As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Accountability Moment

Yes, finding Radovan Karadzic was a great day for human rights. He was the leader of the Srebenica massacre, and his arrest shows that the International Criminal Court can be effective in bringing fugitives to justice through pressuring member nations and rallying the international community.

The United States is not a signatory to the ICC, as George Bush is always keen to point out. And as Charlie Savage wants us to know, the White House may not wait before assuring that the war criminals inside its walls cannot be charged with any crimes domestically.

As the administration wrestles with the cascade of petitions, some lawyers and law professors are raising a related question: Will Mr. Bush grant pre-emptive pardons to officials involved in controversial counterterrorism programs?

Such a pardon would reduce the risk that a future administration might undertake a criminal investigation of operatives or policy makers involved in programs that administration lawyers have said were legal but that critics say violated laws regarding torture and surveillance.

Some legal analysts said Mr. Bush might be reluctant to issue such pardons because they could be construed as an implicit admission of guilt. But several members of the conservative legal community in Washington said in interviews that they hoped Mr. Bush would issue such pardons — whether or not anyone made a specific request for one. They said people who carried out the president’s orders should not be exposed even to the risk of an investigation and expensive legal bills.

I don't think they'll lose any sleep over the public assuming guilt, as long as they're kept far from the jails. The usual suspects are quoted in the article, including Victoria Toensing, the featured bobblehead for the White House during the Plame case. And we've already seen the Village pronounce that there ought to be no accountability for war crimes, torture, rendition, indefinite detention, or any of those mere trifles. After all, Bush's re-election in 2004 allows him to do whatever he wanted, right? It's that whole "accountability moment" thing. The courts simply don't have the jurisdiction of a random election 4 years ago.

Is there any doubt that this will happen, either on Christmas Day or New Year's? After all, like father, like son.

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