Biden Says Obama Administration Might Pursue Charges Against Bush Administration Officials

Biden Says Obama Administration Might Pursue Charges Against Bush Administration Officials

This, according to an article in the Guardian, September 3, 2008, from a correspondent in Washington.  According to the story:

“If there has been a basis upon which you can pursue someone for a criminal violation, they will be pursued,” Biden said during a campaign event in Deerfield Beach, Florida, according to ABC.

“[N]ot out of vengeance, not out of retribution,” he added, “out of the need to preserve the notion that no one, no attorney general, no president — no one is above the law.”

Obama sounded a similar note in April, vowing that if elected, he would ask his attorney general to initiate a prompt review of Bush-era actions to distinguish between possible “genuine crimes” and “really bad policies”.

“[I]f crimes have been committed, they should be investigated,” Obama told the Philadelphia Daily News. “You’re also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we’ve got too many problems we’ve got to solve.”

I apologize for interrupting the flow of our conversation with Tom, but it does not seem that this has been widely reported in the press at this time – at least I hadn’t seen it.  But I am curious to ask Tom – for later in the discussion – how, if at all, this sits with the strategy that he lays out in the book.  I don’t mean to shoehorn this into the book discussion, but it does pique my curiosity.  More broadly, as a policy matter – because presumably these are areas subject to political judgment and discretion to some extent – how should a subsequent administration react to what it regards as excesses of the previous one?

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National Security Law, North America
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Mitch Guthman
Mitch Guthman

This highlights a structural problem which all congresspersons obviously face during campaigns.  Namely, every one of them is perfectly capable of proposing whatever legislation he or she favors as a matter of right.  If Joe Biden actually thought that pursuing the corruption and war crimes of the Bush administration was a good idea, he has the right to use the Judiciary Committee to investigate and gather evidence.  He also has the right to propose legislation appointing a special prosecutor.  He or Obama could do that right now—nothing to stop them.   Talk is cheap.

Charles Gittings

The I don’t think there is any question about it: They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for their crimes, including the war crimes of torture, unlawful detentions, and deprivation of due process, as well as the fraudulent and murderous war of aggression in Iraq. And just to be clear Ken, I’d like you to know that I consider you to be one of the most reasonable people in the “neo-con” (i.e. neo-fascist) camp, but just cannot help being appalled by your public support for the use of torture — it simply is not a defensible view. You’ve said publicly that you’d torture Zarqawi in a heart-beat — but would you be willing to torture Zarqawi’s two-year-old child as well? And if not, why not? Given your arguments, it’s impossible to see how you could say anything but “yes” to that question — all the “pragmatic” arguments for torturing some you suspect of being a terrorist would apply equally to their child or an innocent bystander. And arguments aside, the fact remains that torture is illegal under US law, and all you’re really saying is that your willing to commit any crime just as long as… Read more »

Mitch Guthman
Mitch Guthman

Ha! Told ya so!  The dems have no intention of going after anybody.  Ever.