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Obama transition advisor: Obama's advisers feared "revolt" if he prosecuted Bush-era war crimes

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Looks like the State knows how to stand up for itself, even against an incoming president (my emphasis everywhere):

President-Elect Obama’s advisers feared in 2008 that authorities [sic] would “revolt” and that Republicans would block his policy agenda if he prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to [UC Berkeley Law School Dean Christopher Edley, Jr.,] who served as one of Obama’s top transition advisers.
There's a old joke that goes like this:
The new president gives his inauguration speech to wild applause, then retires with his transition team to the Oval Office to begin work. Soon one of the top career CIA officials, a man who has been in office for decades, comes to his side and whispers: "Mr. President, may I have a minute? There's something I'd like to show you."

He leads the president to a small room off the main hallway, where a DVD player and television are set up.

"Have a seat, sir," he says. "This will just take a moment."

The president sits and the CIA official starts the DVD. The president watches as the Kennedy assassination is played — shot from an angle never seen in public. It's over in minutes, and the TV screen goes black.

"Any questions, sir?" asks the CIA man.

The president returns to his office to prepare for his first day of administration.
Of course that's a joke; it's been around since Clinton days. Now back to the real world, and Naked Capitalism.

This story has a lot of angles, since Edley is dean of the faculty which includes John Yoo, Bush II's notorious torture-justifying lawyer. Another angle is — hey, this story is old; the exchange reported occurred in September 2011. Where's the press coverage? So please, go read.

I'll give you just one more snippet, about the aspect covered in the headline. Keep in mind, this information came out only because an activist asked the right question during a Q&A at a 9/11 presentation at which Dean Edley spoke. The article's author says:
The story arose because Susan Harman, a California resident opposed to torture, asked Edley a question Sept. 2 at his forum and mailed his comments to me, among others. ...

Here’s Harman’s account of her actions at the Boalt Hall forum, which focused on such goals as human rights and the rule of law:
I said I was overwhelmed by the surreality of Yoo being on the law faculty . . . when he was single-handedly responsible for the three worst policies of the Bush Administration. They all burbled about academic freedom and the McCarthy era, and said it isn’t their job to prosecute him.


Dean Chris Edley volunteered that he’d been party to very high level discussions during Obama’s transition about prosecuting the criminals. He said they decided against it. I asked why. Two reasons: 1) it was thought that the CIA, NSA, and military would revolt, and 2) it was thought the Repugnants [sic; Harman speaking] would retaliate by blocking every piece of legislation they tried to move (which, of course, they’ve done anyhow).
Harman says that she approached Edley privately after the forum closed and said she appreciated that Obama might have been in danger but felt that he “bent over backwards” to protect lawbreakers within the Bush administration. She recalled, “He shrugged and said they will never be prosecuted, and that sometimes politics trumps rule of law.”
Thus we are where we are today. Rule of Law — We of the 99% have more than our share, and the 0.01% seem to have lost theirs.

It's important to note that this "fear of revolt" is not attributed to Obama himself, but to his transition team:
Edley confirmed to me in an exclusive email interview Harman’s quotations, and provided additional information about the transition team’s concerns. Among his important points is that transition officials, not Obama, agreed that he faced the possibility of a revolt.
There you have it. Just the messenger, folks — though it does suggest that the State has its own momentum, doesn't it?

(For longer pieces on the same subject by the same author, go here or here.)


(To follow on Twitter or to send links: @Gaius_Publius)

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