With all that soon-to-be-President Barack Obama will have on his plate on day one of his administration, some may question the wisdom of taking on the task of investigating potential crimes committed by the Bush White House and prosecuting them in full witness of the American people and the rest of the world.
A reasonable person can see both sides of the argument. The country has long been divided by a President who has redefined the word and are exhausted by the rancor that has infused every aspect of lives – so why put us through many months or even years of further discord? At the same time, it would send a bad signal to our allies and citizens alike to not directly address those blatant acts of defiance against the very Constitution we hold sacred.
What are the crimes to which the Bush regime should answer? State-sponsored torture of armed combatants, for one, and in violation of international prohibitions against such behavior. Illegal wire-tapping is yet another crime committed under the guise of national security and one that needs to be investigated and determined if it is actionable. And who can forget the purposeful outing of a CIA operative as a political chastisement of her straight-talking spouse?
The list of overt dismissals of the rule of law goes beyond those allegedly done to protect us from terrorist action. The firing of federal judges for not towing the neocon party line are equally damning. And if malfeasance is a crime, then the entire Hurricane Katrina debacle will yet be another offense that can added to the indictments. The list goes on and on.
Barack Obama will have some difficult decisions to make over the next one hundred days, all of which will be designed to move this country forward out of our current economic and international crises. Perhaps the most difficult one of all will not be whether to bring the chickens home to roost, but how best to put them in the coop.