We have just emerged from a time when White House officials often acted as if they were above the law. That was wrong and must be fully exposed so it never happens again.
The Huffington Post community and the netroots played a vital role pursuing, demanding, and exposing the Bush-Cheney administration’s numerous abuses. But there’s still more we don’t know, and more we must uncover, about the misdeeds of the past eight years.
That is why I proposed the idea of a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate abuses during the Bush-Cheney administration. These abuses may include the use of torture, warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, and executive override of laws.
I have set up a petition at BushTruthCommission.com, and I hope you will sign it to urge Congress to consider establishing a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate the Bush-Cheney administration’s abuses. We already have over 7,000 signatures, but we need to hit 10,000 signatures — or more — by next week, to build momentum behind this idea.
During the past several years, this country has been divided as deeply as it has been at any time in our history since the Civil War. It has made our government less productive and our society less civil. In this week when we begin commemorating the Lincoln bicentennial, there is need, again, “to bind up the nation’s wounds.” President Lincoln urged that course in his second inaugural address some seven score and four years ago.
Rather than vengeance, we need a fair-minded pursuit of what actually happened. The best way to move forward is getting to the truth, finding out what happened, so we can make sure it does not happen again.
The Obama administration has already made huge strides to restore the Constitution and renew our commitment to international law after eight corrosive years. But we must read the full page on this dark chapter in American history before we can turn it for good, which is why I feel so strongly about investigating what really happened.
I hope you agree.
On Monday, I delivered a speech at Georgetown University where I outlined my ideas about why we need a truth and reconciliation commission and how it could work.
A truth and reconciliation commission would be tasked with seeking answers. It would provide Congress and the American people with a shared understanding of the failures of the recent past, so we do not repeat them in the future.
Thank you, in advance, for taking action at http://www.BushTruthCommission.com to prevent history from repeating itself and joining me to support the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission.
And, kids, hold on to your seats! A Republican has signed on! From Sam Stein at The Huffington Post:
There is, in fact, an element of bipartisan support for creating of a truth and reconciliation committee to investigate illegalities from the Bush years. And it comes from within Congress.
Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, has signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation introduced by House Judiciary Chair John Conyers to establish “a national commission on presidential war powers and civil liberties.”
A self-described conservative who brought “Freedom Fries” to Congress, Jones developed into one of the most vocal Republican critics of the Bush administration.
So while it is surprising to see an elected Republican official endorse the establishment of an investigatory committee to probe the Bush years, it is slightly less surprising that that official is Jones.
Nevertheless, Democrats on the Hill who are committed to the idea are ecstatic to have the congressman on board. Jones’ office did not return repeated requests for comment.
As for what the Obama administration thinks of the matter, that remains shrouded in a bit of mystery.
In the meantime, polling firms are beginning to take the issue seriously enough to gauge public opinion. The results are somewhat mixed, but they certainly demonstrate that the notion of investigating the Bush administration for possible illegal activities is not a revenge fantasy of the fringe “left.”
A USA Today/Gallup poll showed that 38 percent of Americans support launching criminal investigations into the use of torture and warrantless wiretapping, while 41 percent support criminal investigations of Justice Department politicization. Thirty percent support setting up an “independent panel” to investigate what happened at DOJ, while roughly 25 percent support an independent investigation into warrantless wiretapping and the authorization of torture.