Leahy and the Accountability Call

February 11, 2009

Senator Leahy made headlines yesterday by calling for an independent commission at a speech at Georgetown law School, to examine alleged wrongdoing during the Bush administration.  “We need to come to a shared understanding of the failures of the recent past,” Leahy said.

His statements were echoed by Senator Whitehouse who has said Congress should discharge its “independent responsibility” to investigate:

“[Senator Leahy] understands that the trust we hold for future generations can be safeguarded only when honesty, freedom, justice and compassion guide our institutions of government; that where that trust has been violated, the cost is incalculable; and that the path to recovery leads through disclosure.”

There are many voices out there, and they strike different notes, but they are essentially calling for the same thing and what is critical is to begin a process of accountability.  These are great steps forward, but it’s a long road.  Without more information in the public arena and more pressure the debate and the call for the truth is going to fall by the wayside.

The further the Bush years fade in the rearview mirror, the easier it will be to put up the kind of straw arguments that former officials have already paraded.  Yes, we are in a massive financial crisis, and yes there are many very important challenges we need to address, but the truth isn’t something we buy with spare change from our economic growth.  Truth, justice and rule of law are the very foundations of our way of life. This isn’t easy to ask for and many people would rather hide their eyes, but it’s never to late or too early to do the right thing.

The administration has to follow the facts, but we need make sure that the facts are laid out there for the public to see and debate.  As Senator Leahy eloquently put it – you have to read the page to turn the page.

This is why is important to have Amnesty members call and talk to their Senator to explain what you care about.