Mark Schmitt discusses another way to deal with the "alleged" high crimes and misdemeanors of various members of the Bush Administration.
From the article:
And yet, if the point is to make sure that the conduct of the last seven years never happens again, then why is impeachment the right tool? Impeachment is a means of removing an elected individual from office, a way to punish those individuals. It sets no precedent, establishes no standard in itself.
And as much as I might want to see Bush, Cheney and Gonzales spend their last decades in a federal prison or perhaps on the island of St. Helena, or renditioned to a lovely Romanian prison lacking even a golf course, none of those things are going to happen. Impeached or not, all three will live out their disgraceful lives sitting on boards and gracing bipartisan commissions and collecting royalties on unrevealing books that other people will write.
And, so be it. It is the actions, not the individuals, which must be banished from American politics forever: the secrecy, the raw exercise of executive power, the torture and domestic surveillance, the misuse of executive power to entrench partisan control, and the deceit. How do we restore the rule of law?
Consider, as an alternative to impeachment, and a means of reestablishing the lines of what just isn't done, a process modeled on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in post-Apartheid South Africa. Efforts of this kind fall under the label, "transitional justice," described by the U.S. Institute of Peace as a way for "emerging democracies to reckon with the abuses of past regimes." This may be an inflammatory metaphor, and of course ours is not an emerging but a renewed democracy, and the abuses are not the massive internal human rights violations or even genocides that have characterized the "past regimes" in most of the countries that have created such commissions. But nonetheless, these past six years have been a dark, obscure and singular episode in our history, and we need to understand the truth of it so that it will not be repeated or, worse, normalized.