Tonight I had an opportunity to ask Barack Obama a question that is on the minds of many Americans, yet rarely rises to the surface in the great ruckus of the 2008 presidential race -- and that is whether an Obama administration would seek to prosecute officials of a former Bush administration on the revelations that they greenlighted torture, or for other potential crimes that took place in the White House.
Obama said that as president he would indeed ask his new Attorney General and his deputies to "immediately review the information that's already there" and determine if an inquiry is warranted -- but he also tread carefully on the issue, in line with his reputation for seeking to bridge the partisan divide. He worried that such a probe could be spun as "a partisan witch hunt." However, he said that equation changes if there was willful criminality, because "nobody is above the law."
Back in October, shortly after he endorsed Hillary Clinton, General Wesley Clark told Matt Stoller that Senator Clinton would pursue investigations as well:
Matt Stoller: So you think Senator Clinton as President will do those investigations?
Wes Clark: Yes.
Matt Stoller: And you think Congress should continue those investigations once Bush is out of office?
Wes Clark: Absolutely.
Words are nice, but I want some firm commitments. Who's with me?
Just to ensure it doesn't get overlooked, Bunch's question was framed in terms of the recent revelation that President Bush personally approved the meeting of his principals in which they discussed the intimate details of how we would torture suspected terrorists. If you haven't already, please follow John's action alert from yesterday and make your voice heard. Because this is what inevitably happens when our country is flippant about torture.