You gotta read this. No really. You…just…gotta…read…this.
William Kristol writes in the Weekly Standard that President George Bush should not only consider himself an old-fashioned last-minute preemptive pardoning spree of any and all folks who participated in the “War on Terror,” but (get this) he should also award them the Medal of Freedom.
Bush should consider pardoning–and should at least be vociferously praising–everyone who served in good faith in the war on terror, but whose deeds may now be susceptible to demagogic or politically inspired prosecution by some seeking to score political points. The lawyers can work out if such general or specific preemptive pardons are possible; it may be that the best Bush can or should do is to warn publicly against any such harassment or prosecution. But the idea is this: The CIA agents who waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and the NSA officials who listened in on phone calls from Pakistan, should not have to worry about legal bills or public defamation. In fact, Bush might want to give some of these public servants the Medal of Freedom at the same time he bestows the honor on Generals Petraeus and Odierno. They deserve it.
Let’s forget for the moment about why those who have engaged in torture or illegal spying should be protected from public criticism. Let’s focus instead on what the Medal of Freedom is supposed to be about. According to the Presidential Medal of Freedom:
Recipients of the medal are those who have made outstanding contributions to the security or national interest of the United States or to world peace, or those who have made a significant public or private accomplishment.
Sniff. Beautiful. Gets this red-blooded freedom-loving girl a little misty around the eyes.
Except that, as Andrew Sullivan writes in his Atlantic Monthly blog The Daily Dish:
There is no “witch-hunt” for CIA staffers ordered by their superiors to commit war crimes.
However, there remain questions. Very big, very constitutional questions. Whether President-elect Barack Obama will call for a governmental investigation into war crimes is still being debated – even though, as Sullivan points out, there may be very well be a vital need to hold those at the top accountable.
But to even suggest that the president – so obviously trying to dodge that door slamming shut right now on his butt – should use the highest civilian award to honor those folks who have spent the past eight years committed to shredding the very document on which this nation has been built is a suggestion of obscenely cynical proportions.
Lauri in York
Editor’s note: To this day, I’m still in awe of the fact that the NY Times thought it was a good idea to give this nutcase a weekly column. He’s the classic example of failing upward. “Wrong about everything? You, too, can be a high paid columnist and analyst, just like Bill Kristol!” –Andy in Harrisburg