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Jul 13 2009

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Score Settling

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The Left is itching for a fight.

It wasn’t enough to win the White House and Congress and turn out the hated Bush.

It wasn’t enough for President Obama to unilaterally end seven years of Justice Department guidance on terrorist detention and interrogation within hours of his inauguration.

It wasn’t enough to extend Gitmo terrorists Geneva Convention protections normally associated the soldiers of nations who don’t dress, hide and kill among civilians. It wasn’t enough to begin “Mirandizing terrorists captured on the field of battle. It wasn’t enough that the President promised speedy trials – in US civilian courts no less – release when possible and the closure of Gitmo to end the “stain” on American honor.

No, like a crime victim without closure, the Left is still seething that the perpetrators of this anti-terror apparatus got safely out of town, in many cases to prosper in that other universe of apparent sin and depravity little understood by liberals, the private sector.

The Left wants these folks brought to justice; the field operatives, the managers at Langley and of course, the higher ups. A dream scenario would have Ramsey Clark and an empanelled commission of like-minded jurists reading out the charges against a broken Dick Cheney, looking like Hermann Goering at the Nuremburg Tribunal.

President Obama has sensibly tried to head off this tack, successfully killing a congressional “Truth Commission,” and in so doing, recognizing the realpolitik that the terror issue is a fantastic campaign motivator but a governing distraction. For Obama, if the choice is between health care and tribunals, it’s no choice at all.

After the initial dust up between President Obama and Vice President Cheney on the virtues of competing anti-terror policies, it seemed as if the issue had gone away.

But the Left is not to be underestimated, or for you haughty White House officials, trifled with.

Now comes word that Attorney General Eric Holder may be days or weeks away from appointing a criminal prosecutor to determine whether CIA personnel tortured terror suspects after September 11th.  Nothing the Obama administration has done to date has as much potential to create a national circus, latent public uproar or polarizing divisiveness as a Leftist counsel empowered to sniff out alleged “war crimes.” Nothing would be more distracting.

Almost concurrently, members of the House intend to open an investigation into a secret CIA program that they claim was intentionally withheld from congressional leaders. Though former CIA Director Michael Hayden denounced the charge as untrue, it feeds into a convenient narrative of “Spies Gone Wild.” This tension has been brewing since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left critics and supporters alike slack-jawed with her bumbling defense of what she knew and when she knew it, concerning CIA interrogation briefings earlier this spring.

But in considering the bigger picture, Leftist bloodlust does not come without a cost, and of course that cost is not borne by our enemies.

The twin investigations will be targeting America’s first line of defense in the War on Terror.

Actionable intelligence is the difference between the dream of 72 virgins and an epic national disaster. The irony of the proposed investigations is that many of the Democrats calling for scalps were the same people who berated President George W. Bush for not “connecting the dots” in the lead up to 9-11.

In pursuing “justice,” how far are Democrats and Leftists willing to go to undermine the CIA and the programs that allow the US to monitor terror communications and money flows as tools of pro-active national security policy?

And in potentially criminalizing legal advice, how far do the Democrats go in undermining Executive precedent, making each new Administration the potential inquisitor of the last. In this regard, Obama’s Car Czar might want to check his notes on the auto nationalization and put an attorney on retainer for safe keeping, if this is the road we’re now following.

An orgy of self-flagellation may be just the release that Leftists need. Whether it is what the nation needs, or an Obama administration straining to complete a daunting legislative agenda amid recession, is another matter entirely.

Keep in mind that the man currently leading the fight against US forces in Afghanistan was a Gitmo detainee who we proactively released under pressure from Leftist interest groups that continue to agitate against US anti-terror policies. This is the reality of an abstract morality play.

That our security as a nation will be affected by these new scales of justice is not just frightening to conceive, but a real possibility.

 

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