I believe that President Obama and whoever else needs to be involved, be it congress or whomever, should order the investigation of possible crimes committed by George W. Bush and members of his administration. Other people disagree. There are certainly arguments for ignoring criminal wrong-doing in the previous administration, though most of these are based on what is convenient and not on what is moral or ethical.
Writing on the Newsweek web site, John Barry makes such an argument. But Mr. Barry shows us early on that his platform of reasoning is rotted. Instead of making a cogent case from the start for not pursuing legal action, he begins his essay by characterizing the motivation of those who want an investigation as “payback” and “vengeance.”
The call to arms may be seductive; its advocates couch their cries in terms of motherhood and apple pie: transparency, a need for a full accounting, the rule of law. Humbug. This is about vengeance, pure and simple.
Mr. Barry doesn’t know the first thing about what my motivation is. Nor does he really care. Mr. Barry and his media cohorts have aided and abetted the Bush side for eight years. As the intelligence reporter for Newsweek, Mr. Barry should have been on top of all this wrong doing, but what we know is thanks to Jane Mayer (according to Mr. Barry, himself). He is unable to acknowledge that the media has any part in this at all — read his essay and you’ll see that he blames pretty much everyone for the abuses of the Bush White House but the media. Viewing those who favor investigations as petty helps make his position seem less morally corrupt. After all, he is basically just saying that President Obama should reject the rule of law because it will inconvenience the country and those who are under investigation.
John Barry has been rubbing elbows with Bush intelligence staff for eight years. They’ve become friends. He relied upon their largess — that is, leaks — to help write his stories; to help him seem like he knows what he’s doing — i.e. to make a living. So now he is paying them back by arguing they should not be investigated or prosecuted. In other words, this is just the typical inside-the-Beltway ethos at work.