Friday, July 23, 2010

Big surprise -- no prosecutions in U.S. attorney firings

News out of Washington that the U.S. Justice Department has decided not to prosecute former Bush administration officials for improperly firing nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 is disheartening to Americans who believe the country needs to understand what went so terribly wrong when George W. Bush was president, but it is no shocker. The timidity with which the Obama administration has approached the question has not inspired any confidence in the new president's leadership -- in fact, the contrary is true. The breathtaking damage done to the basic law of the United States by the last administration and the acquiescence by the very officials who had taken solemn oaths to defend the Constitution demands action, not further timidity. The people of the United States have the right to have confidence in their government, not the persistent sense that their leaders are willing to sacrifice the country's founding principles to preserve their own lives of privilege. At the very least, the people should demand to know why civil liberties were curtailed, why the country's treasure was compromised by wars without end, why the White House was allowed to amass virtually unlimited power and why almost no one in office is talking about how to start putting things back to the way they should be. The legal system is a very good place to start this re-examination, especially if the White House is not willing or able to lead a process that will surely lead to limitations on presidential authority. President Obama should reject the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder not to prosecute former Bush administration officials in the U.S. attorneys case, as Cable News Network (CNN) reported, and rethink his earlier reluctance to pursue other officials. Obama seems destined to be a one-term president no matter what he does at this point; at least he can leave a legacy we will always remember and be proud of.