Jesus wept… (Via David Corn at “Mother Jones”.)
In its first months in office, the Obama administration sought to protect Bush administration officials facing criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies the that governed interrogations of detained terrorist suspects. A “confidential” April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid to the State Department—one of the 251,287 cables obtained by WikiLeaks—details how the Obama administration, working with Republicans, leaned on Spain to derail this potential prosecution.
The previous month, a Spanish human rights group called the Association for the Dignity of Spanish Prisoners had requested that Spain’s National Court indict six former Bush officials for, as the cable describes it, “creating a legal framework that allegedly permitted torture.” The six were former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; David Addington, former chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney; William Haynes, the Pentagon’s former general counsel; Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Jay Bybee, former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel; and John Yoo, a former official in the Office of Legal Counsel. The human rights group contended that Spain had a duty to open an investigation under the nation’s “universal jurisdiction” law, which permits its legal system to prosecute overseas human rights crimes involving Spanish citizens and residents. Five Guantanamo detainees, the group maintained, fit that criteria.
On April 15, Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), who’d recently been chairman of the Republican Party, and the US embassy’s charge d’affaires met with the acting Spanish foreign minister, Angel Lossada. The Americans, according to this cable, “underscored that the prosecutions would not be understood or accepted in the US and would have an enormous impact on the bilateral relationship” between Spain and the United States. Here was a former head of the GOP and a representative of a new Democratic administration (headed by a president who had decried the Bush-Cheney administration’s use of torture) jointly applying pressure on Spain to kill the investigation of the former Bush officials. Lossada replied that the independence of the Spanish judiciary had to be respected, but he added that the government would send a message to the attorney general that it did not favor prosecuting this case.
The next day, April 16, 2009, Attorney General Conde-Pumpido publicly declared that he would not support the criminal complaint, calling it “fraudulent” and political. If the Bush officials had acted criminally, he said, then a case should be filed in the United States. On April 17, the prosecutors of the National Court filed a report asking that complaint be discontinued. In the April 17 cable, the American embassy in Madrid claimed some credit for Conde-Pumpido’s opposition, noting that “Conde-Pumpido’s public announcement follows outreach to [Government of Spain] officials to raise USG deep concerns on the implications of this case.”
And with that, I’m done.
This is the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back.
I no longer believe in Obama.
I have disagreed with him. I have been disappointed in him. But this week, for the first time, I have felt like a chump for voting for him.
And no, that doesn’t mean I would have voted for McCain. Disappointment does not equal stupidly. If McCain had won, we would be in even worse shape than we are now. Obama did do some things right.
But we have to accept the fact that he is not the agent of change that we hoped for.
And, to put it bluntly, makes 2012 very awkward for me.
Look, you can make the case for Obama not wanting to go after Bush and Cheney for war crimes because he needed the GOP’s help with the Economic crisis. Given how it played out, I’d say it was bullocks but it can be made. But when you tell me that he interfered with another government’s lawful inquiry, the case can be made that he has crossed over from neglect to accessory. And under those circumstances, I can’t in good conscious vote for that man. I didn’t tolerate that garbage from Bush and I’ll be damned if I’ll take it from someone because he has a D in front of his name.
So Obama doesn’t get my vote in 2012 and I’ll imagine that any number of his base will do the same. And we will send the message loud and clear that we will not tolerate this level of international thuggery from anyone, regardless of their party…
At which point, we’ll get a Republican President who will be even worse. And our high ideals run into the brick wall of electoral reality.
Because the sad fact is that that there is no one on the Republican side who would be better on this.
John McCain? Maybe, if you had a Tardis and got the McCain that hadn’t been broken by the 2000 election.
Ron Paul? Possibly, but come on…
So what we have coming up in 2012 is a Democrat who can be cowled into doing the wrong things and a Republican who can do the same wrong things but with a song in his heart and a spring in his step.
The nerds have a term for this sort of situation. It’s called a Kobayashi Maru.
It’s at this point that I, the smart and savvy blogger comes up with a clever way to crack this problem and I end with a stirring call to action.
But you know what? I got nothing.
I don’t know how to untie this Gordian knot.
I have no solution to 2012 and I suspect I won’t know until I’m staring at my ballot.
But I know what we can’t do and that’s give up.
We can’t sit around and whine about what Obama is or isn’t doing. We have to take a breath, accept the present situation and then work harder.
We got off our asses and worked for change when we called change “Obama”. Now we have to work for change and accept that change doesn’t have a man’s name.
There’s is a speech that’s from the last episode of Season 3 of “Babylon 5” called “Z’ha’dum” that’s been running through my head for the last few weeks. It’s spoken by Citizen G’Kar after we see the series protagonist John Sheridan fall to his apparent death.
G’Quan wrote, “There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.”
We still have the Senate. We still have our voices. And there is still the chance that Obama realize his mistakes and successfully make a midterm course correction. (Although, I am not prepared to make book on that last part.)
I know a lot of you are ready to pack it in and give up. And I understand that feeling. Hell, I’ve been living that feeling for the last couple of weeks.
But you know what? You shake it off and get back to work. Because the only alternative is despair and the death of spirit.
And brothers and sisters, I ain’t giving up my spirit without a fight.