Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming....
Remember two years ago, when Obama was coming into office, we wondered if the new administration would hold Bush administration officials accountable for their crimes? Crimes like illegal wiretapping and surveillance, placing Republican Party operatives into US attorney positions in line for future federal judge positions, various instances of obstructing justice and misleading Congress, like intentionally under estimating the cost of the prescription drug law? Oh yea, starting a war of aggression on false pretext, again misleading Congress, renditions, torture. The only one we ever hear about these days is torture as if all the other supposedly 269 broken laws are just too petty to deal with.
All of the above citations are from the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of Mother Jones. Karen Greenberg wrote an article called "The People vs. Dick Cheney," that raised the question and the options for "bringing the Bushies to account."
Just to look back a little, here are the ways Greenberg identified Bush could be brought to account:
- A Rouge District Attorney: Based on a legal strategy by the famous prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi, any county of the approximately 2,700 district attorneys, at any time in the future (multiply 2,700 by 10 as different individuals are cycled thru over the coming years) could prosecute Bush for the deaths of soldiers in the DA's county that died in Iraq.
- Ticked-off Lawyers: Bush administration lawyers, John Yoo, David Addington, Alberto Gonzolez, Jay Bybee brought shame to the profession. Many in the legal community would like to re-establish the credibility of the profession. If they can't make criminal charges stick, they can seek to have Bush lawyers de-barred, and in the case of Jay Bybee, impeached from the federal judgeship he currently holds.
- The United Nations: Secretary General Kofi Annan said, explicitly, the Iraq war was illegal. The UN could find crimes were committed, as it did in the case of US dirty war against Nicaragua (mining its harbors); however, enforcement of the findings lies with the UN Security Council. Still, it's a way of bringing out the facts.
- International Criminal Court: Another long shot, but it is a potential forum.
- The Garzon Factor: Spanish judge Baltizar Garzon went after Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, having him arrested in Britain. The same could occur some day to various Bush officials. We saw the gears of that process start turning on CIA agents involved in renditions and Guantanamo torture, only to be stopped under intense political pressure according to recently leaked State Department cables.
Many of these avenues don't require Obama to do anything except stay out of the way. A gutsy local DA, a determined foreign judge could start a legal process. Each simple, incremental step would stand on its own merits, leading to its own logical conclusion, taking on a life of its own. Bush officials know this, which is why they've hired lawyers, bought legal insurance, etcetera. They will live the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders.