Many Americans are deliriously happy that the nightmare of the Bush Administration is finally over. President Obama has made some very forceful statements that show that he intends to correct the abuses committed by those who served under President Bush. Some Americans have expressed their anger towards President Bush and his administration in inappropriate ways, wishing that the helicopter that flew the former President Bush away from Washington after the inauguration had crashed, killing him. While such emotion is understandable, it is clearly not appropriate. Other Americans are calling for us to move forward and not to look back. This is also clearly inappropriate. We need to examine where the system failed us and strengthen the system so that such abuses do not happen, ever again. Such examinations took place in Japan and Germany after WWII, in South Africa, and surely in other countries that I am not aware of. This is not a matter of vengeance or retribution – it is a matter of self-examination so that such crimes do not happen again. It is also, as a fellow blogger told me, a realization that crimes, by definition, happen in the past and that those crimes must be prosecuted so that the larger society knows that such actions will not be tolerated in the future. We need to restore the rule of law, restore the rule of the Constitution, and abide by international conventions and laws. The only way to reach this place is by examining what went wrong in the past. Justice demands this.
Keith Olbermann, who sometimes gets carried away in his anger, still makes some good points in this video.
A blog post on the Democratic Underground site goes into considerable detail about the prospects for the prosecution of former President Bush and others in his administration. Time will tell, but I don’t think the crimes of the Bush administration will go unpunished.