Why Bush Should be Punished for His Acts in Office

Robert Schlesinger is wrong to think that Obama should treat Bush misdeeds as bygones.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

I must respectfully disagree with Robert Schlesinger's take on whether Barack Obama should have equivocated while responding to a question on Sunday about investigating the Bush administration. First off, Robert refers, more than once, to Obama "kick[ing] off his term" or "mak[ing] one of [his] first acts in office" the pursuit of Bush administration criminals. I never implied it should be one of his first acts in office. It's clearly something that should be investigated, and if it's pursued, pursued in years two or three down the road, and only then if his investigators find clear evidence of wrongdoing.

I understand the politics of letting bygones be bygones. But Bush has so thoroughly destroyed this country and encouraged such heretofore unimaginable abuses of office (lying about weapons of mass destruction to lead the country into an unnecessary war; the firings and politicization of the attorneys general; the prosecution of active Democrat Martha Stewart for relatively minor stock abuses while permitting subprime lenders and GOP donors to swindle billions from the economy; the abuses at Guantánamo; and the list goes on and on and on) that to act as if this never happened is to encourage future abuse.

Bush's behavior, and that of his subordinates, should be punished so future presidents and their appointees will not feel free to mimic it with impunity.

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