He concludes with a challenge to either man hoping to succeed George W. Bush in the White House:
A clear and urgent duty of the next president will be to investigate the Bush administration's torture policy and give Americans a full accounting of what was done in our name. It's astounding that we need some kind of truth commission in the United States of America, but we do. Only when we learn the full story of what happened will we be able to confidently promise, to ourselves and to a world that looks to this country for moral leadership: Never again.There is also a very thoughtful and detailed analysis of the implications of Robinson’s column by Teacherken at Daily Kos that I would strongly recommend, but I want to use it as a jumping off point for something else that I’ve been thinking about a great deal in recent weeks.
The Democratic majority in Congress are repeatedly willing to dismiss impeachment, while accepting things like telecom immunity. The courts at every level have been stacked with right wing partisans, starting with torture defender, Antonin Scalia, on the Supreme Court. The Justice Department is broken and infested with Regent University Bushies who were selected for their desire to serve George W. Bush, and not their ability to prosecute crimes like those carried out during his two terms. Even Barack Obama is pushing a new culture of bipartisanship, focused on looking forward not backward in order to solve problems rather than exact punishment for creating them.
With the growing likelihood that Bush will issue blanket pardons as he leaves office, short-circuiting the formal legal discovery that might possibly bring criminal accountability, even the most fervent progressive pundits are saying that Bush will likely get away without being prosecuted for anything. They suggest that we must merely take solace in the fact that he (and most likely his party) will be out of power.
At the same time, loyal Bush apologists (and co-conspirators) are raising funds to build the George W. Bush Presidential Library, which will be staffed with phony “historians” whose sole job will be to whitewash Bush’s legacy to the point where he can be canonized, like Ronald Reagan was, by the time of his passing!
And while it’s easy to say that we won’t forget what a horrible president and despicable human being he was (and is), Bush and his small coterie of supporters know that time will pass and people will forget. There will be no formal symbol to crystallize memories of the horrors that the Bush administration unleashed in the name of the American people.
That is, unless the American people create one! Given the surprising fundraising power harnessed by the Obama campaign, it’s clear that people want to contribute to things that are meaningful to them. What if millions of people who detest the things George W. Bush has done to their country were to pool their resources and fund a foundation that would establish a George W. Bush War Crimes Memorial Museum, patterned after the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, that would serve as a central point of research and documentation of the crimes, whether punished or not, that occurred during the Bush administration?
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that Bush’s crimes are on a par with the holocaust. I’m just saying that if the American people are going to get a George W. Bush Presidential Library serving as a (fraudulent) symbol of Bush’s “greatness,” we should have an equally powerful symbol that helps us remember the crimes he enabled or committed during his presidency, so that we can always remember the phrase appropriately invoked by Eugene Robinson: Never Again!