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Public Supports Investigations of Bush Misdeeds

Jill Lawrence writes for USA Today: "The Bush administration's anti-terror policies have generated controversies, lawsuits and indelible images such as those of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

"They've also given rise to multiple opinions on whether to investigate, prosecute or just move on."

President Obama showed no appetite on Monday night for Sen. Patrick Leahy's proposed truth and reconciliation commission to investigate Bush administration misdeeds. Obama said he'd rather look forward than backward. But the public appears to believe we can do both at the same time.

In a separate story, Lawrence writes: "Even as Americans struggle with two wars and an economy in tatters, a USA Today/Gallup Poll finds majorities in favor of investigating some of the thorniest unfinished business from the Bush administration: Whether its tactics in the "war on terror" broke the law.

"Close to two-thirds of those surveyed said there should be investigations into allegations that the Bush team used torture to interrogate terrorism suspects and its program of wiretapping U.S. citizens without getting warrants. Almost four in 10 favor criminal investigations and about a quarter want investigations without criminal charges. One-third said they want nothing to be done.

"Even more people want action on alleged attempts by the Bush team to use the Justice Department for political purposes. Four in 10 favored a criminal probe, three in 10 an independent panel, and 25% neither."

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 12, 2009; 9:34 AM ET
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Comments

I also would like to see more investigation into Richardson acts, Sandy Berger, more on Daschle, how about Dodd?... as long as we are digging for something, lets spread it across both aisles. I know Mr. Froomkin is nearsighted when it comes to these type issues, but some of us can see 20/20.

Posted by: mmourges | February 12, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"as long as we are digging for something, lets spread it across both aisles."

Yes, because as we all know the public is calling for a generalized witch hunt against Bush based on nothing more than irrational hatred. It certainly doesn't have any basis in fact, like the nearly 1,000 documented lies and misleading statements about the Iraq war.

FYI one of the keys to successful trolling is to make statements that have a remote chance of believability.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | February 12, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I think it's appropriate for Congress to decide whether we need a truth commission or not. The President can then decide whether he wants to stonewall and protect those in the prior administration or if he wants to cooperate as the public demands.

As for partisanship, the truth commission absolutely will pursue people regardless of their political affiliation. I would hope that the Congressional role in approving terror would be investigated as well as the executive role and even the judicial role.

Posted by: fletc3her | February 12, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Sandy Berger ... whatever happened to him anyways? I always wondered what reaction from the holier than though bunch like Froomkin would have been if Condi was caught cramming documents in her socks and destroying them at home?

Anyhoo, I find Froomkin’s spin of the poll rather interesting. Seeing that the dreaded pinkbelly torture is one of his pet issue, it would appear that people seem more upset at the potential politicizing of the DOJ than allegation of detainee abuse during interrogations.

And speaking of politicizing the DOJ, considering that the name of this article is “Whitehouse Watch”, I wonder when Froomkin is going to weigh in on the recent hiring of White House counsel research director Shauna Daly. You know (or then again, you might not if the WAPO is all you read) Daly holds no law degree and doesn't list any legal training on her resume and her only experience has been as an opposition researcher for Democratic political campaigns.

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | February 12, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Keep up the good work Dan. To have groupie trolls coming back daily to personally insult you means you're definitely doing something right.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | February 12, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Investigation? Your damned right there should be an investigation. Without it, we have without a response such spectacles Dick Cheney, acting like vice-president-in-exile, giving an interview -- think it will be his last? -- about the "high probability" of a terrorist attack (and the timid, in his view, manner in which the current administration is dealing with that possibility).

We have what amounts to a Bush alumni site (43alumni.com) that will continue to try polishing the Bush legacy.

We even have the petty -- Andy Card lamenting the absence of suit coats in the Oval Office.

Investigation? You bet...without such a thing to establish some semblance of an official history of what was done in the name of Americans, the field is left to the Bush "alumni" to write their own twisted version of its own history and diminish the current administration in the comparison.

Posted by: fjc33 | February 12, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

If you found out there were many mistakes made by a surgeon who operated on you, would you be content to move forward not knowing what was done? So as much as I hate to rehash the past bad deeds of the Bush Administration, meaningful changes cannot be made for the better without accurately knowing what was done. Therefore, they do have to investigate, especially given how secretive and just outright corrupt that administration functioned.

Posted by: Ohwell3 | February 12, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Hi Dan - I agree with BigTunaTim above. Keep this issue alive. The Bush years *must* be investigated. Only the truth will set the country free.

Posted by: JCinCT | February 12, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

There is no need for an investigation. Ford was right to pardon Nixon and Bush I was right to pardon all the Iran-Contra players. I'm sure this was just an over-eager president who wanted to do everything he could to protect the American people. Now that we have a new president, I'm sure things like this will never happen again. We would waste too much time and money digging into the past when right now we need to concentrate on the present and the future. Anyway, if someone was hurt by Bush's interrogation methods then it was God's will all along. Remember, nothing happens that is not God's will, right? Right?

Posted by: davidbn27 | February 12, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

lol @ davidbn27... you had me going there for a minute!

Posted by: BigTunaTim | February 12, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse


Not that I like it, but I'd wager — when they met privately — there was an agreement between George Bush and Barack Obama: Bush would not pardon those who had done his bidding, and Obama would not investigate high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush administration.

Posted by: tperry1 | February 12, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Obama's ambiguity on the need to investigate and prosecute the war crimes of the prior Administration is deeply troubling, particularly in light of (1) his recent adoption of Chimpy's outrageous "state secrets" argument in the 9th Circuit (i.e. arguing that kidnapped persons' cases must be dismissed merely because gov't lawyers say case would disclose unpleasant facts) and (2) his earlier willingness to support the illegal wiretapping bill. If these actions are a sign of things to come, he is going to very quickly lose his base of supporters. Let's pray there is some good explanation for these actions and that he changes course and really does support transparency, truth, and due process (including the Geneva Conventions). However, from my vantage point, it's looking like Obama might turn out to be nothing more than a well-spoken and educated war criminal and turncoat. That would indeed be a tragedy.

Posted by: law1 | February 12, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

It's all Bill Clinton's fault, anyway. Or at least several of the posters in this thread think so....

Posted by: thrh | February 12, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

A lot of people on the web have been commenting about how the big media outlets have been downplaying the fact that 41% of the poll's respondents wanted criminal investigations despite the fact that the media has been continuously pounding the idea that we should just move along and look to the future. As one person said...can you imagine how high that number would be if the media were actually reporting more on what was actually done in our names. Under the circumstances that 41% number is HUGE.

I tried to find a story about the USA/Gallup poll in the Washington Post but the only thing that came up was this Froomkin piece. Evidently the Post doesn't even want to go through the motions of distorting the polls results, they would just prefer to ignore the story altogether.

Posted by: pmorlan1 | February 13, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

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