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22 December 2008


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Col: "The law is what the president says it is?"

Since Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137 (1803), the law is what the Supreme Court says it is. And why not? Unlike the executive, the judiciary requires the cooperation of the executive to carry out its rulings. Separation of powers and all that.

William RAISER

So, how do we get the ball rolling? Where do we sign up? Who's contacting the appropriate attorneys?

William R. Cumming

When working indirectly for Cheney, who was Executive Director of the Cost of Living Council the org that headed Nixon's Wage/Price/Rent freeze) (and I firmly believe he was a quite different person in 1971 than now)I always was fascinated that his sense of certitude and that sense that he was always right was so pronounced. Even then he seemed a person that could not tolerate the ambiguity of events or facts. That personality type often prevails in a Washington where intelligent people understand completely that a decision that looks magnificant in Washington can look absolutely terrible by the time it plays out elsewhere and that the secondary and tertiary impacts can outweigh whatever outcome was originally intended.


re tactics - I hear you about 'where is the outrage' but how to make it happen. I think one possible way forward is to continually and at each step mention, cheney is a loser, along with wolfowitz, yoo, et al. America hates a loser, and these guys lost - they got duped by iranian intelligence, and for all the american lives and money spent, we have created a shia rump state attached to iran that will be rich and making deals with the chinese and the russians for the foreseeable future (and no doubt telling us to gofug ourselves on many a foreign policy issue.)

Cheney lost. That's what we should be saying over and over again. He is until he redeems himself, an unequivocal and 'prima fascia' (sp?) loser.

That to me is how to keep these dooshnozzles in the scope of the public anger. Justice will require years, given the present system and defense delay tactics available. Best way to keep America interested to see it through is to keep us reminded about the losers and what they have lost us.


I agree with these comments whole-heartedly. Unless Cheney and the others are held to account in some way, we might as well put the Constitution in a coffin and bury it.


Col. Lang:

re It will be up to the people. pl

It will also be up to DOJ and the new attorney general. IMO Holder is up to the task unless the country finds such merit in the Republican carping and caviling about his honesty that he will be emasculated.

Leila Abu-Saba

Petition going to Holder to call for special prosecutor - info here:


"Dear Attorney General Designate Holder,

We the undersigned citizens of the United States hereby formally petition you to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in War Crimes.

These crimes are being euphemistically referred to as "abusive interrogation techniques" by such respected figures as Senator John McCain. These are euphemisms for torture. Torture is a War Crime. Waterboarding is a War Crime. The CIA has admitted waterboarding detainees. Recently, Vice President Cheney has brazenly admitted authorizing the program that lead to waterboarding, other forms of torture too numerous to list, and ultimately, the deaths by homicide of detainees." and so forth.

Leila Abu-Saba

I've been saying for years now:

Next year in the Hague!

Which I find funny, because I laugh at my own jokes. This is also pathetic, because a) I laugh at my own jokes, and b) I have given up hope that my country will call these men to account.

But there's always hope.

I'm with the guy who asks: where do I sign up? If we the people are responsible, how do we make this happen? You say Obama won't. Who will? What more do we have to do - we voted in a different guy. I live in a congressional district with a very liberal/revolutionary rep - she voted against the Patriot Act. What more do we do?

Like you, I want these guys called to account, not out of personal vindictiveness, but to restore respect for the rule of law in this country. I love our principles and Constitution and I want to see them survive. Prosecuting these criminals is the only way to ensure the survival of values I hold dear.


"Where do I sign up?"

Here's one place to start, particularly for attorneys who are concerned about this issue:



This what I wrote on this topic in an earlier thread:

I believe if lawlessness is tolerated specially for those in high office under the guise its all just politics then we debase the rule of law. Then its just a short step where people feel there are two laws - one for the elite and another for everyone else. Over time there will be no respect for the law and that could lead to anarchy.

