Crime and Punishment and Obstruction of Justice

April 24, 2009

It is absolutely not President Obama’s choice as to whether there is an investigation into torture or the corruption and politicalization of the Justice Department under the Junior Bush administration. Any objection the President has and any objection by his attorney general is clearly obstruction of justice. This is not a case of prosecutorial discretion. Failure to investigate is obstruction of justice- a crime.

Only the Congress has some choice in these matters. They and they alone may choose to leave the matter to the Justice Department. The problem for the Congress is that almost “to a man,” they chose not to oversee the Executive Branch of the Junior Bush’s administration. If they fail again, they will have forfeited, not only their second chance, but all moral and professional responsibility given them by the electorate and by the Constitution.

Ironically, if Mr. Holder does not investigate both torture and political prosecutions and persecutions by the former Justice Department, the next Justice Department will be obliged to follow the law and investigate him for obstruction of justice!! I repeat what I have written before: “violation of the Constitution always comes back to bite us in the ass.”

I would admonish those among us, so morally indignant about morality of “torture,” those who might not hesitate to use it to discover the whereabouts of a kidnapped child or as a desperate attempt to save one’s own life. It is not so much that torture was employed, but why? In war, torture is only useful for false confessions- the tortured soul usually admits whatever is suggested, no real evidence. Did the Junior Bush administration break the law, the Geneva Convention, to elicit false confessions like the connection between Hussein and Bin Ladin? Did they try to elicit confessions from people who were innocent bystanders to excuse their private bounty hunters for so many kidnapped hostages?

These are the questions that need to be answered. Punishing low level soldiers or even legitimate CIA officials is far less important than purging the incompetent and destructive dupes. For the members of the Justice Department and the Executive administration there is no excuse to ignore these questions. Punishment is not the reason for the investigation. Exposure of criminal activity and purging of these, our weakest links is of utmost importance. The constitution demands the investigation; it does not outline revenge or degree of punishment.

Allen Finkelstein, D.O.