Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Policy Shift or Strategy?

Either way, it's good news. Tapper:
President Holds Open Door For Prosecutions
President Obama suggested today that it remained a possibility that the Justice Department might bring charges against officials of the Bush administration who devised harsh interrogation policies that some see as torture.

He also suggested that if there is any sort of investigation into these past policies and practices, he would be more inclined to support an independent commission outside the typical congressional hearing process.

[...] in clear change from language he and members of his administration have used in the past, the president said that "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."

This is very good news. It also lends some credence to the theory that Obama was playing chess by releasing the memos only after a court ordered response to FOIA request "forced him" to, using that to gin up public outrage, and THEN assign any investigations / inquiries / truth commissions to other, more neutral parties...

For that to happen, pressure must still be applied constantly to Obama, Holder and also to Congress.

[via Benen]


Smitty said...

This is headed in the right direction. I thought it was a bit of a punt when Obama said his AG would determine whether or not we pursue Bush officials because Obama could just say "yeah, we're going after them." But, again, this is good.

Smitty said...

Here's all that torture got us. Nothing.

Mr Furious said...

This offers some cover for Obama politically. It gives him a plausible "the facts led us here/this is a legal-DOJ matter" reason rather than partisan retribution/witchhunt.

That won't matter to Republicans who will treat it like that anyway, but it will hopefully help with the media framework, and the public.

It's a good move. If Obama came right out and called for prosecutions first it could seem politically-motivated. Now, he can turn and say "everyone's (Congress, public, press, etc.) demanding this, look into it Mr. Attorney General."

Rickey Henderson said...

Huzzah for accountability!

BTW, it's known as a FOIL request (coming from one who has the distinct pleasure of receiving 'em from time to time)

steves said...

This is the right direction. There should be a (hopefully) impartial investigation, due process, and all that other Constitutional stuff. That being said, there is penty of blame to go around and I hope the deserving get it.