After his recent trip to the Middle East to reach out to Muslims appears to have born fruit. A Pakistan leader has adopted the position of the Obama Administration on war crimes. Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi chief Sufi Mohammad has announced that Taliban murderers who have been accused of such crimes as burning schools, throwing acid in the faces of school girls, and killings should not be prosecuted because “[w]e intend to bury the past. These things will be left behind and we will go for a new life in peace.” It is the very logic that our President has been trying to advance as an excuse for not allowing an investigation into the torture program. Obama has insisted that “no one is above the law” while immediately guaranteeing that Bush officials are above the law by stating “My orientation’s going to be to move forward . . . getting things right in the future as opposed to looking at what we got wrong in the past.”
Citizens in the Swat Valley in Pakistan want these criminals prosecuted but Mullah Fazlullah insists that past is past in an Obama-like moment. Taliban have been promised that Sharia law will now govern the province — despite the recent controversy over the video of a young women being publicly flogged.
Obama can now claim to have had an equal international following after Bush’s torture policies were embraced by the Chinese, here.
Recently, one of our regulars sent me a letter from Senator Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) responding to his demand of a criminal investigation. Sen. McCaskill repeated Obama’s insistence that “no one is above the law” and then proceeded to say that she does not support investigating Bush officials for war crimes — guaranteeing that they are above the law. As with the Pakistani leader, she also insisted that we have to look to the future and not past crimes. Here is Sen. McCaskill’s reply:
Thank you for sharing your views regarding the Bush Administration’s abuse of power. I appreciate hearing from you, and I welcome the chance to respond.
Like many Americans, I was disappointed with many of the Bush Administration’s policies and actions. The Bush Administration repeatedly misled Congress and the American public on issues critical to the safety and prosperity of our nation, such as using false intelligence to lead us into war in Iraq. The Bush Administration also demonstrated its willingness to test the limits of its Constitutional power, such as advancing its misguided policy on torture.
Some would argue that Congress should now investigate the past actions of the Bush Administration in hopes of prosecuting officials for criminal activity. While I firmly believe that government officials are not above the law, I am not sure criminal investigations would be in the country’s best interest. The American voters recently expressed their desire for a change in direction by electing President Obama and voting an increased Democratic majority into Congress. Frankly, we cannot afford to continue the partisan politics of retribution as we seek to address the tough issues confronting America. We now have important work that must be done, and criminal investigations could consume much of Congress’ time, resources and energy.
As your Senator, I will continue fighting to provide stronger oversight of the executive branch. During the 110th Congress, we held dozens of oversight hearings on important issues including the politicization of the Department of Justice and President Bush’s use of signing statements, and we need to continue such important work.
I look forward to working with President Obama and my colleagues in Congress to correct many of the previous Administration’s policies.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me; I will keep your thoughts in mind as Congress continues its important oversight role.
Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future regarding other matters of interest or concern to you.
Senator Claire McCaskill
Of course, these are not “misguided” policies. Torture is a crime. More importantly, when has the prosecution of crimes been a question of political convenience. Even if this is an inconvenient time, the assumption is that crimes are investigated and the politicians have little to say about the matter. The best interests of the country is not to manipulate the justice system to protect individuals who are simply too important to investigate. Moreover, it is not “partisan politics of retribution” to investigate known crimes committed by powerful individuals. It is called criminal justice which is supposed to be blind to who commits a crime.
By the way, her constituent had merely asked her to encourage Obama to enforce the law. Here is his letter to her:
Dear Senator McCaskill:
Please ask Pres. Obama to step aside and please call for a special prosecutor to address the torture and related war crimes of the Bush
It is our collective constitutional duty to enforce the law and hold any and all to account no matter their political stature and without regard for any elected official’s political fallout from doing their duty.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this critical matter — and your sincere support for the rule of law.
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