What To Do About Torture?
Marc ponders a truth commission. Some seem to think this is an act of retribution. Actually, it would be a path deliberately avoiding retribution. It would seek transparency and accountability for those acts committed by the Bush administration that crossed the line of core human rights. It would do so as a way to prove that the United States is returning to the rule of law and to the moral norms of international behavior that the US itself pioneered. Prosecutions will probably happen anyway as evidence of war crimes increases as the Bush administration recedes (insiders will be much less afraid of whistle-blowing, as time goes by). It's not as if DOJ can simply ignore evidence of criminality in government:
Obama might not be able to stop Justice from prosecuting CIA officers. If investigations are initiated, the White House can't very well intervene to stop them. It is tempting to think that Obama is granting himself plausible deniability here; the White House can express its opposition to prosecution but say that the U.S. Attorneys' independence is a cornerstone of our legal system, and nothing can be done.
By setting up a truly independent body, bipartisan, above reproach, on the lines of the 9/11 Commission, Obama could insist that his presidential emphasis is on accountability - and not in any way partisanship or revenge.