Friday, February 13, 2009

Poll: Most want inquiry into anti-terror tactics.

Around 34% 0f Americans, according to a new poll, want neither an independent panel to look at Bush's suspected war crimes nor for there to be any criminal investigations into his behaviour whilst he was fighting the war on terror.

However, that still leaves a further 62% demanding that his actions be looked into, and disagreeing only on how this should be done.

Close to two-thirds of those surveyed said there should be investigations into allegations that the Bush team used torture to interrogate terrorism suspects and its program of wiretapping U.S. citizens without getting warrants. Almost four in 10 favor criminal investigations and about a quarter want investigations without criminal charges. One-third said they want nothing to be done.

Even more people want action on alleged attempts by the Bush team to use the Justice Department for political purposes. Four in 10 favored a criminal probe, three in 10 an independent panel, and 25% neither.

The ACLU and other groups are pressing for inquiries into whether the Bush administration violated U.S. and international bans on torture and the constitutional right to privacy. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers and his Senate counterpart, Patrick Leahy, have proposed commissions to investigate.
I have no great faith that the Obama administration will do what needs to be done here, but I take comfort from the fact that most Americans are willing to see the right thing done here.

Bush has, in my opinion, clearly broken the law. However I understand some American reticence to see him rot in jail. I share that reticence.

I have no wish to see him jailed for what he has done, I merely want it established under law that what he did was illegal.

Obama can pardon him as far as I am concerned. I merely want it noted that no American president should ever seek to emulate what he has done, citing his actions as a precedent.
Leahy, D-Vt., this week proposed a "truth commission" to assemble facts. He said the panel could offer immunity from prosecution for everything but perjury. "We need to get to the bottom of what happened and why," he said.
As long as that panel would eventually state whether or not the Bush administrations actions were legal or illegal then I would be happy for that to be the end of the matter. This is not about witch hunting the previous administration, this is simply about establishing what is legal and what is illegal so that the Bush crimes can never be repeated.

And, from the recent poll, it would appear that a majority of Americans agree with that premise. Obama has said that he wants to "move forward", and Leahy has given him a way to do so which avoids prosecution but still achieves the kind of closure on the Bush years that the majority of the American public wants.

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