IMO, since the Nixon era we have not prosecuted and held to account those at the head of our government that have subverted the Constitution and their oath of office. Each instance of tolerance has caused the next subversion to be more brazen which I believe led directly to Cheney/Addington/Libby, et al to have nothing but contempt for our Constitution. They acted with impunity because they believed that there is no institutional fortitude to prosecute those in high office. Members of the club don't knock another member down.

I am of the opinion that there should be both a special prosecutor and an independent commission investigation into all possible acts of treason and subversion and those responsible should be indicted, prosecuted and judged by a jury of their peers in open court. None of this "classified information" dodge. We cannot let this go because the next step would be an effective coup and rule by clique. We can kiss goodbye to any republican notion.

My cynical self believes however that we as a people are too complacent to demand any accounting and we will only realize it when our liberty has been eroded to the point that tyranny is staring us in face.

During the election campaign several of my neighbors and I gathered at a "town hall" where our local rep spoke and took questions. When I asked the question if she believed our current institutional setup would ever be able to hold to account those who hold the highest office her response which was very frank is there is no "political will". And further that even much public pressure would only lead to "token" investigations since the "apparatus" would "stymie" any such effort. I don't agree with many of her views but she did vote against the Iraq invasion authority and the Patriot Act.

I have resolved that I will no longer buy any US government bond and have sold my entire Treasury portfolio. I will do my small part by not financing such corruption.


As others above have suggested, the responsibility for investigating and prosecuting war crimes will be up to the DOJ.

I'm not optimistic. Once we open the Pandora's Box of Bush-era crimes, we'll have to investigate everything, including crimes in which leading Democrats are likely complicit (e.g., warrantless wiretapping).

Can't imagine the Obama Administration pushing forward with that...


Can Cheney please say when the Congress declared war, as they have the sole power to do so.


Count me among the group that will hound the DOJ to hold these people accountable. Thanks to all above for posting the starting points to pressure.

frank durkee

We can make the point in every forum we can reach. over and over. this includes our congressional delegations as well as the Obama web site. we can encourage our friends and others who agree to do the same. Despite Obama's desire " to bring us together", as an old community organizer [ and please note his organizaation for the election as part of that ], if a groundswell begins to emerge he will perforce pay attention.
perhaps a common list of 'particulars" could be created and used.


My mother is always found of telling me how in Cuba politicians always promised to hold the previous administration and/or regime accountable for their reign.

Once elected, the first laws passed were some form of amnesty and/or national reconciliation unity bills.

Till Castro was able, with a popular mandate, to change all that funny business for the last fifty years.

If Congress does not investigate and prosecute the previous regime for war crimes, profiteering, abuse of power etc, then Congress will always follow the executive until an Augustan figures emerges.

"To seek to keep the established constitution unchanged argues a good citizen and a good man." - Augustus


three quick points:
1) Amen!
2) While a court of law is ultimately the proper venue for this sort of reckoning, a 'second' to J_B_V's point...mockery and humiliation are what they have used in their ascent (google Josh Marshall & "Bitch Slap Theory of politics"...) An appropriate response would be public shaming..Cheney deserves this kind of metaphorical 'bitch slap' on the way down... He would care more about that than some silly, lawsuit.

3) If Cheney were ever to show his face on the floor of the senate again, Pat Leahy ought to give him the 'Charles Sumner treatment' ! It would be an egregious act, but also proportional to the seriousness of the times we now find ourselves faced with.

Paul in NC

I agree. Let's see how confident Cheney is before a court. Investigate. Indict. Try. Convict. Sentence. Imprison at Spandau for effect.



I signed a petition over at democrats.com demanding that Attorney General designee Holder get cracking. I also forwarded the link info to some friends. My email to them follows:

Hello, All,

I just signed the petition described below, and have elected to forward
this information to you should you choose to join me in doing so. When I
signed, there was also an invitation to include personal remarks to be submitted
along with my signature. While I am under no illusion that these remarks will
be read and reflected upon by the recipient, Mr. Holder, the designee for the
office of Attorney General in the new administration, I include them to indicate
my own motivations for signing this petition and for supporting its purpose.
Here they are:

A constitutional republic cannot survive if violations of its laws go
unpunished. It is therefore crucial, no matter where the evidence may lead, and
no matter the identities or official offices of those thought to be the authors
of the crimes, that investigation and warranted prosecution be vigorously
pursued. This is particularly so when the crimes involve those who have
specifically sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. If the governance of this country is indeed premised upon the
rule of law, and not upon the caprice of men, it will be your duty to thoroughly
and energetically investigate whether laws may have been broken, and to pursue
the prosecution of those individuals responsible.

