Press Attorney General Eric Holder to Bring Torture Architects to Justice
In spite of President Barack Obama's insistence that the United States "move forward and not backward" on the issue of Bush-era torture policies, Attorney General Eric Holder has recently indicated he may launch an investigation that would call ex-officials to account.
If carried out, Holder's investigation would rupture some toxic political precedents: The intimate relationship that formed between the White House and the Department of Justice during the Bush years would certainly come into question, as would Obama's decidedly non-"change"- oriented approach to detention policies. Perhaps most importantly, Holder's investigation would sanction the criticism and remediation of previous presidents' crimes.
None of this will be easy. Newsweek's Daniel Klaidman notes, launching an investigation "would roil the country, would likely plunge Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil Obama's domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform." It would bring Holder face to face with an array of problematic political conundrums.
It would also require a legal team as adept at logistical and linguistic maneuvering as Bush's gaggle of cronies. Holder has already called on his staff to pick 10 candidates for the prosecutor position -- a position that he said will require "gravitas and grit."
Fortunately, he has hinted that pursuing justice will remain distinct from presidential directives."I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president's agenda," he told Newsweek. "But that can't be a part of my decision."
Holder has a unique chance here. Not only can he punish some of our country's most odious criminals; he can also make it clear to future offenders that there is nowhere to run.
But he needs to hear from you. Join the American Civil Liberties Union in its campaign to present evidence to Holder. Help deal out justice to Dick Cheney, Jay Bybee and John Yoo. You can do it here.
Here are the rest of our Take Action Campaigns for the week.
II -- Pressure Obama for a Public Option
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is among the many in support of a public health option, and he has put together an organization designed to mobilize progressive support. Standwithdrdean.com allows citizens like you to urge policymakers to vote down any health care legislation that doesn't include a public option.
"Legislation rises and falls on whether the American public is allowed to choose a universally available public option or not," Dean argues. Standing with Dean, who is a physician, means joining nearly 400,000 others who refuse to wallow in the mires of "middle ground" politicking.
Obama's "urge to compromise," Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman notes, "will lead him to negotiate with himself, and give away far too much." It's up to us to see that he doesn't.
III -- Reform Immigration Policies
The U.S.'s immigration policies are tangled, damaging and nonsensical. They shred family ties, cause a whirlpool of wage decreases, deplete the workforce and do nothing to improve national security. Each year, we spend billions of dollars to maintain the broken status quo. It's time for a change.
Obama supports such a change, but only Congress can draft meaningful legislation. It's up to us to make them understand the necessity of reforming immigration policies. Join others at Reform Immigration for America who have already made their voices heard.
IV -- Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
Among the most thinly veiled examples of institutionalized homophobia in the United States is "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the military's absurd requirement that gay men and lesbians remain silent about their sexual orientation.