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Presidential Poison (Editorial sobre la publicacion de los memos de la "tortura")

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Presidential Poison (Editorial sobre la publicacion de los memos de la "tortura")

Mensaje por cubivallejo el Jue Abr 23, 2009 4:48 pm

Este editorial del Wall St Journal fue publicado hoy Jueves, Abril 23, 2009:

Presidential Poison

Presidential Poison

down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance
of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the
prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice,
President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the
country will live to regret.
AFP/Getty Images

Policy disputes,
often bitter, are the stuff of democratic politics. Elections settle
those battles, at least for a time, and Mr. Obama's victory in November
has given him the right to change policies on interrogations,
Guantanamo, or anything on which he can muster enough support. But at
least until now, the U.S. political system has avoided the spectacle of
a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy
disagreements. This is what happens in Argentina, Malaysia or Peru,
countries where the law is treated merely as an extension of political
If this analogy seems excessive, consider how Mr. Obama has framed
the issue. He has absolved CIA operatives of any legal jeopardy, no
doubt because his intelligence advisers told him how damaging that
would be to CIA morale when Mr. Obama needs the agency to protect the
country. But he has pointedly invited investigations against Republican
legal advisers who offered their best advice at the request of CIA
"Your intelligence indicates that there is currently a level of
'chatter' equal to that which preceded the September 11 attacks," wrote
Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, in his August 1, 2002 memo. "In
light of the information you believe [detainee Abu] Zubaydah has and
the high level of threat you believe now exists, you wish to move the
interrogations into what you have described as an 'increased pressure
So the CIA requests a legal review at a moment of heightened danger,
the Justice Department obliges with an exceedingly detailed analysis of
the law and interrogation practices -- and, seven years later, Mr.
Obama says only the legal advisers who are no longer in government
should be investigated. The political convenience of this distinction for Mr. Obama
betrays its basic injustice. And by the way, everyone agrees that
senior officials, including President Bush, approved these
interrogations. Is this President going to put his predecessor in the
dock too?
Mr. Obama seemed to understand the peril of such an exercise when he
said, before his inauguration, that he wanted to "look forward" and
beyond the antiterror debates of the Bush years. As recently as Sunday,
Rahm Emanuel said no prosecutions were contemplated and now is not a
time for "anger and retribution." Two days later the President
disavowed his own chief of staff. Yet nothing had changed except that
Mr. Obama's decision last week to release the interrogation memos
unleashed a revenge lust on the political left that he refuses to
Just as with the AIG bonuses, he is trying to co-opt his left-wing
base by playing to it -- only to encourage it more. Within hours of Mr.
Obama's Tuesday comments, Senator Carl Levin piled on with his own
accusatory Intelligence Committee report. The demands for a "special
counsel" at Justice and a Congressional show trial are louder than
ever, and both Europe's left and the U.N. are signaling their desire to
file their own charges against former U.S. officials.
Those officials won't be the only ones who suffer if all of this
goes forward. Congress will face questions about what the Members knew
and when, especially Nancy Pelosi when she was on the House
Intelligence Committee in 2002. The Speaker now says she remembers
hearing about waterboarding, though not that it would actually be used.
Does anyone believe that? Porter Goss, her GOP counterpart at the time,
says he knew exactly what he was hearing and that, if anything, Ms.
Pelosi worried the CIA wasn't doing enough to stop another attack. By
all means, put her under oath.
Mr. Obama may think he can soar above all of this, but he'll soon
learn otherwise. The Beltway's political energy will focus more on the
spectacle of revenge, and less on his agenda. The CIA will have its
reputation smeared, and its agents second-guessing themselves. And if
there is another terror attack against Americans, Mr. Obama will have
set himself up for the argument that his campaign against the Bush
policies is partly to blame.
Above all, the exercise will only embitter Republicans, including
the moderates and national-security hawks Mr. Obama may need in the
next four years. As patriotic officials who acted in good faith are
indicted, smeared, impeached from judgeships or stripped of their
academic tenure, the partisan anger and backlash will grow. And
speaking of which, when will the GOP Members of Congress begin to
denounce this partisan scapegoating? Senior Republicans like Mitch
McConnell, Richard Lugar, John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Pat Roberts and
Arlen Specter have hardly been profiles in courage.
Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies, due in part to his
personal charm and his seeming goodwill. By indulging his party's
desire to criminalize policy advice, he has unleashed furies that will
haunt his Presidency.
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