, you run in to the leeway the courts grant during war. If you try to convict based on “lying to the American people about a war” you run in to what customary politics. I haven’t read a lot of convincing cases for charges to be brought against the really top people — Bush and Cheney, even if people lower down have clearly broken laws (Halliburton’s contract violations). No offense intended.

    Reply

  39. Paul Norheim says:

    “Maybe, in Al Capone fashion, someone forgot to pay taxes????”
    Indeed. And why not? Al Capone went to jail because they nailed
    him those trivial tax issues. But they also managed to make a
    point: this asshole deserves to go to prison because of his
    misdeeds. During the process every American got to know what
    he had actually done.
    The main point is not so and so many years in jail for these or
    those crimes; the main point is that such actions will not go
    unnoticed; everybody will know that this person is responsible
    for actions that crossed the line of what America wanted to be,
    wanted to accept.
    “And in terms of the French Revolution as an analogy — I don’t
    really think we’ll set up a guillotine on the Mall, but I do think
    that the crimes are widespread enough in the military, the
    government, the bureaucracy, the media, and the electorate that
    if we call for “heads to roll” in a figurative sense, it’ll be a lot of
    heads. My sense is that the guilt, in varying degrees, is really
    wide and deep.”
    And as a veggie, you hesitate because you prefer not to watch
    those heads rolling – even in a figurative sense?
    “A lot of heads” – precisely, because the guilt is indeed “wide
    and deep”.
    But the purpose should not be revenge, but restoring
    democracy in a true sense in America. This is much more
    important then whether Cheney or Bush spend the rest of their
    life in prison.

    Reply

  40. Paul Norheim says:

    “Cite the laws they’ve broken and the legal strategy for
    conviction.” (Questions)
    Second reply to you, Questions, related to a comment above your
    last one):
    When some people are asking for justice and respect for the law,
    horrified and outraged by the obvious abuse of power at the
    highest level, it`s unfair of you to, in return, demand exact
    paragraphs and legal strategies – i.e. demanding that the
    protesters are lawyers and experts in legal strategies themselves.
    But yeah, POA has not exactly been fair in his responses to you
    either, during the last months.
    Now I`ll read your last comment, posted while I wrote this…

    Reply

  41. questions says:

    I don’t disagree with your analysis, except that I’m not convinced that it will hold up in court. The “unitary executive” doctrine, to the best of my limited understanding, basically states that the executive branch holds complete control over executive agencies without input from Congress. So if there’s a cabinet department issue, the presidency controls it completely. All agencies under the executive are controlled by the executive. It seems vaguely constitutional at some level, but it’s been pushed to mean that hirings and firings and policies at the agency level and at the cabinet level can be determined by the president regardless of precedent.
    Our courts have been almost universally supportive of presidential prerogative during wartime. Bush has been rebuffed a few times on prisoner treatment, has just been allowed overseas wiretapping of American citizens, has been given by Congress a way out of the FISA mess, and has used signing statements to provide his own executive interpretation of huge numbers of acts of Congress.
    Courts are deferent to the president during war. The signing statements would likely be used in many, if not all, war-related trials. The unitary executive defense will be used for firings and policies. Executive privilege will be invoked for keeping documents safe from the prying eyes of investigators. Cheney’s people have apparently shredded large numbers of documents (in violation of law), and lots of e-mails will go unfound.
    With all of this, and knowing that Reagan and omg even Nixon were lionized at their funerals, what are the chances Cheney et al and Bush will get their just deserts?
    And all of this is the practical stuff.
    Convictions won’t be easy to get in the courts, won’t likely be pursued at the Congressional level (unless Kucinich really gets the oversight chair!!!!), and if they aren’t in the individual interests of specific politicians, won’t be pursued at all. This is the institutional stuff.
    And then we get to the justice/theory stuff, and we have to figure out the goals for pursuing justice via the courts or Congress vs. pursuing justice in some other way. I tend to think some other way would be more possible, more fruitful, and maybe more satisfying in the end. Maybe I’m underestimating my country and its institutions, and in fact the courts will come through.
    And in terms of the French Revolution as an analogy — I don’t really think we’ll set up a guillotine on the Mall, but I do think that the crimes are widespread enough in the military, the government, the bureaucracy, the media, and the electorate that if we call for “heads to roll” in a figurative sense, it’ll be a lot of heads. My sense is that the guilt, in varying degrees, is really wide and deep.
    So somewhere between rendition and torture, destroying an entire country for no really good reason and killing more than a million people and displacing 4 or 5 million more, (il)legally spying on citizens, firing people for their political views, violating civil service protections, violating separation of powers and the First and Fourth Amendments, and whatever else should be added to the list, there are crimes for sure. But once again we come back to the institutional and legal framework, the wartime status, and the limits they put on justice.
    Maybe, in Al Capone fashion, someone forgot to pay taxes????

    Reply

  42. Paul Norheim says:

    “Cite the laws they’ve broken and the legal strategy for
    conviction.”
    As a start, what about Cheneys, Yoo`s and Addingtons efforts,
    not to brake any laws, but to raise the “Unitary Executive”
    ABOVE ANY LAW during the GWOT, and to push the enemies
    into a legal no mans land, with no legal rights whatsoever,
    simply by removing them to a certain territory (i.e. not on
    American territory)?
    This, especially the extension of presidential powers (all this
    lethal American chat among the elites about the importance of
    “leadership” — in German: “führershaft”…) is an issue beyond
    braking laws; it`s close to a coup d ètat, and at least a farewell
    to democratic principles.
    These extensions of presidential power are indistinguishable
    from dictatorial powers. The concept of a “dictator” was
    invented by the Romans, meant to fit a state of emergency
    lasting for months. But Cheney, Rumsfeld and others talked
    about a GWOT lasting perhaps for 30 years. Then we are very
    far from the concepts invented by the Romans, not to mention
    the American Constitution.
    If you, the American people, your lawyers, your lawmakers, are
    not able to undo this, then The United States of America have
    said that democracy is not a convenient political system for the
    next 30 years.
    This is not just about laws; it`s also about a political crossroad
    for your country and the world.
    Questions: the current situation in USA is very far from
    Robbespierre and a French leftist reign of terror and revenge in
    1789; this is not Russia in 1917 or China during the Cultural
    Revolution in the 1960`s; this is about saving democracy in
    America now, in 2008.
    Losing SOME of the legal arguments may not be crucial here.
    Highlighting them, for all to see, is crucial – just like it was
    crucial when Nixon abdicated and was pardoned by Ford.

    Reply

  43. questions says:

    POA,
    My comment about outing Plame was merely a side note that Alexander Cockburn had reminded his outraged lefty readers that this kind of action would have been precisely the kind of thing that outraged 60s lefties would have loved, but that outraged 2000s lefties now despise. It’s an interesting turn of events. Simple point, Cockburn’s point, not mine actually.
    Re what happened at Justice — the Siegelman matter is back in court, not sure the status of Goodling (wasn’t she given immunity?), Gonzales isn’t going to prison. Yes the politicization is wicked, yes, laws were broken. Yes there is a court system to deal with this. Is Monica Goodling the real criminal? Gonzales? Or Bush? Who is likely to go to prison?
    I think, once again, you’re conflating parts of my argument. I do think that this administration has been wicked and criminal. I do think that there might be enough af a paper trail for some people to be convicted. I also think that those most guilty will not ever see the inside of a cell or a burlap sack over their heads.
    If we can’t convict the upper echelon in charge of setting policy, then what is the purpose of going after functionaries? This question needs to be answered fully. What are the goals, and are they reachable? What is the best method for attaining those goals? There are real strategic questions here.
    I’m not ad-libbing anything, not even the horsehi!t. I honestly think that rational thinking needs to be brought to bear on goals and methods, and on likely outcomes before we go into prosecution mode. I don’t think the worst of the worst will be convicted, I think a bunch of Englands and Graners will get nailed for their bosses’ misdeeds. I think people will use such convictions to ease their own consciences with regard to their own complicity. But I’ve said all of this horsesh!t before. You see the world differently.
    Here’s a question for you, though. What set of charges would you bring against any one of the administration criminals? Cite the laws they’ve broken and the legal strategy for conviction. Remember that executive privilege will hide documents, shredding will hide documents, people will cover for each other. And the courts are likely to consider war time extremes as highly significant.
    The only hope for legal intervention is if, after Obama’s inauguration, huge numbers of former insiders speak out in disgust and they all corroborate each others’ stories and it’s all disclosure about actionable misdeeds. We could all hope for whistleblower heaven, but I’m not holding my breath on this one because the whistleblowers would likely be implicating themselves given the lateness of the hour.

