Is This What It's Come To?

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Apr 22, 2009 10:30 PM
Jury duty today has prevented my posting.  Even so, just listening to the radio news accounts of the administration's hamhanded handling of the question about prosecuting Bush administration officials reveals that President Obama may have overstepped this time, and how.  He's considering prosecuting officials who made tough calls that resulted in terrorist attacks being averted -- just how horrified are we supposed to be that we  used measures that resulted in the saving of innocent American lives?

Over the years, both sides have bemoaned the politicization of policy differences -- remember how the Democrats were willing to get rid of the independent counsels so beloved during the Reagan and Bush I administration after Ken Starr's tenure?  But this is politicizing policy differences on steroids.

The idea of prosecuting Bush administration officials for legal determinations and policy decisions made in good faith is laughable -- if it weren't so frightening.  Do the Democrats understand the precedent this sets for the future?

If Bush officials are tried for "war crimes" because they authorized coercive measures on a limited basis against terrorists (measures that helped save American lives, according to Obama's own intelligence chief), it opens a lot of doors, none of them good -- for anyone.  Say, in the future, there's a terrorist attack that could have been prevented through use of the coercive measures taken off the table by the Obama administration.  By the same specious reasoning being employed here, some idiot could claim that makes the officials who failed to act accessories of some sort.

Of course it's ridiculous.  But that's what partisan prosecution devolves into.  The people who are charged with making the tough calls at the time make them to the best of their ability.  And ultimately, the voters decide if they agree.

What's more, it's shameful that President Obama is trying to punt this decision to the Attorney General.  What -- this, too, is above his "pay grade"?