Bob Woodward, yesterday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said that the controversy resulting from Obama’s release of the Justice Department’s memos regarding enhanced interrogation would not be going away soon. The debate over the serious issues of whether these memos recommended torture or not and what, if anything, we should do “has legs,” Woodward said.
Woodward joined Bob Schieffer as part of a panel discussion in the last half of the program following up on double interviews about the memos with Senators John McCain and Patrick Leahy.
Although McCain and Leahy are on opposite sides of the aisle, they both agree that abuses, like those which occurred in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq during the Bush Administration, can never again happen, but, that’s where their agreement ends.
No surprises that Republican McCain and Democrat Leahy would disagree on what should be done about what was revealed in these memos, but what is surprising is that McCain is actually more in agreement with Obama on this issue than Leahy!
McCain is all for moving forward…more a forgive and forget attitude with it being enough that our current President has ordered an end to such actions. This is essentially the same position supported by Obama.
Leahy, on the other hand, is still pushing for his Truth Commission which isn’t getting a lot of play from either party. Yesterday, Leahy explained that this commission of his would combine the efforts of several Senate committees including his own Judiciary which he chairs.
Unfortunately, neither of these Senators get it. They are both wrong in how they’re handling this situation. And, both of them, if they do eventually get their acts together, either collectively with each other or by themselves, have the power to make lasting change which will return honor to our country!
First of all, we can’t just go on, taking it as enough that this Administration has ordered a stop to these actions, as McCain says, and that no future Administration would attempt such actions because of what’s happened. Really?
Who can say what the future will bring? And who can be sure of the character of any future administration, of either party?
Taking it on word, or faith alone, is not enough because we have already seen what can happen when leaders are filled with fear and ignorance on how to handle an enemy.
Leahy’s commission would be a mistake too!
To what ends would this commission go? Would it turn into a witch hunt? Would it wind up potentially prosecuting just a few who are low on the totem pole while letting the big guys go? Or would it go after Bush himself, and Cheney?
And what good would that do if they did go after those at the top including Bush?
What if they just decided to go after the legal eagles – the attorneys and law advisors who wrote these memos? Do you really believe, if they did, that any President in the future would ever be able to get advice again? Not likely, if they’d have to fear that the next Administration, or thereafter, would come after them for their opinions!
I’m sure the Press would have a field day with a spectacle of former Bush officials, and even Bush or Cheney themselves, being called to the Hill and questioned under oath, but, a process like this would probably take years and would also be expensive. No matter how it was conducted, it would turn into a media circus and become a distraction from important issues and a huge embarrassment for our country! Besides, Obama would probably wind up pardoning top people anyway even if they did go after Bush or Cheney; like Ford pardoned Nixon.
I was a young adult during Watergate; this Truth Commission has the potential to be worse than Watergate and, right now, we cannot afford the distraction with all the challenges this nation faces! Besides, I think a lot of us are sick and tired of this back and forth between parties and, if Leahy gets his way, it will look to many Americans as some sort of “get back” or getting even on the Republicans.
I remember the Clinton impeachment, which I thought was a waste of time and distraction. Who knows how differently things might have gone had Congress had the wisdom to avoid such a sordid affair?
The fact is that both sides are now playing to supporters to fulfill their own agendas, and neither side is effectively dealing with the real issue at hand: that is, making absolutely sure that nothing like this ever happens again.
These two honorable Senators – McCain and Leahy – have the ability in their hands to solve this, and yet, they don’t seem to realize it!
Both Senators, jointly or exclusively, should WRITE LEGISLATION and introduce it to the Congress to make sure that no President shall ever again consider or ask for advice on how to apply what some consider torture to captured prisoners of war.
Define it, Senators, spell it out in legislation! Define in clear and certain terms what is considered torture. Spell out, Senators, for future Administrations, what is considered "torture" so that there is no uncertainty what can and cannot be done!
Only through legislation can this country truly move forward and not risk this ever happening again!
NOTE: If you want to read the released memos for yourself, here’s the link: http://documents.nytimes.com/justice-department-memos-on-interrogation-techniques#p=1.