    Reply

  44. TonyForesta says:

    You touch upon some interesting points Paul Norheim, and it is welomed to have a European, or outside of America opinion.
    Your half right with regard to my commentaries. While I never wrote or said anything like “the democrats basically are the opposite: good, well
    meaning, innocent and decent people”. I do stand on framing the bushgov accurately as a “fascist government”. Look up the word fascist and get back to me. People can attemp prettify the reality by using terms “unitary executive” to somehow make fascism seem tolerable, but it does not alter in anyway the fact that the conduct, policies, ideologies, and machinations of the bushgov are fascist.
    And while American exceptionalism, brutishness hubris arrogance and aggression may not have started in the bushgov, – the most radical and pathological extremes did and are being played out by the fascist in the bushgov.
    9/11 is the key. Subtract the Pearlharborlikeevent of 9/11 from the equation, and none, or very little of the bushgovs predation, fascism, perversion of the rule of law, and betrayal of the Constitution would have been possible.
    I agree, that after that dark day, Americans (largely a politically, historically, and culturally ignorant population) wanted payback. We wanted to kill arabs for knocking down our buildings and revenge the 3000. We did not really care what arabs we killed (being a largely politically, historically, and culturally ignorant population) – we just wanted the rockets red glare and the bombs bursting in air over arab cities. The fascists in the bushgov insidiously created an Hegellian dynamic and ghoulishly exploited the horrors and mayhen of 9/11, and ruthlessly exploited the ignorance and bloodlust of the American population to remake America into a fascist totalitarian dictatorship, and profiteer wantonly in and from the process.
    The fascists in the bushgov ghoulishly and ruthlessly exploited 9/11 to rape, shred, dismember, pervert, betray and reengineer the constitution.
    The fascists in the bushgov ghoulishly and ruthlessly exploited 9/11 to hurl our daughters and sons and hundreds of billions of the peoples dollar to a war that did not need to be fought, against a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11 EXCLUSIVELY for the profits of the fascist in the bushgov and their select cronies. PROFITEERING alone was and remains the singular goal of the bushgovs machinations and predations and criminal conduct in Iraq.
    The fascists in the bushgov ghoulishly and ruthlessly exploited 9/11 to steal elections, to slime opposition, and to divide America and the world into those who bowed unquestioning to the fascist in the bushgov, and everyone else who were framed as evildoers.
    The fascists in the bushgov ghoulishly and ruthlessly exploited 9/11 to betray, ignore, and set themselves above and beyond the rule of law, and our Constitution.
    The fascists in the bushgov ghoulishly and ruthless exploited 9/11 to shield, shade, cloak, brunt, detour, prohibit, and prevent any investigation into any of the bushgovs fascist machinations.
    Without the Pearharborlikeevent of 9/11, the fascists in the bushgov would not have been able to ghoulishly and ruthlessly decieve and maniuplate the ignorant people in the US into allowing America to be forever altered, permanently stained, and perhaps – destroyed for the wanton profits of the fascists in the bushgov.
    Lift the gag orders on Sibel Edmonds, Indira Singh, and others.
    Demand a real investigation into 9/11, and the fascist in the bushgov will be forever damned.
    If not, they slither away to oppulent retirements and rewrite history in five years.

    Reply

  45. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “There remains the question of whether or not Cheney et al were worried about enriching themselves or about keeping the nation safe”
    Have you always been this full of crap?
    How does the wanton politicization of the Justice Department fall under the heading of “keeping us safe”?
    Outing Plame, in your weird little world of excuses and justifications, was an act of patriotism by Dick Cheney?
    You really haven’t a clue, do you? You’re ad-libbing this horseshit.

    Reply

  46. questions says:

    Tuma,
    Thanks for the rec, and I’d add to Tutu’s remark one from Socrates — “They can kill me but they can’t harm me.” I think this is at the heart of what citizens need to understand. There remains the question of whether or not Cheney et al were worried about enriching themselves or about keeping the nation safe. I honestly don’t know the answer to this one. The former is criminal, the latter needs a big dose of Socratic work.
    I have often thought that Cold War thinking, longing for a bipolar world, the refusal to live more modestly, the inability to overcome American exceptionalism, and flat out greed all work together to put us where we are. Add to that the general tendency of demagoguery to be a highly successful domestic political strategy, a dash of Islamophobia, MNCs and lobbying, and a few random other ingredients and lo and behold, the world as it is.

    Reply

  47. Tuma says:

    Questions, and anyone else interested, Michael Lind’s book The
    American Way of Strategy offers some insight into how we got
    where we are. Not sure I totally buy his argument, but it’s worth
    reading. According to him, we went wrong when we decided to
    continue our Cold War strategies after the CW was over. But I’m
    not sure the fault doesn’t lie at a more fundamental level–with
    our basic relationship to the rest of the world.
    Just after 9/11, Chris Matthews had Desmond Tutu on his show
    and asked him something like, “What should we do?” Tutu said
    the place to start was with the realization and acceptance of the
    fact that we are all fundamentally vulnerable. Vulnerable in a
    way that no wall, no number of weapons, no army of whatever
    size can “protect” us from. Poor people and poor nations who
    are at the mercy of richer nations and who can’t hope to protect
    themselves against us, or any other marauder, know this. I think
    it’s a good place to start.
    A few weeks back, Bill Maher held up a picture of hurricane
    devastation in Texas and of the train wreck in California and
    said that, if these events had been caused by terrorists, we
    would have lost our collective shit and invaded Yemen. But since
    they weren’t, we’ve simply gone about picking up the pieces and
    trying to do better then next time, prevent the damage the next
    time, build defenses, etc. I thought that was a pretty profound
    insight, actually. Yeah, it’s worth noting that Bush got
    substantially more votes in 2004 than in 2000.

    Reply

  48. questions says:

    Paul,
    Thanks for the food for thought. You have, once again, hit on my biggest weakness which is indeed academic paralysis of analysis (I think that’s the phrase that gets used). But if the choice is between a reign of terror and beheadings and running in a less litigious direction, I might still choose to run away from the courts. I really need to think about the analogies with other massive human rights disasters and the treatment of the current class of culprits.
    I get the feeling that I am lost in between wishing to punish, wondering what if any punishment is appropriate, thinking that the legal system in this country is such that administration deciders will never see the inside of anything other than palaces in Paraguay (isn’t that where the Bushes have bought land??) and wondering what wider purpose punishment serves. Too much of the theorist in me to avoid these questions….
    And I think, as I’m reading Jane Mayer’s book, and have read Jack Goldman’s, that these people really did at times think they were doing what needed to be done. There may well be a sufficiently strong legal defense for many of their actions. This is not a moral defense, it’s not justice, it’s the law, and thus, the courts are not a recourse. It might be worse to have Addington, Cheney, Bush, Yoo, a stack of CIA agents, various aides, Powell, and whoever else declared officially innocent than it would be to have the truth proclaimed outside of a court system.

