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Let The Chips Fall

Today, the Obama administration released the secret anti-terror memos from the Bush administration.  Nothing infuriated me more about the Bush administration than the trampling of our civil rights.  I fundamentally believe that we can fight a war and battle terrorism  without compromising the rights that make us free.  Having the government illegally eliminate our rights is a victory for the terrorists.

This quote from the article bothered me the most:

...following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Bush administration determined that certain constitutional rights would not apply during the coming fight. Within two weeks, government lawyers were already discussing ways to wiretap U.S. conversations without warrants.

This rapid move to attack our rights makes it seem that Bush was looking for a reason to trample on our civil rights.  I understand the need for domestic surveilance, but the FISA courts already provided a mechanism to get a rapid wiretap when justified.  Why was this one of the first things to consider?

I have mixed feelings about the level of prosecution we should pursue against Bush administration officials about potential illegal activites they engaged in.  On the one hand, I don't think that this level of illegality should go unpunished.  But, in light of all of the crises we have going on, do we really need months and months of explosive government testimony that takes our eyes off of other problems?  Maybe a Truth and Reconciliation Commission would be better.  Let's get all of the illegal activities in the open and shame those who committed them.  But, pushing further into criminal proceedings seems like it will take it that much further.

Maybe you can't separate the two.  All this happened so recently, and the Republicans will have a lot of political fallout if things are really as bad as it looks for the Bush era.  And, a lot of people are angry enough to put some folks away.  At least Bush didn't pardon everyone before he left office.  I give him credit for that.

The fallout from Bush's wrangling around the Constitution is going to have alot of fallout -- lawsuits, exposing torture, potential obstruction of justice from destroying evidence, etc.  In the end, we should let the legal chips fall where they may.  I love our system, despite its faults.  Let's let it work...

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Comments

Thanks for the link, Rich. Although I think that Obama is an improvement over Bush on transparency, we can't blindly assume that he'll protect our rights or always follow the law, too. I'll keep my eye on this one.

Mike - you might be interested in the following that I came across over the weekend:

"Obama's efforts to block a judicial ruling on Bush's illegal eavesdropping"
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/02/28/al_haramain/

I came across it as a link from somewhere else - I don't follow the author or know of his other work, but even just the official stuff he quotes gives one pause.

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