Sunday, February 1, 2009

Crime and Punishment

We are already making great progress in moving forward on President Obama's agenda — but the memory remains of a president and vice president whose disregard for our founding principles will be their true historical legacy. On January 6th, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers introduced House Resolution 104, "to establish a national commission on presidential war powers and civil liberties." The bill would impanel a Blue Ribbon Commission to investigate potential crimes and Constitutional violations committed by the Bush Administration under the seemingly impenetrable curtain of "unreviewable war powers." The commission would be comprised of non-governmental experts on the relevant subject matter, and it would have the subpoena powers necessary to do their important work.

This is a critically important piece of legislation — without it, we may never know the breadth of crimes committed by Bush Administration officials, what lengths they went to in order to dupe the public into a war that has cost thousands of lives, or how many innocent men and women have been kidnapped and tortured and denied due process in violation of both the Geneva Convention and our own Constitution. Additionally, the legislation would only cost $3 million — pocket change in the world of Congressional appropriations.

Americans deserve to know the truth about the Bush Administration's alleged crimes — and we need to make sure no president ever repeats them. We are hopeful about the future, but that does not mean we can afford not to be vigilant about our past.

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