    Reply

  49. Paul Norheim says:

    For the record: as most of the regular commentators and some
    of the readers of TWN know, I am not an American, but a
    Norwegian. But I hope you`ll allow me to reflect on the issue of
    impeachment and related questions, since the actions of an
    American president also have global implications – also for
    Europe.
    “The idea that the American people are somehow guilty for the
    crimes of the Bush Administration is 100% completely fuckin’
    ludicrous.” (POA)
    100%?
    I disagree. As Questions said: a leader of a country does not
    operate in a vacuum. Obviously, the White House manipulated
    the people and the main stream media, especially after 9/11.
    But a large percent of the population supported torture,
    supported the war in Iraq, and they re-elected him in 2004. My
    guess is that if the Iraqi war had not been such a disaster on all
    levels; if America had been militarily successful in, say 2006,
    and had captured Bin Laden a year later, the majority of your
    population would say that Bush was a great president, despite
    the torture, despite the surveillance of the American people,
    despite the extension and abuse of power, despite the false
    accusations of WMD in Iraq.
    And you can not say, like Tony Foresta does frequently, that the
    GOP and the current administration is a “fascist government”,
    while the democrats basically are the opposite: good, well
    meaning, innocent and decent people – this is not very different
    from Kotzabasis distinguishing between “Western civilization”
    (good) and “islamo-fascism” (evil) in a global battle.
    American exceptionalism was not invented by George W. Bush;
    American arrogance and hubris was not invented by Bush;
    American aggression in foreign affairs was not invented by
    Bush; American ignorance is not something that is confined to
    the Oval Office from 2000-2008; all this somehow involves
    the population and the cultural infrastructure and mentality of
    the nation.
    If you distinguish strictly between a manipulative and criminal
    government and corporate media, lobbies and politicians on
    one side, and a completely innocent population on the other
    side, then you treat ordinary people like children, idiots, and/or
    victims, as well as overlooking deep structural, cultural and
    historical aspects beyond a particular administration and those
    who supported it, motivated by economical or political profit.
    Just like in every country where things go really wrong, there is
    guilt in both parties, among the representatives and those who
    were represented, among the rulers and the critics, the elites
    and the ordinary people.
    This does not imply that I agree with Questions when he says
    that guilt is so evenly spread that everybody should get an
    amnesty, because, as he argues, you can`t put everybody in jail.
    No. Guilt is not evenly spread, and some people were much
    more responsible than others; they had the executive power and
    the means to manipulate the people.
    If you follow Questions`argument, then nobody in Germany
    should be punished after 1945, because you can`t arrest the
    German people and put the whole country in jail.
    Secondly, if you agree with Questions that well paid lawyers will
    delay everything, implying that all will end up in legal
    absurdities, this could be applied to any crime on a high
    political level.
    Questions said: “We should remind ourselves that the climate of
    terror after 9/11/01 was real, that the fear of the extinction of
    the US was real, and that responses to it have to measured
    against all of that terror.”
    The climate? The fear? If you ask me, that`s fertile ground for
    crimes on a high level.
    The German Nazi leadership “felt” that they were threatened by
    Jews on a global scale on so many levels; the North Korean
    leadership “felt” that they had to abuse and manipulate the
    population because they were threatened by the capitalist
    Western powers; the Hutu leadership in Rwanda “felt” threatened
    by the Tutsis; the white leadership in South Africa “felt”
    threatened by the black population; the Israeli leadership “felt”
    threatened by the Arab population and the neighboring
    countries etc. etc… all this legitimizing any kind of abuse,
    because of the context, the climate, the fear.
    Everything you said, Questions, could as well have been applied
    to Hitler and those around him: a lot of this happened under a
    state of emergency, they were at war, and they strongly felt that
    the Jews was a part of a global conspiracy that threatened
    Germany. And a majority of the population supported them.
    I`ve said it before, Questions, and I`ll repeat it:
    Sometimes I think you complicate political issues to such a
    degree that they disappear in a fog of complexities (an
    academical habit?). The law is still the law, and some people are
    actually more responsible, more guilty than others.
    Complicating things too much is often an easy way out: the
    world is very complex, and all of us are guilty, so let`s try to
    avoid dramatic confrontations and instead analyze these
    complexities post factum, when we have more data.
    Truth and reconciliation?
    Why adapt the South African solution for issues and a context
    that are completely incommensurable?
    Serbian leaders ended up in the Criminal Court in Hague.
    However, American criminals are different from criminals in
    other parts of the planet, indeed very special bandits (due to
    American exceptionalism), and Cheney, Addington, Yoo and
    Bush will not end up in a jail in Hague.
    The leaders of the Rwandan genocide ended up in courts and
    jails in Arusha, Tanzania, as well as in Hague; and Rwanda
    made new rules for those large parts of the population
    participating in the killing.
    In Nürenberg, the allied forces established a criminal court for
    the Nazi leadership, and the nations involved in the war
    established national courts.
    My point?
    1) In all these examples, parts of the people were guilty as well,
    and not only the leadership.
    2) The examples mentioned above (Nazi Germany, Rwanda,
    Serbia, South-Africa) are very different cases, rooted in a
    specific context and history. And I would say, without
    hesitation, that in these examples, the general population was
    more deeply involved in the crimes then is the case in USA
    under the Bush administration.
    America has to find its own way in dealing with the crimes
    during the Bush years, different from the historical examples
    mentioned above, including South Africa.
    You Americans, and we (the outside world) need to find out
    what actually happened (just like in the Watergate case and
    Vietnam). Some people should be punished for their crimes.
    And USA should get rid of the fatal concept of the “Unitary
    Executive”, the Global War On Terror, and the Yoo/Addington
    definition of “unlawful combatants” applied to the enemies in
    this war.
    And then you, the people, should question the infamous and
    fatal American exceptionalism.
    P.S.
    Questions, I`ve not read your last post above before I posted
    this -I`ll read it later.

    Reply

  50. questions says:

    I’m going to make one more suggestion here, POA. You’ll probably be EPOAaEMCoQHN (Even More Pissed Off American and Even More Convinced of questions’s Horsesh!t Nature…), but here goes….
    Try reading a short short Plato dialogue called “The Euthyphro” — it’s most likely on line in a couple of translations. Ask yourself if Euthyphro should prosecute his father, if the lines of guilt are clear, if there’s just enough evidence that Euthyphro is either misreading the events or maybe has an ulterior motive in going ahead with the prosecution. Ask yourself if guilt is really always clear. Ask yourself if you have the knowledge to proceed with the prosecution. Ask yourself what the results of prosecution are. Ask yourself if Euthyphro’s father acted the best way he could.
    Then ask yourself what Euthyphro’s legal advice for Socrates means. How would Euthyphro run Socrates’s trial? (The Euthryphro takes place as Socrates is heading to trial on charges of corrupting the youth of Athens and teaching false gods. (Euthyphro is prosecuting his own father, Socrates is being prosecuted by his own city.)Socrates is found guilty, sentenced to death by drinking hemlock. The whole thing is captured in The Euthyphro, The Apology, The Crito and the Phaedo. It’s good reading, and a tear jerker by the end.)
    Now take all of these questions and apply them to the current situation. Do we have enough knowledge that indeed the actions were crimes and are we really ready for the consequences of putting our own government and our whole political system on trial? Is there any mitigating evidence? It’s more complex than you’d allow, and the lines of guilt are muddier than we’d all like. Next, ask yourself how the lawyers will behave. How will the courtroom work? Next, ask yourself if what you/we get out of all of this is what we should be after.
    For my part, I’m not sure of any of the answers.

