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Obama’s First Challenge: A Legacy of War Crimes

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Andrew Sullivan writing in the Times (London) puts the spotlight on what may be the first crisis of the Obama Administration, and in any event is the first to draw blood:

How does he deal with the legacy of criminal actions of his predecessor’s administration when it comes to detention, interrogation, abuse and torture of terror suspects? That has long hovered in the back of the minds of those of us who supported Obama, in large part because he alone had the moral authority to draw a line underneath the criminality of the George Bush-Dick Cheney years and restore credibility and honour to America’s antiterror policies.

Sullivan has a recommendation for how to proceed:

the sanest way forward is a truth commission, modeled on those in Chile and South Africa that maintained governmental continuity for a while but set up a process that allowed for a maximal gathering of the relevant facts and names. The president could appoint a powerful and respected prosecutor to begin the process. The commission would focus not just on the military and CIA but also on the Bush justice department and Office of Legal Counsel, and the abuse of the law and its interpretation that gave Bush and Cheney transparently phony legal cover for war crimes.

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