What To Do?
A.L. thinks war crimes prosecutions may be counter productive:
I think the best option here is something along the lines of the "Truth Commission" proposals that have been bandied about. What I want is a thorough, official investigation that exposes all the facts and, ideally, issues an official report declaring that the Bush administration violated the law, identifying the primary culprits, and condemning--in the strongest words possible--their actions.
That would at least keep these acts from being swept under the rug and would inflict some much deserved reputational harm on those responsible for them. That kind of strong, public condemnation may be enough to deter future administrations.
I fear that if we try to do anything more than that, by launching actual prosecutions, it may backfire and result in acquittals. I completely sympathize with those who favor war crimes prosecutions. The conduct at issue here rises to that level and those responsible for it certainly deserve such treatment. But practical concerns do matter. War crimes prosecutions would serve no useful purpose if they result in acquittals which are then spun by the Republicans and the media as vindication for the conduct itself. The goal here should not be maximal punishment, but maximal deterrence.
And then there is simply whether the rule of law applies to those in control of the government. Bush and Cheney claimed it didn't. That precedent is what we're up against.