Sen. Leahy Bails on Truth Commission?! The Senator responds…

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

* Note: Cross posted at GOS and Antemedius

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Senator Leahy has posted a statement on his website, which states, in part, that he is still actively pursuing the “Truth Commission” idea.

So, I guess somebody is listening?

For those here who have been active in pressuring the Obama administration to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Bush administration War Crimes, (or if you’re even passingly interested in seeing some accountability at all for the grave misdeeds of Bush, Cheney, Feith, Addington, Yoo, et al), there’s some very bad news that seems to have flitted under the collective radar.

~more after the fold~  

According to “investigative journalist and former candidate for Vermont attorney general, Charlotte Dennett” in her report posted yesterday, Senator Leahy failed to get even one Republican on board with his proposed “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” and has, therefor, decided not to pursue the idea.

Dennett, describes a meeting with Sen. Patrick Leahy this past Monday in which he “acknowledges the failure of his plan for a “truth commission””:

We had asked for the meeting to learn why he supported a truth commission over the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Halfway through the allotted 30 minute meeting (with him taking up much of the time explaining why he was not generally opposed to prosecution, since he had been a DA for eight years and had the highest conviction rate in Vermont), he told us that his truth commission had failed to get the broad support it needed in Congress, and since he couldn’t get one Republican to come behind the plan, “it’s not going to happen.”


By the end of the meeting, we were beginning to wonder whether anything at all was going to done  – by Congress, by Attorney General Eric Holder, by President Barack Obama – to hold the Bush team accountable for its crimes.

While I never thought a “Truth Commission” was the right mechanism to bring real justice and accountability for the Bush administration’s torture program because prosecution was either non-existent or thoroughly downplayed, at least it was something. Now, apparently, even that imperfect option is “off the table”, if Leahy’s statements are any indication.

What’s more ominous, in my mind, is the chilling statement further into the article:

After Leahy left the meeting, his aide, Chuck Ross, assured our group that there was no one more devoted to protecting the Constitution than Leahy. “He has been persistent in the face of obfuscation,” Ross said. “He got rid of Gonzales. I would challenge you to find someone who has done more to defend the Constitution.”

Then Ross let out a memorable one-liner: “He’s all you’ve got.”

What? Leahy’s all we’ve got to protect the Constitution? And we have to accept Gonzales’s resignation as the only punishment for years of gutting the rule of law? It took about five minutes for all this to sink in.

Then fellow Vermonter John Nirenberg spoke, I think, for all of us: “If he’s the only guy, this is not a healthy situation.

This whole lack of interest in pursuing investigations, despite growing international pressure and almost daily news of further evidence that war crimes were committed is disquieting and perplexing. Jason Leopold wrote last week that the newly victorious Dem’s appear willing to put “bi-partisanship over the pursuit of justice”.

The loss of Democratic interest in a special prosecutor suggests that the signers (Last June, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and 55 other congressional Democrats signed a letter to then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey demanding a special prosecutor)  made the recommendation last year knowing that Mukasey would ignore it but thinking that the letter would appease the Democratic “base,” which was calling for accountability on Bush’s war crimes.


Do they really think the only ones interested in justice and the rule of law are some undefined, attention deficient base?

That’s almost funny, in a tragic way.



Please, take a moment to do something important. Take action. Keep up the pressure.

Email/snail mail:

Attorney General Holder

Senator Patrick Leahy

the White House.

Let them know we remember, and we demand an accounting. Those who committed War Crimes in our names must be brought to justice.


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  1. is it even necessary to have to hold Dems feet to the fire to do the right friggin’ thing? Every.Single.Time. ???

  2. Bigtime.

  3. This whole thing is somewhat, or a lot, surreal.  Here we have the worst, most heinous of war crimes committed in our names and we’re just supposed to close our eyes and pretend that none of it took place or is taking place even now.  

    Our government is an ethical, legally, morally fucked up entity — unless and until it can face up to its own criminality, how in the hell can be hope or expect that anything will change as time goes on?

    It’s all just plain sick!

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