Senator Patrick Leahy got a stinging rebuke from Michael Ratner at the Center for Constitutional Rights yesterday. Ratner's fear, which is shared by many, is that the Truth Commission that the Senator wants to go through is nothing a "whitewash" and will only provide an easy way for criminals within the Bush Administration, including Bush himself. Ratner is pissed and you know what, so am I.
Ratner is right. Our democratic (notice the small d) soundness is at stake here and Leahy is about to show that we don't have much of those principles behind what we claim to be. Now Leahy has been talking tough and that "nothing should be swept under the rug" but this Commission is exactly what that will do. If we want to get to the bottom of what happened, then what we need is a Judge and Jury.
"We’re talking about a whitewash with Leahy. Are we some Latin American country where we don’t have a democracy robust enough to try people?" Ratner said. “[Leahy’s] essentially diffusing the issue so there’s not as much pressure on prosecution. It’s not really going to go far. [The commission is] going to divert us for a few years and we’re never going to see something come out of it.”
Ratner said he and the Center for Constitutional Rights want to see criminal prosecutions of officials at the highest level of the Bush administration, the so-called “principals” who were the architects of controversial polices and signed off on them.
“Cheney has openly said that he approved the water boarding memo and that he would do it again,” Ratner said, adding, “My view is you absolutely have to have prosecutions to have deterrents [for future executive power abuses].”