Monday, March 23, 2009

Ask the President About Accountability!

By: Harry Waisbren

Ask the President is a new service developed by The Nation, The Washington Times, and the Personal Democracy Forum that lets you vote on what question you would like to "ask the president". It's still very new, but there are certainly indications that this kind of project will succeed at having the winning question really asked of President Obama during a press conference. As a matter of fact, this kind of project has already been successful, as a very similar enterprise on Obama's transition website had their winning question asked by George Stephanopoulos.

The winner of that contest was a question about whether Obama would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate things like torture and warratnless wiretapping, and it was poised by Bob Fertik at Especially in light of this kind of early success, I am very excited to support them in similar efforts and will be doing all I can to convince other student activists to do the same!

The next Obama press conference is this Tuesday, and has a new question they are working on this time:

To vote for the question, simply click the green hand button at the top of the screen. It's also very easy to post the link in you Facebook profile and have everyone checking your news feed see it, and I hope that you send it out to any Facebook or Google Groups you are a part of that have poeple who may be intersted in helping!

This is an incredibly easy way for activists like us to help a cause we care about, yet it could have a major effect. Even if Obama tries to hedge if this question is asked, it will become more and more difficult for him to do so each and every new time it is poised. I think we all agree that Obama needs to be pressured MUCH more about ensuring accountability for those who have decimated our democracy, and this is a quick and easy way to help out. 

1 in 4 Americans already believe that the Bush administration committed war crimes, and some of our country's most respected lawyers are openly calling for President Bush to be prosecuted for murder. This is an extremely mainstream issue that needs much more attention, with even more evidence seen in how, when polled, 71% of Americans already believe there should be an investigation by either criminal prosecutors or an independent panel into the actions of the Bush administration. As the Washington Post's Dan Froomkin argues, our nation really was ruled as a "secret dictatorship", and now we need to both rapidly accept what happened and act accordingly.

It may not seem like much, but taking part in a campaign like this can really make that big a differnece if we can successfully break the silence and bring this into the public discourse! Just think, if 1 in 4 already believe Bush committed war crimes, what will happen when there are--finally--investigations and open prosecutions revealing the horrors of what we have done?

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