Elizabeth de la Vega on Countdown with Keith Olbermann

Elizabeth de la Vega on Countdown with Keith Olbermann

April 22, 2009

Tonight on MSNBC at 8:30pm, Elizabetha de la Vega, author of United States v. George W. Bush et al, will appear on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. The topic: whether or not the US government should appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the deliberate torture policy instituted in 2002 by the United States.

From de la Vega’s article on the issue at

Certainly, an official initiation of an investigation by the Obama administration now that these latest horrifying torture memos have been released would not be devoid of real benefit. It would constitute a powerful statement to the world and I don’t minimize the importance of that. But once the press conference ended, would we all give each other high-fives and move on? Of course not: It is not what we ultimately want at all. What is it we do want? There is rich disagreement about particulars, but – in broad terms, at least – I think it’s fair to say that the goals are: (1) a cohesive and irrefutable public narrative of the criminal activity; (2) an opportunity for victims to be heard in an open forum; (3) and accountability for the perpetrators of these crimes, from Bush and Cheney on down.

The naming of a special prosecutor is widely seen and often touted as a quick and almost sure-fire way to achieve these ends – as if merely by setting this train in motion, we will all arrive at the courthouse in no time, ready for trial, where the entire story will be laid out for the public to hear. Unfortunately, however, nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that, if fulfilled, this wish would result in a painfully short-lived victory. If a special prosecutor were appointed today, what we would have tomorrow would be the very public initiation of a federal grand jury investigation. But that is all we would have.

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