Cutting Through the Old Song and Dance

Senator Patrick Leahy at The Huffington Post:

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.

Original DVD cover.

I have set up a petition at, 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 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.


Filed under Barack Obama, Chimpy, Congress, Constitution, Democrats, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Gonzogate, House Judiciary Committee, humor, John Conyers, Justice Department, movies, parody, Patrick Leahy, politics, Republicans, snark, Torture, White House scandals, Wordpress Political Blogs

20 responses to “Cutting Through the Old Song and Dance

  1. Ram Venkatararam

    I suspect that it will never happen but it would be great to really understand the real scope of the abuse…

    thanks for the post and happy belated Vday!

  2. ram,
    i’m not holding my breath, but i guess there’s always a chance that someone will do the right thing and prosecute those who broke the law.

    happy vd to you, too, ram! šŸ˜‰

  3. jeb

    I’m not surprised Jones got behind this. Of course, the rest of those rethugs who lectured us on respecting the presidency during war time have quickly changed their tunes and are going right back into the same old song-and-dance routines they were doing when Clinton was President.

    I hope Leahy gets this going and I hope the leadership gets behind him on it.

  4. if any rethug was gonna do it, it would be jones. i guess the other rethugs don’t have any good dirt on him. the funny thing is that, other than huffpo, there is nothing about this in the msm. i did find this, however:

    U.S. Rep. Walter Jones recently introduced legislation that would impose fines or prison time on presidents or executive-branch officials who “knowingly and willfully” mislead Congress to gain authorization to use U.S. military forces.

    Jones, a North Carolina Republican who has repeatedly and publicly regretted his vote to support the war in Iraq, said Tuesday that he doesn’t know how far the Executive Accountability Act of 2009 will get when it comes to gaining passage. But even if all the bill gets is a springtime hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, Jones says, he thinks that is progress.

    not sure how much good it will do, as i doubt it can be enforced retroactively, but at least it’s something.

  5. my gut tells me nothing will happen – even if none of them go to jail (and bush should be someone’s GF as far as i am concerned) – just knowing the details and planning of their 8 years of lies and crimes would go a long way in making the Republican party a true thing of the past. like the whigs

  6. jeb

    If the hearings were really honest, it would still be important. Even if no one goes to jail, getting the truth out is a key element (but I’d love to see Bu$hco, Cheney, Rove and Gonzo charged).

    I followed the T&R Committee hearings in South Africa. When they were proposed people ridiculed the idea and said it wouldn’t make a difference. It did. Once someone opened up, others started coming forward and the whole sordid history started unfolding in front of everyone’s eyes.

    Never discount the value of calling people in under oath.

  7. Frankly, I’m growing impatient with this dumbshow.
    There are laws on the books, many that have been broken – repeatedly – covering exactly the sort of blatant malfeasance that was the lifeblood of the Bush administration.
    These laws have been flouted and ignored by their supposed enforcers for a reason, which in my opinion has to do with the level of complicity shared in a ‘bipartisan’ fashion by officials now seeking new strategies to avoid the coming reckoning and pass blame without consequence onto others, in a spirit of comity and ‘forgiveness’.

    A good bellwether might be Rove refusing to show (yet again) in front of Conyers’ committee.
    Should this event pass with the usual chinwagging and tut-tutting sans real penalties, then the answer as to what remains of rule of law’s power in the United States will be quite obvious, IMO.


  8. dcAp,
    at this point, i think i would settle for that. letting them get away with everything they did without the truth being known is not acceptable. for one thing, we have to make sure that moronic chickenhawks like douglas feith, john woo, etc. are never allowed to work in the federal government again.

  9. jeb,
    i totally agree. if nothing else, hopefully the true scope of what happened will make the voting public realize what when on in their name and will be much more careful about who they vote for the next time.

  10. darkblack,
    it’s frustrating as hell, but i still think something is better than nothing. at the very least, let the historical record reflect what really happened instead of the fairy tale that chimpy’s cohorts have tried to push.

  11. Nonnie, great job! I signed it yesterday on HuffPo.

    Here’s the thing: Again and again, serious Constitutional Law professors or experienced, serious journalists say this absolutely should happen. It seems to me that the opposition comes from the MSM… and the GOP.

    Then the other thing to consider is the international pressure that may have not occurred yet. Many countries want their heads. I was hoping that the shrub was being lured to Canada with the promise of a high-paying “speesh” so they could bag him. LOL!

    Anyway, I intend to keep on keepin’ on too. I will never give up trying to get those men to pay for the horrors they committed in MY name.

  12. hi helen! šŸ˜€
    we’ve missed you around here!

    wouldn’t that be awesome if chimpy crossed the border to canada, and they slapped the cuffs on him? šŸ˜† i don’t know how i could possibly contain my joy if that happened!

    the opposition comes from the goopers, but it comes from a lot of dems, too. they all have dirt that they don’t want the public to see. there are no clean hands in d.c..

  13. Senator Leahy is “not intimidated by thugs.” Check out this clip from “The Dark Knight” in which he tells off The Joker.

  14. leahy is not a bad actor, as opposed to almost everyone in the chimpy administration.

  15. nightowl724

    Oh yeah, that’s Bush and Cheney – two song and dance men from way back. I still can’t stomach the sight or sound of either one of them. I wonder if there is a cure for PTBD (Post Traumatic Bush Disorder)?

    PS I signed.

  16. nightowl,
    i never sign online petitions, but i signed this one. this is just too important. it’s not about hating chimpy and deadeye dick (even if i do). it’s about pushing the reset button when it comes to respecting the law.

  17. nightowl724

    You are so right about that!

  18. NightOwl, I too suffer from PTBD. I think it will take awhile to recover from 8 years of that sort of trauma!

    Nonnie, I’m so bad and inconsistent these days about visiting and blogging. You do such great work, you are one of my biggest inspirations!

  19. nightowl724

    HelenWheels, maybe we should start a support group!

  20. helen,
    consistency is overrated. just as long as you stop by every once in a while, i’m happy. šŸ˜€