By Hamid M. Khan, a Fellow with the Truman National Security Project, an associate with McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado Law School
Over the past few weeks, Americans have been cloistered into a confessional about this nation's dealings in the aftermath of 9/11. We have been bombarded by fresh controversies over the CIA's detention and interrogation policies under the Bush Administration, assertions by former Vice President Dick Cheney that the harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects helped save thousands of American lives, and Speaker Pelosi's denials she was informed about the CIA's use of waterboarding and accusations the agency mislead Congress not to mention the impasse surrounding where and how to house those remaining detainees being housed at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The collective exasperation to the present state of affairs can largely be attributed to the overarching issue facing us as a nation: How did we get into this situation in the first place?
We have begun to realize the current state of affairs occurred partly because, for years after 9/11, many of our national institutions did not do their jobs, many did little to voice their opposition and the media were often lap dogs rather than watchdogs. And while the Obama Administration had hoped the recent release of the so-called torture memos would shed some light on some of our darker practices; the ensuing tumult, from both sides of the aisle, has only made things more difficult. For many, the controversies alone should offer the case for an independent inquiry: what better way to sweep aside the politics and get to the facts than establishing a Truth Commission?