[A} system governed by the rule of law would require ... that those suspected of abuses of power, corruption or the commission of crimes under the color of authority be investigated and, if the evidence merited it, prosecuted.
Most Americans cannot conceive of executive branch officials, much less the President himself, having to answer for their crimes, which is one of the reasons why so many members of different administrations, but particularly the current one, have held the law in such contempt–because they know they will not have to answer, much less pay, for what they have done.
This is what the members of the party now headed out of power will probably call “criminalizing policy differences” because there is a frighteningly large number of partisans of the outgoing administration who believe that disputes over interrogation techniques, detainee treatment and illegal surveillance are merely policy disputes about which there are supposedly two equally legitimate positions. Actually, administration defenders probably think that the illegal activities carried out during this administration are more “legitimate,” because they are justified by what Prof. Bacevich has called “the ideology of national security.”
High-ranking members of both parties go along with these sorts of arguments, and invoke the importance of bipartisan cooperation, because there is something that they wish to preserve that is certainly far more important to them than the law, which is the ability of members of both parties to be able to likewise break the law in the future without fear of prosecution. Hiding under the cloak of “national security” is the first response, and when that fails to distract we hear about the importance of unity and comity. Bipartisanship enables the initial illegality through collaboration in creating or acquiescing in the relevant administration decisions, and then it is summoned to cover up for it. In the process, we see that there is no real benefit to be derived from an adversarial party system and the idea of accountable government is revealed to be a joke.
As I've previously blogged, I believe that high-ranking members of the Democratic party put the issue of impeachment off the table almost immediately after the 2006 mid-term elections because they understood their complicity and culpability in the matters of "interrogation techniques, detainee treatment and illegal surveillance." It was reported that Alberto Gonzales "scared" them.
The crimes of the outgoing administration should be investigated, and the complicity of the so-called opposition party should also be investigated on a NON PARTISAN basis.
Is this at all likely to happen? No, sadly, tragically.
We the people deserve the governments we elect, and all the consequences, short term and long term that those elections entail.