Two Thirds Want Investigations
by Deacon Blues
The USAT runs with two stories today on the subject of the public's willingness to investigate Bush administration illegalities. Our friends at Gallup asked over a thousand respondents at the end of January about their support for three different options on three different issues:
1. Bush's politization of the DOJ;
2. Bush's use of warrantless surveillance on Americans; and
3. Bush's use of torture against terrorism suspects.
The three options presented to respondents for each issue were:
1. A criminal probe;
2. An outside inquiry (perhaps Pat Leahy's "Truth Commission"); or
3. To do nothing on the issue.
The USAT spun the results as strong support to do something about each issue.
Even as Americans struggle with two wars and an economy in tatters, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds majorities in favor of investigating some of the thorniest unfinished business from the Bush administration: Whether its tactics in the "war on terror" broke the law.
Close to two-thirds of those surveyed said there should be investigations into allegations that the Bush team used torture to interrogate terrorism suspects and its program of wiretapping U.S. citizens without getting warrants. Almost four in 10 favor criminal investigations and about a quarter want investigations without criminal charges. One-third said they want nothing to be done.
Even more people want action on alleged attempts by the Bush team to use the Justice Department for political purposes. Four in 10 favored a criminal probe, three in 10 an independent panel, and 25% neither.
I'd like to think that there is something wrong with the poll, but Gallup used a sample that made sense: 36% Democrats, 35% independents, and 27% Republicans. And yet not one of these three issues had over 50% support for a criminal investigation.
While no more than 41% of Americans favor a criminal investigation into any of the matters, at least 6 in 10 say there should be either a criminal investigation or an independent probe into all three. This includes 62% who favor some type of investigation into the possible use of torture when interrogating terrorism suspects, 63% who do so with respect to the possible use of telephone wiretaps without obtaining a warrant, and 71% who support investigating possible attempts to use the Justice Department for political purposes.We should not be surprised that the Bush base of 25-30% doesn't want any investigation on any of these issues, because they are so scared of terrorists that they're willing to have a fascist state here in the USA. Yet no matter how it burns me, the results validate Obama's approach as he announced in the press conference: if it is found that government officials broke the laws, they should be treated no differently than you and me. They should be prosecuted, but don't expect my DOJ to expend energy on this until someone else brings us the evidence.
I personally think Leahy's "Truth Commission" idea is absurd, and just the type of Beltway fig leaf used by the cocktail weenie crowd to cover up their own knowledge and tacit approval of these illegalities by using an outside commission to say "how sad - we really did those things, but we won't do them again."
As Jonathan Turley continually notes on Olbermann's show, if there isn't criminal accountability for these crimes, we guarantee that they will happen again, and that the illegality stands as a permanent sledgehammer into our constitutional bedrock and alleged commitment to the rule of law. We end up as a Banana Republic, with the full consent of both parties, even though two thirds of the country wants the issues investigated and aired out.
Update: Independent filmmaker and LeftCoaster reader Steve Kolb forwards this clip which comes highly recommended.