    Reply

  51. questions says:

    POA, you entirely miss the point. Entirely. Something like 80% or more of the country thought at the time that the Iraq War was just peachy. Large numbers of people liked “Bring it on”, “Mission Accomplished”, and Bush’s “Let’s just say they won’t be” bothering us again swagger. Is this the stuff of guilt? I don’t really have a good answer for it, but I can say that we did not foment a revolution during the war, we did not do our “level best” to end it. We let it happen. To that extent, we all are guilty. To the extent that we did not read enough, did not think enough, did not demand better news than Fox provides, we are, as a nation, guilty. I personally will exonerate you from all charges because I’m sure that your soul is heaven-ready, pure as an angel, and never capable of anything even approaching horsesh!t. I refuse to exonerate myself though, because I am a beneficiary of the system in this country and I really think Hobbes’s insight into the creation of sovereign power and authority makes a lot of sense.
    In my humble opinion, the Iraq War and the Global War OF Terror we have inflicted are system-wide failures, and there’s plenty of guilt to go around. We the people have allowed ourselves time and again to fear invaders, terrorists, others, while powerful demagogues perform all of the acts of kleptocracy. We could try to send them to prison, and we would still be us.
    I think, POA, that you would very much like to throw the bums out, lock the castle gates, and feel cleansed. Fine. I don’t think it’s so easy to figure out who should be in and who should be out of the castle. But, once again, I’m an asinine spouter of horsesh!t, in your view, and I’m not to be taken seriously nor are my arguments. You haven’t said anything new.
    I do not think it’s a diversion. I think the real diversion is a series of show trials that would function mostly as a way of exonerating US while casting our guilt on those who undertook these actions in our name. I don’t think Cheney, who authorized torture, international theft, national theft, who helped his friends, harmed his enemies, and harmed his nation, Bush who seems to have violated Constitutional separations of powers, and Congress who seems to have let it all happen — I don’t think any of these actual doers of the deeds are as guilty as are the people who actually approved of these actions.
    Again, this mess happened on our watch. It’s a systemwide failure, and we aren’t about to put all of us in prison.
    POA, I know you disagree.

    Reply

  52. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The idea that the American people are somehow guilty for the crimes of the Bush Administration is 100% completely fuckin’ ludicrous. Unless, of course, you’re the jackass forwarding such asinine blather. Then, yes, you are just as slimey, and definitely complicit.
    But its a diversion, isn’t it? Cast guilt onto those that would indict, to discourage the indictment? It complete horseshit, Questions. Complete and utter horseshit.

    Reply

  53. questions says:

    TonyForesta,
    Your list is truly disheartening, I have to admit. If I thought there was even half a chance of a conviction of someone who isn’t a scapegoat I might be all for it. But remember, Lynndie England and Charles Graner did time; Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld didn’t. Torture was/is official policy, but only the underlings get nailed.
    And still I’m not sure that nailing these guys would do what needs to be done. When you locate guilt outside of yourself, when you find the OTHER to be the criminal, you can exonerate yourself in a kind of feel-good collective “phew, I’m not the guilty one” sigh of relief. And then what? You go ahead and vote for the Torture Party candidate in the next election. Truth and Reconciliation might acutally accuse us all more properly.

    Reply

  54. TonyForesta says:

    Thanks for your erudite, and hilarious response questions. The Truth & Reconciliation Commission may indeed be our best option. I hold the conviction that if actual independent investigations are pursued – into 9/11, the manipulation of intelligence, information warfare conducted on the American people, torture policies, blanket spying on Americans without due process or just cause, the revenge outing of Valerie Plame and Brewster Jennings and Associates, and the systemic wanton profiteering, – crimes will be unearthed. The bushgov, and the lockstep partisans in the gop successfully stuffed, stymied, or gained managerial control of the few investigations that were undertaken, – so in effect – we (America) never had independent investigations into any of these issues.
    Yes it will require political courage, and yes, investigations may be time consuming and a distraction from the many crisis facing the Obama administration and America – but these pursuits will prove to the world and our posterity that America is a nation that honors and abides by the rule of law, and our own Constitution.
    With regard to punishments after convictions and appeals, – that is an issue for the courts, – but justice for me at least is application of the law with total equanimity and without immunity.

    Reply

  55. questions says:

    TonyForesta,
    “High crimes and misdemeanors” doesn’t include dissembling about the meaning of “is” or “sex”. and I’ve never been concerned about where Bill Clinton keeps his sex organs. It was a partisan hack job. It would not be a partisan hack job to go after Bush et al. But that doesn’t mean that it would be useful, workable, fruitful, or even likely.
    If the desire is, as you say, a legacy of proof that we did the right thing so that our children can see this (a beautiful thought in my opinion), the question we need to ask is HOW do we create this legacy? Legal wrangling may actually do the opposite of what you want, whereas a Truth and Reconciliation Commission might actually accomplish just this legacy.
    The underlying issue here might well be what Socrates asks in Book I of the Republic — What is justice? Is it telling the truth and paying debts, helping friends and harming enemies, doing what the strongest demand, none of the above, all of the above? The rest of the Republic is a long and complicated answer that discloses its own failings.
    So what would justice be then? Execution? Prison time? Loss of fortune? What good would these do and is this good what we should be aiming for?
    I tend to think that speaking the truth might be the best service we could do to justice. Bush isn’t going to go to prison, and Iraq’s dead aren’t coming back to life, and we can’t rewind history and change the election results. What we can do, though, is have the truth spoken, ackowledged, understood, attested to, taught, and made part of our history. Beyond that, I wouldn’t know what to ask for.
    And if you want to come back to the high crimes and misdemeanors, again, you need to cite chapter and verse of the code/laws/treaties that various specific memeber of the administration violated. You need documentary evidence, you need to break through their likely thorough CYA memos. I am unconvinced that there would be sufficient grounds for conviction. Wars do funny things to people in and out of power. If only Bush had lied under oath about his penis….

    Reply

  56. TonyForesta says:

    Though sadly your bleek assessments may be correct questions, – that should not, and will not prevent some of your fellow Americans from pushing for accountability from the fascists in the bushgov for various and multiple high crimes and misdemeanors. Even a failed attempt at forcing accountability will leave a record that our children, and future historians can examine proving that at least a few Americans were not willing to tolerate abuses, criminal conduct, systemic deception, and wanton profiteering from the bushgov, – and that at least a few Americans hold the conviction that no-one – not a president or vp, or any cabinet official is above or beyond the law.
    One last question question, – what was your position during the Clinton impeachment?

    Reply

  57. questions says:

    Tuma,
    Michael’s is a craft supply store. Right after 9/11, there was some trend noted of “nesting”– doing craft projects at home. Many shopping centers have Michael’s stores, and so the sniper, who was shooting in shopping center parking lots, seemed, in confused correlation, to be targeting Michael’s stores.
    POA, are you still on the WigWag=questions thing? Or was this insult directed not at my post but at something WigWag actually wrote? Why don’t you ask Steve if he could just check on IP addresses to confirm that we’re different people. It might ease the strain you’re clearly under.
    My basic point is that there aren’t likely to be terror trials. I’m not sure that terror trials would solve anything. No one is going to prison over this, and so trial aimed at prison will SEEM like action and not at all BE action. As Bob Dylan writes somewhere, “Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king.” Well, we have a lot of kings roaming free and some petty thieves in jail.
    When a whole society is ruled by a mass delusion, imprisoning a few miscreants solves nothing and imprisoning a whole society is impossible.
    And POA, the argument is not that our leaders are above the law, it’s more that there are two sets of laws, one for everyday life, and one for crisis. It isn’t murder when you kill in self-defense, and it isn’t murder when you kill during war. The war defense will be used, I promise you.
    There has been some scholarship outlining possible impeachment charges for Bush — that’s the place to start. Then get a really good lawyer to read the charges and see what the defense will be. Could conviction occur? Not likely.
    And KGalt, we’re not a signatory to the ICC, so don’t look there either. There isn’t justice at the level we’d like, and I’m not sure we’d know what to ask for if there were justice. It’s not so easy to figure out.

    Reply

  58. Jersey says:

    I was in Bydgszcoszcz (it’s a little place in the middle of nowhere in Poland) and even there the excitement for Obama was palpable.

