Despite uncertainties here, developments overseas proceed apace. Spanish Magistrate Baltasar Garzón opened a formal investigation last week of six Bush administration lawyers for their roles in advising on interrogation techniques. Garzón did so over the objections of Spain's attorney general, as he did in 1998 in proceeding against former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet. Under Spain's inquisitorial judicial system, Garzón is essentially unaccountable, whatever the views of Spain's elected government.A judiciary independent of elected officials? The Horror!
Asked repeatedly about Garzón's investigation, the State Department has said only that it is a matter for the Spanish judicial system. Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder went further, implying that the Obama administration could cooperate. "Obviously, we would look at any request that would come from a court in any country and see how and whether we should comply with it," Holder said. This is deeply troubling.Troubling indeed. Deeply troubling. "[W]e would look ... and see how and whether we should comply..." Sends a chill up your spine doesn't it? Liberal fascists.
...Garzón's is far from a run-of-the-mill police investigation in which an American tourist abroad runs afoul of some local ordinance. Indeed, from what appears publicly, U.S. consular officials would do more for the tourist than Obama is doing for the former Bush officials.Whaddya say, John? Threaten to nuke Madrid?
There is never a shortage of second-guessers about U.S. foreign policy. For example, former U.N. high commissioner for human rights Mary Robinson said during the NATO-Serbia war over Kosovo that "civilian casualties are human rights victims." She asked, "If it is not possible to ascertain whether civilian buses are on bridges, should those bridges be blown?""Be sure of your target," my ass! Blow 'em to hell, John.
And here Bolton channels Tim Matheson from the student court scene in Animal House [Emphasis mine.]:
The question here is not whether one agrees or disagrees with the advice the lawyers gave, or with their superiors' operative decisions concerning interrogation techniques. Nor is it even whether one believes our Justice Department should launch criminal investigations into their actions...[Start humming the Star-Spangled Banner here.] "I put it to you, Greg - isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!"
Instead, the critical question is who judges the official actions that U.S. personnel took while holding government office. Is it our own executive and judicial branches, within our constitutional structures and protections, or some unaccountable foreign or international magistrate in some unaccountable distant court?
But Bolton's not done yet,
... whether or not Obama has decided against prosecuting CIA agents, his decision in no way binds the creative mind of Señor Garzón, a man who has never shied from spotlights. Indeed, U.N. Special Rapporteur Manfred Nowak has already said that the other 145 states party to the Convention Against Torture must launch their own criminal investigations if the United States does not.The Bush's administration's "take whatever steps are necessary" approach is just what led to the OLC lawyers being investigated, Johnnie. So unless you want to try another few rounds of swaggering and tough talk, if we really want to put the brakes on investigations by those other 145 states, the United States could just launch its own investigation. But that scares you too, doesn't it?
Behind-the-scenes diplomacy is often the best, and sometimes the only, way to accomplish important policy objectives, and one hopes that such efforts are underway. But in this case, firm and public statements are necessary to stop the pending Spanish inquisition and to dissuade others from proceeding. The president must abandon his Ehrlichman-like policy and pronounce unequivocally that Spain should take whatever steps are necessary to stop Garzón. [Emphasis mine.]
Do you smell something? That's the smell of fear sociopaths give off when cornered.