Nonny Mouse, @ Crooks and Liars
has posted an excellent short piece asserting we must insist on seeking true justice beyond a simple "truth commission." As he eloquently demonstrates, simply doing the right things henceforward while ignoring obvious past transgressions, does nothing for all the wrong reasons. Herewith, some excerpts, but the full post is excellent! Even quotes one of Crapaud's favorites, Hannah Arendt.
"...is it enough for the current president to insist that, regardless of whatever crimes his predecessor or those in his administration have committed, the United States now obeys the law, and that he prefers to ‘get it right moving forward’[?] It is simply not enough. ...Those in our government who have committed war crimes must be aggressively prosecuted; not simply because we are legally obligated to under our own laws, and under laws and treaties our country was instrumental in establishing for the entire world. Not because this country’s reputation has been devastated by such acts of barbarity and inhumanity on the part of our leaders we would instantly condemn as those more apposite to tin-pot dictators and tyrannical madmen. ...It is vital for our survival as a nation, as a people, as a society, and even for the future of our entire world that we do so. Because in the words of Hannah Arendt, ‘it is in the very nature of things human that every act that has once made its appearance and has been recorded in the history of mankind stays with mankind as a potentiality long after its actuality has become a thing of the past’. She wrote that in 1963, and was speaking about the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, but what she wrote then, about a different time, a different nation, a different crime, hold true today. ‘It is essentially for this reason: that the unprecedented, once it has appeared, may become precedent for the future, that all trials touching upon “crimes against humanity” must be judged according to a standard that is today still an “ideal”’.
For if we do nothing, if we protect those accused of war crimes from investigation out of a misguided, even perverse ‘respect’ for the offices these individuals held, if we allow those who have abused the power of their office in order to commit war crimes to escape from being judged, claiming immunity for reasons of exigent circumstances, we establish a precedent. It isn’t enough to remember, it is necessary to also act, if we are to prevent history from repeating itself. The Dick Cheneys and Donald Rumsfelds and George Bushes will return, again and again, with different names, and different faces, but the same lust for violence and disregard for the rule of law that should be enforced to protect us all from crimes against humanity, and it will be those of us who established the precedent of bestowing immunity on the perpetrators of today’s war crimes from their acts who will be responsible for tomorrow’s crimes against humanity.
It is not enough to simply remember. Those who will not face the past will face a future neither you nor I will want to live in. That is the Janus effect Obama will have to deal with, and soon, if our country has any real future to speak of."