    Reply

  59. K Galt says:

    Pissed Off American POA. Few Americans want to think about how many Iraqi people have been killed, injured or displaced in this war of choice based on a “pack of lies”. Easier to stay in the American bubble with your petal to the metal repeating “we’re number one, we’re the best” as our military basically destroyed the infrastructure of Iraq and created an environment for Religious tensions to rise and destroy. Pathetic and immoral
    If there is a hell those responsible for these
    atrocities will burn there. I would much prefer witnessing them held accountable by the International Criminal Court for their war crimes.
    And we wonder why folks around the world fear us
    Archbishop Tutu did a great interview with Amy Goodman about this on Friday
    http://www.democracynow.org/2008/11/21/south_african_archbishop_desmond_tutu_on

    Reply

  60. Tuma says:

    questions writes: ” am not advocating a torture regime. And I do
    think that crimes have been committed by the highest officials in
    the nation, and by the nation as a whole, and by a huge number of
    citizens whose fear took away their souls and whose president,
    response, sent them to Michael’s until the DC snipers made the
    nation run away from Michael’s.”
    I like your thinking…but what is Michael’s?

    Reply

  61. K Galt says:

    Hope someone sends this to Clinton and Obama. They need to expand their views on just what is going on in Iran
    http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/experts.pdf

    Reply

  62. K Galt says:

    Pissed off American.
    I agree since when did applying the law for very serious crimes become “vindictiveness”. These are pathetic yet successful efforts to hide from the complicity that both Dems and Republicans are drowning in when it comes to the lack of serious effort made to hold the Bush administration accountable for their many serious crimes.
    This is the very least that our Reps should do for those who have needlessly lost their lives in a war based on a “pack of lies”

    Reply

  63. K Galt says:

    Hope Hillary and Obama read this. With Hillary as the Secretary of State who needs Lieberman pushing for a radical actions towards Iran?
    Joint Experts’ Statement on Iran
    Below is a statement on Iran that I and others are hoping will be adopted in Washington as a way forward. Any of my readers who has a way of getting this statement to decision-makers in Washington should please do so. Just Foreign Policy is doing it as a petition. Also, my blogger colleagues should please comment widely on it.
    It was carried by wire services such as Reuters
    and also the Associated Press.
    Juan’s Links
    Joint Experts Statement On Iran
    http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/experts.pdf
    http://americanforeignpolicy.org/
    http://capwiz.com/justforeignpolicy/issues/alert/?alertid=12212141&type=CO

    Reply

  64. kathleen Galt says:

    Saw the segment. You were clear and on point. No fluff.
    Great to hear again that folks around the world are excited about Obama. Let’s hope this administration ends up deserving that enthusiasm.
    Hillary’s voted for the 2002 war resolution, her yes vote on the Kyl Lieberman amendment, her consistent rolling over to the I lobby, her unnecessary and warmongering comments about Iran does not look good for Iran or the I/P conflict.
    So far Obama has slapped Progressives in the face.
    Professor Juan Cole has a request up having to do with policy and Iran
    From Juan cole
    http://americanforeignpolicy.org/
    http://capwiz.com/justforeignp…..38;type=CO
    check out the new report signed by Juan Cole and other heavy hitters

    Reply

  65. TonyForesta says:

    The revenge outing of Valerie Plane and Brewster Jennings & Associates, was not only an act of treason (according Bush the elder), but also disrupted the nations counter WMD proliferations operations. Bodies are still falling on the other side of Plames and Brewster Jennings & Associates contacts.
    It is not vindictive to demand are real investigation into 9/11.
    It is not vindictive to demand investigations into the deceptive mass marketing, message-force multiplying, and propagandizing a war that was not necessary, and should not have been fought.
    Did the bushgov utilize military information warfare tactics on the American people?
    The wanton profiteering is still not being dicsussed. Any cursory examination of the massive explosion of the private military, private intelligence, and private propaganda industrial complexes delineates direct links to cronies in the bushgov who awarded these openended, nobid, multihundred million dollar contracts without review, recourse, or remedy for abuse behind the peoples back, and then profiteered wantonly from said contracts.
    The list “grave, grave breaches, and intentional breaches of the president’s authority” by the fascists in the bushgov is long and festering.
    No one bothers to mention the grim FACT that for the last two years when dozens of economic Nobel laurettes were raising alarms and warning of economic collapse – the fascists, pathological liers, and wanton profiteers in the bushgov were daily pimping the partisan party line lie that the “fundamentals of the economoy are strong’, that the markets were acting normally, that they, and we should be optimistic. This rhetoric pimped by the bushgov intentionally decieved the American people with regard to the seriousness and certainty of the economic collapse, that many people, (and I was one of them) were warning about years ago.
    While some Americans may find it convenient or expedient politically to look past these crimes treacheries, treasons and wanton profiteering, many of us, and I echoe many of POA’s points do not.
    How do we teach our children about our system of laws and the structure of our government and instill in them the desire to be lawabiding citizens – if we allow criminals, traitors, perverted torturers, pathological liars, and wanton profiteers to slither away to oppulent retirements?
    I’m all for reconciliation, – but crimes, treacheries, treasons, pathological lying, and wanton profiteering will never be off the table or reconciled until there is accountability.

    Reply

  66. PissedOffAmerican says:

    One and a quarter MILLION Iraqis.
    Whats the difference between murdering them over a five year span, or simply just nuking a city?
    Who is the terrorist?

    Reply

  67. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breaches, and intentional breaches of the president’s authority” – Obama
    So? Have such abuses occurred?
    One must answer; undeniably.
    So tell me, if Obama does not believe that “grave and intentional breaches of the president’s authority” have occurred, then what does he expect to get away with himself? Does he think he can govern with the same degree of criminality, and not be held to account?
    Well, he’s right. He can, and probably will. The precedent has been set, and the people have shown that they will roll-over and accept “grave and intentional breaches of the president’s authority”. And these idiotic jackasses in our society will shrug and say “well, its just the way its done”, and besides, we wouldn’t want our leaders to be “politically vindictive”, would we?
    Uhhhm, I have a hard time wrapping my head around what could be more “politically vindictive” than the politically motivated outing of CIA operatives, or politically motivated prosecutions by our Justice Department. But hey, what do I know?

    Reply

  68. DonS says:

    I tend to agree with you POA. One of the early lessons I got from law school was that law and justice are not synonymous. Its probably the biggest reason I didn’t follow a legal career.
    But like many in my predicament, the notion of a justice system that is run to dispense justice remains a very fond ideal.
    We’ve heard a lot about how the justice system, particularly the replacement of US Attorneys has never been politicized as Bush/Cheney/Gonzo did. Maybe so. If its that obvious to even the flack media, then a smart lawyer like Obama ought to be as ouraged as some of the rest of us.

    Reply

  69. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The reality is that we should never have gotten to this juncture, where the debate is not whether or not crimes have been committed, but whether or not we will “choose” to prosecute those crimes.
    The law does not allow for such “choice”, nor do the oaths of office sworn to by the custodians of our laws.
    That is why the blatant and wanton politicization of our Justice Department stands above all the other crimes committed by the Bush Administration. If no one is held accountable for this, than none of the other crimes matter, because we have told our leaders that the law is little more than a political hammer, to be ignored, or dispensed, on the whims of power.

    Reply

  70. DonS says:

    The American people are complicit if you believe that they succumbed to the “all fear all the time” regime that the Cheney administration put out.
    Whether the American people are willing to admit they were duped far more than they should have been, or whether ‘they’ get their backs and reflexively condone all that was done because of “national security” concerns is all a matter of presentation and reportage. The presentation must be Obama’s.
    Unless, perhaps, Hillary [for example] could be surrogate number one and do the soul searching and public apology she, and a mess of other Dems and Repubs in power have failed to do so far. Its probably asking far too much of our public “servants” to suddenly become honest and transparent.
    Between the “few rotten eggs” and “massive and total capitulation/complicity” scenarios, a way is certainly possible to expose the rot in the system — or in the people who populate the system — or both, to indicate that covering up massive crimes is not the American way. And yes, legalistically, the crimes may be papered over already. That’s fine for the lawyers and their ‘clients’. But legalistic explanations are hollow in the face of the enormity of what has transpired.
    I think Obama must get out in front of this accountability thing before the possibility becomes mired in politics as usual — if it hasn’t already.

