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  Senator seeks Bush-era "truth commission"
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Last EditedCraverguy  Feb 09, 2009 08:41pm
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News DateTuesday, February 10, 2009 01:20:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionWASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. "truth commission" should investigate Bush administration policies including the promotion of war in Iraq, detainee treatment and wiretapping without a warrant, an influential senator proposed on Monday.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, urged a commission as a way to heal what he called sharp political divides under former President George W. Bush and to prevent future abuses.

He compared it to other truth commissions, such as one in South Africa that investigated the apartheid era.

"We need to come to a shared understanding of the failures of the recent past," Leahy said in a speech at Georgetown University.

"Rather than vengeance, we need a fair-minded pursuit of what actually happened," the Vermont senator said. "And we do that to make sure it never happens again."

Some Republicans and intelligence officials have resisted any suggestion of broad inquiries into accusations against the Bush administration, saying it would be a distraction or weaken morale in the fight against terrorism.

"If every administration started to reexamine what every prior administration did, there would be no end to it. This is not Latin America," the Judiciary committee's top-ranking Republican, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, told reporters last month.

President Barack Obama suggested shortly before he took office in January that he did not favor prosecuting Bush administration officials over their counterterrorism policies, but said he would look into "past practices."
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