Will Bush Administration Face Real Investigations?

Image of George Bush and John McCain

The public wants the Bush administration investigated for its alleged use of torture against prisoners and wiretapping U.S citizens without court approval, according to a poll conducted by USA Today/Gallup Poll.

The poll shows two-thirds of Americans want some type of investigation, including one that could lead to criminal charges.

The Bush administration sanctioned torture, including waterboarding, during its administration, according to many legal experts, and this violates U.S. law. The administration also wiretapped unsuspecting U.S. citizens without first asking the court’s permission. This, too, violated the law at the time, according to some legal groups, and may have violated the constitutional right to privacy.

The public has the right to know about the specific acts of torture used on individual prisoners, who were arrested after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists’ attacks. Those people, who actually tortured prisoners, and those who ordered the torture, including high-ranking Bush officials, should face a public inquiry that could lead to criminal charges.

The Bush administration admitted to ordering wiretaps on U.S. citizens without required court approval. In 2007, Congress legalized warrantless wiretapping, but questions remain. Who exactly was wiretapped? What information was collected? Were people wiretapped for political reasons? Can people determine if they specifically were wiretapped by the government? There should full transparency on this issue for U.S. citizens who have not been charged with a crime or are under investigation for terrorist activity.

This is not an issue of lending legal help or aid to people who aim to hurt Americans. It’s about upholding American law and showing the world the country truly believes in human rights. It’s not about punishing Bush retroactively and the current Republican Party for political gain. It’s about ensuring that future presidential administrations don't abuse executive powers. The country’s failure to look into these issues would jeopardize our democracy.

President Barack Obama has consistently indicated that he would prefer to look forward rather than back as his new administration struggles with the economic crisis left to him by Bush and his Republicans backers. But Congress is moving forward. Democrats U.S. Rep. John Conyers and U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy have said they want to form investigative commissions to look into these controversial issues. These commissions should get to work as soon as possible.

I have called for investigations into the Bush administration for literally years now. Unfortunately, Democrats capitulated to Republicans after winning big in the 2006 elections and would not move forward on the issue. The 2008 election and this recent poll strongly suggest voters have soundly rejected the Bush/Republican policies that gave us an imperial presidency, destroyed our world stature and ruined our economy. Americans want and deserve investigations. We need to know what happened. If we don’t thoroughly and quickly look into the Bush mess, then we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.