    Reply

  71. PissedOffAmerican says:

    What a load of dissembling horseshit. We are supposed to be a nation of laws, and dreaming up politically expedient reasons to ignore the law sullies the whole charade.
    So, with these long winded over-intellectualized essays of mental masturbation, such as wig-wag’s, we see the argument being offered that our leaders are in fact above the law.
    And if outing a CIA operative that was involved in covert operations to discover the the extent of Iran’s nuclear ambitions is not treason, than the “War on Terror” is not a valid premise, is it?
    It is really quite simple; either we have laws, or we don’t. Either our so called “representatives” serve the people and the law, or they don’t. Either we have a universal law for ALL the people, or we don’t. And the truth is obvious. To all three alternatives, the “don’ts” have prevailed.
    And as long as these jackasses like Arun or Wig-wag dream up justifications, and accept the status quo of Washington lawlessness and corruption, then they deserve the government they get. Trouble is, those of us that expect a higher standard, and practice the true patriotism of honor and respect for the rule of law, DON’T deserve these lying posturing pieces of shit and their blatant criminal disregard for everything this nation once stood for.

    Reply

  72. questions says:

    On accountability….
    If the OLC gave the legal green light to torture, if Yoo’s memos carry legal weight, if there’s any definition of “is” that allows waterboarding to be something other than torture, then the torture policy isn’t a high crime or misdemeanor.
    Outing Plame isn’t treason unless it gave aid and comfort to the enemy during war. (And we should note that Cockburn has reminded us that lefties in the 60s would have reveled at the outing….)
    We should remind ourselves that the climate of terror after 9/11/01 was real, that the fear of the extinction of the US was real, and that responses to it have to measured against all of that terror. (My DC family was pretty convinced death was nearby. My NYC family felt about the same….)
    We should remember that courts and Congress give special room to misbehavior during war.
    We should remember that large numbers of people in this country supported the reign of terror/torture/bombing of Iraq/hanging of Saddam Hussein…. These actions did not come out of a vacuum. We are accountable, too.
    We should remember that legalisms will RULE if there are trials. There are some pretty good lawyers out there ready and waiting to defend their clients.
    We should remember that the lessons of the past do not translate well to the future. We already have been through legalized slavery, alien and sedition acts, internment of American citizens of Japanese descent living near the Pacific coast, Joe McCarthy, lynchings…. We don’t take the lessons of the past and apply them, we repeat the actions in variation.
    Legal accountability will cause a “chilling effect” that would mostly be WONDERFUL, but might do a disservice just once somewhere. The Clinton people had bin Laden in their sights and refused to jump because of legality. Was this refusal moral? Probably. Was it world-historically speaking the right action? Harder to say. Would I have authorized an execution style raid? No way, but I’m not the President, or CIA, or a spy. I’m too veggie for any of that messy hands stuff.
    So where does this all put us? Obama is reportedly leaning towards a Truth and Reconciliation commission. This approach seems to me to be rational. We need to know all of the steps we authorized (read Hobbes on “Persons, Authors, and Things Personated”). We need to know just how evil we became. We need to be inside the heads of the torturers and the tortured and even, dear G-d, in the head of John Yoo and Dick Cheney and David Addington, help us all. We need to KNOW what happened.
    But the crimes run through our entire nation and we’re not going to lock all of us up in prison and throw away the key. We need to restore the proper channels of government, the proper direction of authority (people up, not Cheney down), we need to see ourselves as we are, not as we fantasize.
    Outside of Truth and RECONCILIATION, I don’t see anything constructive. And indeed, constructive is better than destructive/devisive legal wrangling. Make no mistake, the wrangling would go on for eons. (Read Dickens’s book (title escapes me for now) featuring Jarndyce vs Jarndyce to get a sense of this.)
    So before we scream for accountability, we should figure out whom we wish to hold accountable for what, and where we put those who are accountable.
    I am not advocating a torture regime. And I do think that crimes have been committed by the highest officials in the nation, and by the nation as a whole, and by a huge number of citizens whose fear took away their souls and whose president, response, sent them to Michael’s until the DC snipers made the nation run away from Michael’s.

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  73. DonS says:

    I said “he has laid out an economic stimulus plan. Priority one.”
    ‘…’ said “DonS – i disagree with your assessment of priority # 1… the economic dynamic is a continuation of the same: lack of accountability… ”
    No argument. My point should have been that if Obama is addressing policy issues during this interregnum, than he can certainly address the issue of accountability. It is fundamental to differentiating his own administration, not too mention any semblance of decency and honesty in politics, from what we have had.
    I expect he will ignore the obvious in the hope of comity. But wishing for that from the complicit is just giving them more darkness to hide in and plan their next schemes.
    Many across the blogosphere and elsewhere call it premature to get all over Obama for not addressing this, or that. Even as they applaud the policy statements he has made, and which they approve of.
    The American habit of selectively forgetting massive malfeasance may be based in the false assumption that, being the biggest and the baddest, we get to determine consensus reality. Over and over. 911 didn’t cause the Iraq invasion — and all the criminality before and after by the Bushies — and anyone with a brain knows that. But without some real accountability, that’s the story that sells.
    Closing your eyes wont make it go away. Obama only get’s one shot at “taking it from the top”. After that its all reaction.
    Just as the politicos constantly underestimated how desperately the Amreican people want change, they underestimate, I believe, the importance of accountability. If we dont get that right then, by God, lives have been lost in vain, and the past, once again, indeed prologue . . .

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  74. Arun says:

    Yes, PermanentlyPissedOffAmerican, 40% or more of the voters will consider *at this moment of time* (and Obama has not even taken office yet) accountability to be vindictiveness.
    You are no better than Bush if you are that impervious to reality.

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  75. kotzabasis says:

    This is an explosion of Steve’s libido of idealism after the inhibitions and frustrations he suffered under the Bush-Cheney administration. Finally, in the cloudless sky of Obama made American idealism we are seeing Steve taking wings. But he cannot see that it’s too dangerous to fly too close to the Sun of idealism and those who do ultimately have the fate of Icarus, like all idealistic ventures that cannot be backed by reality.
    It’s obvious that the American intelligentsia and its counterpart in Europe are still playing with the silky and well varnished toys of their childhood in an adult milieu. They countenance the ‘brutal’ geopolitics of the world like Church prelates who by spreading the aroma of their balm to this world they will make this miasma of brutality disappear.

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  76. section9 says:

    Naaaaaaah… Zathras. It’s worse. Steve’s turning into Andrew
    Sullivan: a fanboy.
    This adulation and hagiographic Dear Leader Cult will begin to
    subside when the Eurotrash, the Arabs, the Russians, and most of
    all, the Chinese, put Obama in his place and pursue their national
    interests in their usual ruthless manner.
    But for now, we have to endure the Torchlight Parade…

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  77. ... says:

    there is a difference between being vindictive and seeking accountability… the motive for each is very different.. sure, someone could hide behind an excuse for one while really seeking the other, but the desire to revenge (vindictiveness) is nowhere the same as a desire for justice (accountability).. bushs presidency is described very well by the former, whereas it was hoped that obama’s would be described by the later.. clearly that is a false image that never had any substance to it during the election period…

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  78. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So, respect for, and application of the law is now an act of “political vindictiveness”?
    Horseshit.
    Impeachment not only SHOULD have been pursued by these limp wristed pieces of shit, they were sworn by oath to uphold our Constitution, therefore they were DUTY BOUND to pursue accountability.
    If you think Obama is going to pursue accountability, you’re out of your mind. He has already stated that he thinks impeachment should be pursued only in the case of extreme abuses of power. Obviously he doesn’t care to admit that such abuses have in fact, irrefutably, occurred in the course of these last eight years.
    “Politically vindictive”, my ass. Its called “upholding the law”.

