PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

March 14, 2009

Accountability and Justice Working Group

Filed under: HI Politics,Impeach,National Politics,SHAPES platform — Tags: — BobSchacht @ 7:49 pm

The “A” in the PDH S.H.A.P.E.S. platform stands for Accountability and Justice for the Bush and Cheney administration. The national Progressive Democrats of America considers this part of their “Stop the War” priority, since most of the Constitutional excesses of the Bush & Cheney regime are related to the so-called “Global War on Terrorism.” That first priority begins:

End the War, Redirect Funding

PDA wants all troops withdrawn promptly, and war funds redirected toward social needs at home and humanitarian aid in Iraq. Toward that end, we call on the Democratic-led Congress to use its powers to 1) cut off funding that prolongs the military occupation of Iraq, and 2) fully investigate false White House claims justifying the invasion and occupation of Iraq. If such investigations lead to moves toward impeachment, so be it.

(emphasis added.)

This working group had its origins in an impeachment working group that came together during the Bush administration. After Obama’s inauguration, the group changed its name and its emphasis, and organized as a PDA Google group. Their statement of purpose is as follows:

This organizing team is building nationwide support — through local events and lobbying — for the Democratic Congress to do what Congress failed to do in the previous six years: Hold this White House accountable for its Constitutional abuses. The team is pushing for aggressive Congressional investigations of the White House role in promoting the Iraq war based on deceit; torture; warrantless wiretapping; diversion of funds to Iraq that were appropriated for Afghanistan; and other abuses of the Constitutional system. We do not accept that impeachment is “off the table” before Congress has fully investigated the facts.

David Swanson is a member of the PDA board, I believe, and is one of the activists involved. He has organized support for a “statement” that amounts to a petition asking Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor for Bush, Cheney, et al. So far, about 170 organizations have signed on to it, along with a number of prominent individuals, including Progressive Democrats of Hawaii.

The working group also recommends meeting with our senators during the upcoming April recess, especially Senator Akaka. They suggest that we show him the 6/08 and 12/08 letters from John Conyers to Mukasey, as models for what we’d like Senator Akaka to write, as well as the preliminary brief on torture by the Jackson Committee, and David Swanson’s collection of Quotes by Notables supporting prosecution. They suggest that we ask for
1. a letter to Holder, and offer to help get co-signers; and
2. a public statement from him supporting prosecution.

We should also be prepared to discuss our position on Leahey’s “Truth and Reconciliation” commission proposal. I recommend the thoughtful position of the blogger “Looseheadprop,” in a lead post at FireDogLake and in a comment below her post, in which she wrote,

…unless there is a groundswell of public support for the commission idea–it ain’t gonna happen. First we get the idea going then we work out the details. Please all of you feel free to offer conditional support–conditioned on no blanket amnesty (which was an original feature of the Leahy proposal which he has since abandoned–or said he did) and conditioned on prosecutions where there are viable cases. I do that in my emails to Leahy.

Don’t let the name “Looseheadprop” fool you. She’s a savvy New York lawyer with a lot of experience. Anyway, we need to be sure to let Sen. Akaka know about our position on the Leahy proposal.

Personally, I don’t know why any such “groundswell” is needed. Every one of our elected representatives in the House and Senate takes an oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and that should be enough. But recent pleadings in court by the Obama Department of Justice follow the previous arguments of the Bush administration surprisingly closely. It seems that they will not move unless we push them. If we want accountability and justice, we need to get involved.


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