Sunday, January 11, 2009

Promising Beginnings.

The appearance of President-elect Obama on This Week was disappointing only because he didn't declare that in nine days we will be able to prosecute the war criminals in the White House. He also didn't rule it out.

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: "We're still evaluating how we're going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth. And obviously we're going to look at past practices. And I don't believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. And part of my job is to make sure that for example at the CIA, you've got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don't want them to suddenly feel like they've got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering up.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: "So no 9/11 Commission with independent seeking of power?"

OBAMA: "Well we have not made any final decisions but my instinct is for us to focus on how do we make sure that moving forward, we are doing the right thing. That doesn't mean that if somebody has blatantly broken the law, that they are above the law. But my orientation's going to be to move forward," Obama said.

STEPHANOPOULOS: "So let me just press that one more time. You're not ruling out prosecution, but will you tell your Justice Department to investigate these cases and follow the evidence where it leads?"

OBAMA: What I -- I think my general view when it comes to my attorney general is that he's the people's lawyer. Eric Holder's been nominated. His job is to uphold the Constitution and look after the interests of the American people. Not be swayed by my day-to-day politics. So ultimately, he's going to be making some calls. But my general belief is that when it comes to national security, what we have to focus on is getting things right in the future as opposed to looking at what we got wrong in the past."

First,as I have said here before, we have to get a functioning Justice Department. I wish as much as anyone that it was simple. I want probably more than any of you that the law had never been undermined, broken, made meaningless. I have been sick to see things accomplished by the fine and wonderfully dedicated people I worked with, saw defeated politically because they stood on principle, be subverted by the vile thugs in the occupied White House. I am very comfortable that the new administration knows what it has to do, and that it is doing that in the best fashion. It will be obstructed at every turn. They are digging in and doing the first steps, and it isn't easy. After returning our constitution, they can start eliminating the worst crimes, and criminals. What I see is very encouraging.

After we reinstitute Constitutional government, we can prosecute criminals. While it would be nice to come out swinging, that won't work.

In order to get laws passed, you have to get the votes. Diane refers to the process as grinding sausage, and that's sometimes what it looks like. If we were all honest upstanding citizens it would be easy. Sorry, that's just not the case. Or even casings (to use sausage language).

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