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  79. Zathras says:

    OK, stipulate at the beginning that this comment is influenced by a combination of one part Hardy’s Whiskers Blake Classic Tawny from southeastern Australia and two parts Nyquil, which in combination with the seasonal illness they are intended to treat may have influenced either my hearing or my memory, or both.
    I thought I heard Steve Clemons reference the possibility that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might become the new Henry Kissinger. The commentary as a whole comes straight out of the middle of the mainstream media thundering journalistic herd, together with analogies to TV cop shows (“good cop, bad cop”). This specific comment, however, may just possibly be the single dumbest thing ever uttered on MSNBC. It is in the running for the single dumbest thing ever said on cable television ever.
    Henry Kissinger opened China with a team of five people plus Secret Service agents. Hillary Clinton doesn’t use just five people to do her hair.
    I apologize if the above-mentioned consideration has led me to mischaracterize Steve Clemons’ comment (he may have meant to say that Hillary Clinton will be the new Harry Kissinger, after the famous hot dog vendor at Shea Stadium in New York. This observation would be inscrutable but not necessarily dumb), and it is certainly possible that I have forgotten a number of comments made on MSNBC with a dumbness quotient up there with Steve Clemons’ here today. Any MSNBC viewers wishing to complain about this should e-mail their comments directly to Steve Clemons.

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  80. Arun says:

    Steve, that was an excellent five minute analysis!
    My take on Obama is that his reconciliation with Lieberman and meeting with McCain is that the era of the permanent campaign is over.
    I also think if Obama establishes in Americans’ consciousness that he is **not politically vindictive**, then he will be able to address the accountability issue for the Bush Administration without tearing apart the country (remember, 40+% of the voters are still unclear about accountability).

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  81. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The war is one thing. Its not the first time lies have been advanced to justify military action. (Although, in terms of lives lost, the Iraqi body count is quite impressive. Bush and Cheney definitely deserve a spot next to Hitler, Pol pot and Amin.)
    But even more egregious and terrifying is the blatant politicization of our Justice Department. This is the true gauge of just how despicably cavalier these criminals were at despoiling the very essence of what we used to stand for, to symbolize.
    A close second, and an action that Cheney and Bush should actually hang for, if prosecuted and convicted, is their outing of a CIA operative. Thats treason, pure and simple.
    Third, is the torture. Of course, we undoubtedly have tortured in the past, behind the scenes. As policy. But the irrefutable lies, scapegoating, and denials that have occurred on Bush’a watch have destroyed any moral high standing we once enjoyed in demanding humane treatment of our own troops. Who can forget when this piece of shit George Bush lamented the Chinese “parading our air crew in front of cameras”? What right does the treasonous little prick have now to demand fair treatment of any of our kids that end up in enemy hands? How can ANY President now stand before the world community and decry the use of torture, rendition, or unlawful imprisonment?
    Do we really think the world community has bought the deceptions, denials, and blatantly dishonest public statements? The whole world knows what evil lying devils Dick Cheney and George Bush are. They’ve fooled no one except the propaganda swilling idiots that would vote a Palin into the White House.
    And if Barack Obama lets these crimes go unanswered, than he is telling the whole world that we aren’t what we claim to be, and that our leaders are answerable to NO ONE, not even those that they’ve taken an oath to serve, their own constituents and countrymen.

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  82. .. says:

    Tuma – all the work is based off an unwillingness to account…the same mistakes keep on repeating and worse- what the usa thinks of itself is a hollow facade that is becoming clear to all… i am not interested in punishment, but some form of acknowledgment… what was the libby pardon?? was that any type of acknowledgment of the gov’t’s complicity in outing a cia agent?? what was bush/cheneys presence at the 9-11 commission where nothing they said could be recorded and they weren’t able to answer questions individually??? no accountability for 9-11, let alone a war in iraq, afganastan and on and on and on… sure, take a long view.. what is going to be different as the usa tries to move forward from here? – my 2c’s – nada…

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  83. karenk says:

    I worry about Obama’s approach to Afghanistan and Pakistan. He’s right to say we do need to focus there to catch those who have showed us they can seriously hurt us, but these are complex places and a wrong move can be disatrous. Just sending in more(tired 3rd tour) troops who miss home won’t do it. Gotta get a better strategy. It seems right now that we’re going the way of the Russians in Afghanistan-wasting lives,time and money with no real end in sight and less than optimal results so far, while our own economy is suffering.

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  84. Tuma says:

    Let’s take a longer view here…
    Were the slaveholders held accountable for their crimes?
    Were the perpetrators of Jim Crow ever held accountable?
    How about the folks who prosecuted the Viet Nam criminal war?
    Two or three or four wrongs don’t make a right–but America
    seems to go in for “course correction” rather than “punishment.”
    Except when you can single out one or two people. Then we pile
    on. Obama is not going to embroil the country in accountability
    trials when there’s so much work to do.

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  85. ... says:

    DonS – i disagree with your assessment of priority # 1… the economic dynamic is a continuation of the same : lack of accountability… i have argued this regularly and continue to believe strongly that accountability is the most important issue facing the usa and obama… at this point as both poa, myself and others continue to point out – things don’t look very promising with obama to date.. i would like to believe otherwise, but reality to date says their will be no accountability in everything that has happened to date and that is saying a lot given where bush/cheney have brought america to circa 2008…

    Reply

  86. DonS says:

    Not nit picking I don’t think. Obama was very strong against Iraq.
    Shouldn’t accountability figure somewhere in his calculus.
    True, he’s not yet in office. But he has laid out an economic stimulus plan. Priority one.
    But if accountability get’s lost, its like ignoring the implications history will draw about the behavior of the US in this crucial time.
    Remember, George Bush only get’s to write one version, but if its not opposed, its becomes the version of this generation.

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  87. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Has Bush committed acts that rise to the standard of impeachability?
    Absolutely.
    Obama denied that Bush has committed such acts. What does this say about his honesty, and his respect for the law?
    Three people have consistently predicted the outcome of Bush’s policies, have opposed those policies, and have advocated for accountability consistently and unwaveringly. Kucinich, Paul, and Conyers.(Athough Conyers seems to have been neutered lately). Do you see Obama appointing cabinet members that have been consistently right? Have argued for accountability?
    Bush and Cheney are going to skate. So are Gonzales and Rumsfeld. The domestic spying is ongoing, and is going to go unpunished. The torture continues, and is going to go unpunished. A precedent has been set, and unless Obama demands and pursues accountability, all bets are off, our Presidents need not fear being held accountable for criminal acts.
    Our Senate cheers criminals, for God’s sakes. Convicted felons get standing ovations. Cabinet members say “fuck you” to Congressional subpoenas. Records and correspondences are destroyed in direct violation of the law.
    And to a man, those in our government that have demanded accountability are being ignored by Barack Obama. Muzzled. Belittled as wackos. Shunned by the media. Denied positions in the President Elect’s administration.
    Barack Obama cannot pursue accountability, because he is hiring many of the criminals. To pursue accountability would be to indict key figures in his own party, and yes, in his own administration.
    George Bush will retire wealthy, unchallenged, unaccountable, and responsible for an as yet untold amount of misery, mayhem, and murder.
    And if George Bush can get away with it, why can’t Obama? Whats to stop him?

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  88. questions says:

    Nestor,
    I think that there’s a third possibility and that’s to think through what kind of war hawks these people are. It is one thing to have voted for the Iraq Qar Resolution hoping that a)Bush wouldn’t actually go right to war and b)you’d avoid re-election peril; it’s a completely different thing to have voted for the war if c)you thought Iraq really had weapons of mass destruction and really was an imminent danger or that d)it was okay to “take out” our client, Saddam Hussein; it’s still another category if you thought that e)US war power could/should be used whenever the US so deems. Choice a is stupid, choice b is immoral, choice c is ignorant, choice d is real politik, and the real hawks occupy the space of choice e. So voting for the war resolution was bad in many different ways for the various people Obama is selecting, but it doesn’t seem to occupy the worst position, e. I wouldn’t excuse these people or clear them of charges of stupidity and immorality, but I would suggest that as cabinet members, they’re not in re-election-anxiety mode and so might be less dangerous.
    It’s worth remembering that when people act in groups, no one individual takes responsibility for the actions of the whole. Each pro-war vote then is not in itself a cause of the war. Great rationalization.

