In a post last weekend, I expressed concern about the exercise of the outgoing President's pardon-granting authority as a sheild against subsequent investigations into torture, among other offenses, under the Bush regime:
I anticipate much in the way of attempted pre-emptive defense by the outgoing President's soon-to-be-unleashed pardon machine. He will resist all subsequent efforts to impose accountability upon his disgraced, departing administration.ATalk Left article also addresses this concern in depth. See: Will Bush Issue Blanket Pardons for Rendition and Torture?
Evidently, there's talk of Bush issuing a blanket pardon to anyone involved in his torture regime before he leaves office and Salon is also reporting that there are some plans afoot in the Obama camp to initiate a broad congressional inquiry into the whole interrogation program, which would be even more amazing.
As to the pardons, there is precedent for a president to pardon whole categories of people --- Carter did it for draft resisters and George Washington did it for those involved in the Whiskey Rebellion. The article discusses some moral distinctions, but it seems clear to me that Bush could do this and there would be nothing anyone could do about it.
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto