Support Grows for Truth Commission or Prosecution of Bush Administration Law Breakers
Interview with Karen Greenberg, executive director of New York University's Center on Law and Security, conducted by Scott Harris
In the month since Barack Obama was sworn in as president, the prospects of either Congress or the new administration's Department of Justice initiating an investigation into Bush administration law breaking have ebbed and flowed. As a candidate and as president, Obama has spoken often about his preference to look forward and not backward at the crimes that may have been committed during Bush's controversial administration, including torture, politicization of the Justice Department, flawed intelligence used to justify the Iraq war, and warrantless surveillance.
But Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has expressed guarded support for accountability found in the initiatives of Vermont's Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan. Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wants to establish a Truth Commission to investigate a host of issues, modeled on the body that investigated the apartheid regime in South Africa. He wants the panel to have subpoena power but would not bring criminal charges. Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, wants to establish a commission to look at these same issues, along with an independent criminal probe.
Other groups, who reject a commission that would likely offer immunity in exchange for testimony as a white wash, have called for Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in war crimes. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Karen Greenberg, executive director of New York University's Center on Law and Security, who assesses the methods by which Bush administration officials can be held accountable for their violation of U.S. and international law.
Visit the Center's website at www.lawandsecurity.org. Read Karen Greenberg's article, "The People vs. Dick Cheney," at www.motherjones.com. Greenberg is author of the forthcoming book, "The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo's First 100 Days."
* "The People Vs. Dick Cheney," by Karen Greenberg, Motherjones.com, January/February 2009