Forrest A. Rowland

If you are of like mind, you can follow the links specified in the body of
the forwarded email found below to the petition proper.


P.S.: They got away with it after Watergate. They got away with it after Iran
Contra. They got away with it after the outing of Valerie Plame. Do you think
that they won't try and get away with it again in the future, when each and
every time they ARE permitted to get away with it, and to escape scot free? Oh,
and I don't care what the party affiliation of the perpetrators is. Read this
post for more:


Come to think of it, if an investigation would potentially skewer both Democrats
and Republicans subject to justification by the facts disclosed, public
pressure in support of it might be even stronger. Hmm, I like it. Well, I'm
sure they would just circle the wagons down in Washington, but a guy can dream,
can't he?

Anyway, it was a start. Here's the link to the petition:



Echoing William Raiser, how do we get the ball rolling?

It will be a crime if these criminals get off scott free.

Hannah K. O'Luthon

Thanks to Colonel Lang for stating the case for initiating due legal process for those U.S. officials accused of war crimes, and for underlining the crucial role played by the 9/11 attacks in making the implementation of those criminal projects possible. Whether this exploitation of the tragedy is merely an example of political opportunism at its most cynical level, or rather the result of malice aforethought by ruthless agents seeking to actuate the Iraq project still seems to me to be an open question.


PL: The Bush people should have their day in court.

Mike Connell Killed in Plane Crash ...

Republican IT Specialist Dies In Plane Crash (1 of 2) on Democracy Now


Republican IT Specialist Dies In Plane Crash (2 of2)



This isn't going to get done.

You're right about what happens to the Republic next.

But this has been in the cards ever since Ford pardoned Nixon. Since that day, the Republic has been living on borrowed time.

The debt has now come due.

d m nolan

Alas Colonel, the Nation is not at war, the military is at war. Most Americans are too preoccupied with their own problems to, as someone I know put it, " to feel any sympathy for a suicide bomber". My fellow Americans appear too uninformed and uninterested to show the anger they should feel at the misdeeds committed in their names by the lying cowards in the White House and at the Pentagon. We should all fear and guard against the day when domestic law enforcement agencies see fit to employ "enhanced interrogation techniques" in the name of "keeping America safe".

John Howley

Let me introduce a distinction.

Under Bush, torture and related abuses were authorized and encouraged from on high within the uniformed armed services. Previously (and one day again we hope), the US military had an honorable record of support for protecting the Geneva rights of prisoners.

However, can the same be said of "certain civilian agencies?" Those agencies may have engaged in similar abuses, pre-Bush, but did so covertly or deniably with the help of certain foreign governments. Rendition-for-torture predates GWB.

The big mistake of Bush-Rumsfeld-Cheney was to take practices used on an exceptional and "ignorable" basis by certain agencies known to operate outside the law on occasion and spread those unlawful practices willy-nilly to the military.

As Sand has observed, once torture and related abuses are unleashed in this way it becomes very difficult to control. It also undermines good order and discipline.

So, how does the fact -- if one agrees it is one -- that torture was practiced covertly by US agencies pre-Bush influence the willingness of Holder and Obama to tackle this hydra?


Sir. As a suggested action plan, work should be started immediately on establishing a judicial case, with clear legal arguments and easily understood points and charges. As mentioned above, it doesnt need to include all sins, but should be focused and aimed at two or three points, my suggestion would be Torture, Geneva and the massive fraud and lack of auditing during the Bremer admin.. This should then be spread throughout the Obama grassroot netwerk, and all the lefties should start campaigning for it internally in the democratic party. Will it work? Propably not. But it will raise awareness.

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