It's not too often that I agree with Wall Street Journal editorials but I think they had a point this morning when they took President Obama to task for apparently opening the way to prosecution of Bush lawyers or others who came up with the legal justification for harsh interrogation techniques - ie. torture - of suspected terrorists.
Obama has changed his mind and not for the better. Previously, he had said - rightly - that the nation should be looking forward rather than looking back at the past. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, had said as recently as Sunday that those who devised policy should not be prosecuted.
But many on the left have been howling for revenge and now Obama says he wouldn't oppose a bipartisan inquiry into interrogation methods. In addition, he leave it up to the Justice Department to judge whether prosecutions were needed.
I believe the people who used their legal talents to justify torture are slime of the first order. But the good of the country outweighs the value of giving in to the temptation to punish them. Obama knew this and nothing has changed since except the political pressure. He ended torture, he made clear what was done in our name and he should have left it at that.
The Wall Street Journal wrote this morning: "By indulging his party's desire to criminalize policy advice, he has unleashed furies that will haunt his presidency." And I fear they might be right.
I don't want Obama to fail because, against his initial judgment, he got caught up in the noxious leftovers from the Bush administration.