- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Obama administration apparently is not going to turn over the rock to investigate the misdeeds and trespasses of the intelligence community in running amok after 9/11, especially with detainees. This is in keeping with Obama’s non-confrontational "no drama" approach, but I think it is a mistake. First, it will look like the rest of the world like a cover-up. Second, I think we need to know what we’ve done, if only to avoid repeating some mistakes.
It’s not what I want to see prosecutions of intelligence officers, especially the front-line guys. Rather, I’d like to see what their chain of command told them, or didn’t tell them. So what I’d like to see is a truth and reconciliation commission, akin to the one initiated by Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Of course, to give such a commission teeth, it would have to be able to extend an amnesty to all those testifying — with the caveat that those who didn’t come forward by a certain date would indeed be liable to prosecution.
What has my back up about this today in particular is a quote from CIA chief Michael Hayden in the Washington Post article: "He’s looking forward, and that’s very appropriate." I get suspicious when someone here uses the word "appropriate" — it’s Washington’s way of telling you to move on, nothing for you little people to worry about.
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a senior editor at The National Interest. Prior to Fletcher, he taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drezner has received fellowships from the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Harvard University. He has previously held positions with Civic Education Project, the RAND Corporation, and the Treasury Department.| Daniel W. Drezner |