Leahy Sets Hearing on 'Truth Commission'

Barack Obama continues to talk about bipartisanship, while pretending to be unaware that Congressional leaders are pulling stunts like this:

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Wednesday announced his committee would hold hearings on the creation of a new truth commission to investigate myriad allegations of corruption and wrongdoing in the Bush administration.

Leahy said in a Senate floor speech that understanding what occurred during the previous administration is key to avoiding the same mistakes in the future.

“The past can be prologue unless we set things right. … How can we restore our moral leadership and ensure transparent government if we ignore what has happened?” Leahy said.

Leahy first floated the idea earlier this month during a speech at Georgetown University. Although Republicans have resisted the proposal, Leahy and other Democrats argue it would provide a nonpartisan way to conduct investigations without the threat of legal repercussions against those who cooperate.

The hearing is scheduled for March 4, according to Leahy’s office.

Leahy ought to at least be honest about his effort here: this isn’t an attempt to ‘get at the truth.’ It’s a witch hunt aimed at those who fought the war on terror since September 11. The men and women of the Armed Forces and the intelligence services have done their level best to keep all Americans safe, and have acted within their understanding of the law in doing so. To call that service into question insults them and introduces uncertainty into the handling of terror detainees down the road.

The Obama administration ought to consider the precedent that would be set by such a move. Contrary to campaign promises, Obama has reserved the right to used ‘enhanced interrogation’ (which Democrats call ‘torture’) in some cases. He has also elected to shield records of the War on Terror from disclosure and scrutiny, and to maintain a detention center at Bagram air base. Each of these decisions will invite a ‘Truth Commission’ down the road – perhaps as soon as 2011, if Republicans regain control of the House or Senate.

Does Obama really want Congress to go forward with a partisan move likely to ignite a fight that will make the rest of his agenda much harder to enact?