    Reply

  89. Mr.Murder says:

    Why are reporters shy of asking Obama about instating a draft?
    It’s the only way we can surge Afghanistan and maintain an occupation in Iraq.
    Where’s the tough questions?

    Reply

  90. ... says:

    >>holding someone, anyone, responsible<< i think this is the glitch in your overview steve… so far obama has shown no inclination towards accountability… fisa and lieberman are the first two examples that come to mind.. don’t get me wrong.. i like obama and i would like to see some positive change as much as anyone else, but expecting any type of accountability in an obama gov’t at this point is hoping for more then he has demonstrated to date….

    Reply

  91. Tintin says:

    I like Dan’s very thorough analysis.
    I tend to think that Hillary was chosen for SOS largely to solve
    the IP conflict. She has a lot of credibility on the domestic front
    with various constituencies. She is associated with all the folks
    who made the last serious attempt to solve the crisis. And there
    is huge “Clinton” motivation to finish what they regard as
    unfinished business. A way to button up their legacy on this
    front.
    And, as Dan says, she is a very hard worker with a real need to
    achieve and come away with results–as is Obama.
    (In fact, one of the things that makes me most hopeful about the
    Obama administration is that he gambled more and worked
    harder on this bid to become president than anyone I can
    remember. Bush simply went into the family business. McCain
    was born to the ladder that led to WH. But Obama REALLY had
    to WORK to get there…he had to turn his life and family upside
    down in the process…and he’s going to work his tail off to make
    sure his years in the WH count for the American people.)

    Reply

  92. susan says:

    I enjoyed the Countdown segment too, in addition, I thought you looked great! Little bit of a auburn tint to the tresses?

    Reply

  93. alan says:

    You set a standard for pundits appearing on tv. Most of them are blowhards, and a few idiots. But your clarity and simple language helped. All the handwringing by some pundits (Matthews and Bernard come to mind) tell me more about these gasbags than about Hillary Clinton.

    Reply

  94. ethan salto says:

    I’d watch this but I loathe David Shuster.

    Reply

  95. Lurker says:

    Steve,
    Super job on Countdown disentangling the motives and moves of
    Hillary, Obama, Jim Jones, and the rest.
    Like Bill R and others have dittoed, you are setting a standard for
    excellence in political commmentary.
    But we knew you first!

    Reply

  96. David says:

    What Bill R said.

    Reply

  97. Nestor says:

    Steve,
    I have a basic question that I haven’t seen raised elsewhere. (OK, maybe here: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20081201/dreyfuss). Why is Obama surruounding himself with Iraq war hawks?
    Biden (voted for Iraq war; supported neo-colonialist partition of Iraq.)
    Clinton (voted for Iraq war; noted for conspicuous silence until faced with antiwar opponent in Dem primary.)
    Emanuel (voted for Iraq war; opposed anti-Iraq-war Dems in 2006 midterms such as Ned Lamont.)
    Gates (Bush appointee at Defense; has quietly pursued many of the same agenda items as Rumsfeld, i.e. permanent bases.)
    Are we in the anti-Iraq-war movement, many of whom voted for Obama, about to get duped? Or does it take a cabinet full of hawks to unwind an aggressive war?

    Reply

  98. Pacific Jet says:

    Where is Wesley Clark in all this? Any rumors on a position for him in the Obama inner circle? I sure hope so.
    On another note, I was in Cairo and Jeddah last week and there too, everyone is really excited about Obama. All of a sudden, everyone has a reason to like America again.
    For a nation who is number one at marketing, I sure hope we sieze this opportunity to rebuild ‘brand’ America. The next six months is prime time.

    Reply

  99. Devin says:

    I agree with Bill R. I’m impressed you could get so much quality analysis into five minutes, which I guess is a fairly long time in TV land. If this was the norm on the cable news networks we’d be much better off as a nation.

    Reply

  100. Dan Kervick says:

    I agree Obama wants doers, and one appeal Clinton probably has for him is that she is a very hard-working, detail-oriented achiever. But I do think there are some obvious domestic political motivations as well.
    I really don’t know if I think the good cop, bad cop analogy is the right one. That suggests that there will be some consistent discrepancies in tone and approach between the White House and Clinton’s State Department. I tend to doubt that will be the case. Obama is a much better communicator than the taciturn, awkward and uncomprehending Bush. And the Obama administration will want to use that awesome global presence and popularity that you mention to good advantage – and I don’t mean just to communicate hopeful generalities and uplifting vision, but an ongoing hands-on impression of competence, priorities, direction and engagement.
    Obama can deliver the tough messages as well as nice ones. And in this administration the chief foreign policy message and direction are going to come from the top. I think we are going to see Obama employing some very innovative and sophisticated techniques for communicating his message directly to the outside world, and for attempting to exert leadership in a truly global manner. He understands the new communication environment. And he has lots of powerful friends in the communications and entertainment industry. We’re going to have a whole new ballgame in US public diplomacy.
    As far as Clinton goes, I think much of her work abroad is likely to consist in behind-the-scenes effort that draw on her extensive network of high-powered global connections built-up over the past fifteen years, especially during the Clinton administration. I also think he expects Clinton to a tough and shrewd Washington infighter who will understand what it takes to restore the position of the Department of State. Some of this work will require working in a concerted manner with Obama and the Secretary of Defense to establish a coherent set of national security budget priorities. Clinton’s work on the Armed Services Committee, and the trust she enjoys in the military as someone who has been very friendly in the past to their budget needs, should help her in this. If Obama is indeed planning on keeping Gates, I hope it is because he has received some assurances from Gates that he is not going to hang on to all of the turf which defense has seized from the other parts of the executive branch during the Bush years, but will help to restore the old balance.
    So far, the foreign policy focus of the transition has all been on the Middle East – Israel/Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan. We haven’t heard much yet about the Chinese component of US foreign policy. But we stand on the precipice of a global economic catastrophe, and the fates of the United States and China are inextricably bound together. Energy demand, energy security and restructuring, energy research, environmental and population stresses, and the health of the global financial system and of global trade all hang in the balance, and are areas ripe with possibilities for transformational global change and new forms of cooperation in East-west relations. At the same time, the US is engaged in competition with China across the global South for strategic relationships and for sometimes competing visions of world progress.
    Who are the people who will emerge as the big Obama players here? Is there any scuttlebutt about Gary Locke being in the running for a prominent position at the State Department? I know he is a Clinton ally. What are the other positions in the executive branch that will be involved in the US-China relationship? What role will Eric Schmidt play?

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  101. stagecoach says:

    I was in Doha last week and India the week before. The enthusiasm for Obama is off the charts there too. The middle eastern press was worried about the Rahlm appointment but felt that Obama had the opportunity to start a fresh dialog.
    There is a lot of hope out there for the US to regain and take leadership. Hope we do not disappoint them. The Palestine issue is still the #1 issue… we need to show leadership there right away.
    will the economy come in the way?? or can we walk and chew gum……

    Reply

  102. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Let’s hope that Obama gets a lot of constructive work done before the reality of our stressed world hits and his bubble bursts”
    Yes, its hard work assembling the very people that greased, abbetted, allowed, assisted, and cheered our journey into this mess.

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  103. Carol says:

    I think Europe will be so thrilled to see Obama become our next President…they see him as a man of change, a younger generation, who can relate to the whole world.
    People tend to put him on a pedestal, that isn’t what he wants, he will make mistakes and things won’t always go the way he wants but that is part of the job.
    Obama is not a miracle worker,the messiah or anything else, he just wants to do what is right for the country and I feel very confidant that he will do just that, given the chance.
    I am personally looking forward to the New Year with hope for a country that will be heading down the right road to recovery.

    Reply

  104. Bill R. says:

    Excellent analysis and commentary, coherently stated! Clear, concise…. to the point. I wish this might be more the model for the pundit class, rather than the bloviating we are so often subject to.

    Reply

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