Fortunately there is a single common-sense step the next Administration can take, which has the potential to break this logjam.
Offer our own leaders for trial.
There can no longer be any real doubt that our current political leaders are war criminals. The evidence of mass murder and torture, directed from the highest levels of the United States government, keeps mounting. It becomes more obvious each day in the actions of that Administration to cover up what it did and thwart justice.
So open an investigation. Do this openly, transparently, publicly. Offer to share the results with the International Criminal Court, and to respond appropriately to its future requests in the matter.
This is how you win the War on Terror. By proving to the world that we will not be terrorized. Not by anyone. Not even by our own leaders.
Republicans may call this a partisan witch hunt so be careful to put Republicans on the investigative body. There are many Republican prosecutors and judges who did not participate in this Administration's crimes, plenty to provide counsel, plenty to assure the rights of the accused, plenty to defend them if they wish to provide a defense.
This can't look like a partisan attack. There must be a higher purpose. Fortunately there is.
By placing our own leaders under the jurisdiction of international standards for justice, we regain the credibility to demand that other governments do the same. We regain the right, under international law, to demand that human rights be respected, and that criminal regimes be brought to the bar of justice.
The only way to effectively fight the terrors of Mugabe, or of Darfur, or of Burma, or even of China and Russia itself is to place the leaders of the United States before that same standard and measure their actions under it. Fairly, freely, transparently.
This will be difficult to pull off. Few nations have succeeded at this. Most which have, like South Africa, did it through grants of immunity to any criminals who came forward and merely admitted their crimes. Immunity is one possible weapon at the discretion of prosecutors.
This would be easy to begin. Simply appoint a special prosecutor with a reputation for fairness. Might I suggest Patrick Fitzgerald (above)? You know him best for his work as a special prosecutor against Scooter Libby, but did you also know he is U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, a George W. Bush appointee who has won convictions against members of both parties?
Guarantee his independence from political interference, and have the Congress grant whatever investigative budget he should request. When the subject comes up, refer the questions to the prosecutor, who won't answer them until he returns either indictments or no bills, and a report to the President.
An investigation of this type will eliminate the issue from future political debate, restore American credibility, help bring dictators around the world to justice, and prove to all Republicans, now and in the future, that no man is above the law.