When last we left Senator Patrick Leahy (D – VT) he was still fighting the good fight: persuading the US Senate to create a “truth commission” tasked with uncovering the questionable behavior of the Bush administration. Leahy’s efforts have been squeezed out of the spotlight as of late, occupied presently by the populist outrage ignited by the AIG bonus scandal. It’s time to bring the Leahy’s commission back into focus, and he’s asking for your help to do so.
The last time I addressed this topic I posited that the Bush truth commission might be in doubt. Leahy chaired a poorly attended preliminary hearing on the matter before the Senate Judiciary Committee, during which Senators heard from six witnesses, four in favor and two against. Those arguing against a bipartisan truth commission asserted that the Department of Justice (DOJ) would be better suited to investigate the crimes of Bush and his underlings. At that time I was inclined to agree, but here’s why I was wrong.
A Justice Department investigation of Bush’s policies on the treatment of “enemy combatants,” and the former president’s extra constitutional domestic wiretapping program, simply put, will take too long. I have no doubt that the DOJ could eventually get to the truth, but there has been an extraordinary public effort to re-write the history of Bush’s “War on Terror.” Top Bush officials — Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Dana Perino, & others — have been making the rounds, offering up assertions that fly in the face of the public record.
A compelling example of this deceit was featured on last night’s Rachel Maddow Show. Maddow’s opening segment was dedicated to the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Tragically, in my opinion, her’s was one of the very few media outlets to pay any attention to the occasion. However, while recognizing the anniversary of the invasion, Maddow illustrated the underhanded spinning alluded to above:
They’re banking on the short attention span of the American public, and it can’t be allowed to stand. I am now convinced that Patrick Leahy’s proposal is necessary in order to counteract the attempts at revisionism, as illustrated by the above clip.
A reader e-mailed me with his concerns regarding the possible stalling of the Senator’s committee following my last post on this subject. In it, he expressed his dismay that Leahy’s truth commission could be in doubt, and he asked me if there was anything he could do to prevent its failure. I’m excited to report that there is indeed something that he, and anyone reading this post, can do.
Patrick Leahy has put forth a petition, seeking public support for his truth seeking commission. Here’s the text of the petition:
I hereby join Senator Patrick Leahy’s call for the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission, to investigate the Bush-Cheney Administration’s constitutional abuses so we make sure they never happen again. These abuses may include the use of torture, warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, and executive override of laws.
A truth and reconciliation commission should be tasked with seeking answers so that we can develop a shared understanding of the failures of the recent past. Rather than vengeance, we need a fair-minded pursuit of what actually happened. The best way to move forward is getting to the truth and finding out what happened — so we can make sure it does not happen again.
Leahy’s petition may be found at bushtruthcommission.com. I highly recommend that anyone in favor of a truth commission to investigate Bush should click it, sign it, and pass it on. When I signed his petition last week, Leahy was about 15,000 signatures shy of the 100,000 he was after. I fear that if he fails, we may never see the perpetrators of this sad chapter of American history revealed for criminals that they are.