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Truth Commission Watch

By Dan Froomkin
11:54 AM ET, 02/13/2009

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy writes on Huffingtonpost.com: "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....

"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....

"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."

Meanwhile, Joe Conason writes for Salon that Obama should "consider the creation of a presidential commission whose aims would be purely investigative -- and encourage the participation of those implicated in the abuses of the past by promising a complete pardon to anyone who testifies fully, honestly and publicly.

"With that gesture, he would acknowledge the importance of uncovering the facts, no matter how ugly, while magnanimously binding up the nation's wounds. He could leave the issue of criminal prosecution to international authorities that can act without any partisan taint. And he could seek truth without vengeance."

The Wall Street Journal editorial board, by the way, is celebrating what it calls Obama's embrace of Bush's policies on secrecy and rendition: "President Obama has done a masterful job disguising his Administration's growing antiterror maturity, but this week produced further evidence that he is erring on the side of keeping the country safe rather than appeasing the political left. The Justice Department filed to dismiss a federal appeals case involving rendition, embracing an argument developed by...the Bush Administration.

"In other words, the anti-antiterror lobby is being exposed as more radical than its putative banner carrier. As Mr. Obama is learning, the left's exertions to disarm the country's counterterrorism arsenal are as dangerous now as they were prior to his election."

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