Prosecuting Those Responsible, Senator Leahy.

If we want to successfully prosecute relevant members of the George W Bush administration for crimes against the US constitution or crimes against humanity, it is essential that we nail down precisely what they did wrong. More to the point — we need to nail down what they did that was illegal. Surely it seems obvious that something is awry when you look at the result. Our government detained innocent people and tortured them. They justified and started a war of choice in Iraq. Dick Cheney got authorization to initiate a sophisticated and domestic spying program before the end of the day on September 11. The executive branch assumed far more power than was given them by design. The Bush 43 administration altered the course of the United States, perhaps, more than any terrorist could.

My purpose here is to convince you that we should follow the larger pattern that appears in these of abuses of power rather than any individual act if we are going to effectively prosecute those who are really responsible. I think the group of abusers and pattern of abuse repeats itself, and if we watch that pattern carefully, we can shake out those who are primarily responsible.

I am an anti-torture advocate, so my examples here will mostly apply to torture — but the pattern generalizes nicely to other abuses, as well. I recently wrote a diary that introduced what I called The Rambo Myth with respect to torture policy in the United States.