Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Obama Hints that War Criminals could be charged - if Republicans do the right thing.

Obama now appears not to have utterly given up on prosecuting the people who formulated the legal opinions which allowed torture:

On the one hand, we have very real enemies out there. And we rely on some very courageous people -- not just in our military, but also in the Central Intelligence Agency -- to help protect the American people. And they have to make some very difficult decisions because, as I mentioned yesterday, they are confronted with an enemy that doesn't have scruples, isn't constrained by Constitutions, is not constrained by legal niceties.

Having said that, the OLC memos that were released reflected, in my view, us losing our moral bearings. That's why I've discontinued those enhanced-interrogation programs. For those who carried out these operations within the four corners of legal opinions, or guidance that had been provided from the White House, I do not think it's appropriate for them to be prosecuted. With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General, within the parameters of various laws. And I don't want to prejudge that.

I see what he's saying. He needs some brave Republicans to stand up and avoid this being an utterly partisan issue by stating that what was done was wrong. At the moment there are no takers amongst that disreputable bunch.

But, without the support of a few credible Republicans, he is frightened that his entire presidency will be consumed by a partisan bun fight to protect the Bush administration war criminals.

And, with the world's economy teetering on the brink, it's hard to argue with his priorities.

But, if the US is to regain it's moral standing in the world, then some Republicans need to stand up to the plate. It's not enough for them to keep stating that Bush was not a proper Conservative, and that he did not share their values, now they have to do something about it.

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