Why is Obama letting a foreign government prosecute Bush officials?

Asked repeatedly about Garzón’s investigation, the State Department has said only that it is a matter for the Spanish judicial system. Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder went further, implying that the Obama administration could cooperate. “Obviously, we would look at any request that would come from a court in any country and see how and whether we should comply with it,” Holder said. This is deeply troubling. Obama appears to be following the John Ehrlichman approach, letting the U.S. lawyers “twist slowly, slowly in the wind.” Garzón’s is far from a run-of-the-mill police investigation in which an American tourist abroad runs afoul of some local ordinance. Indeed, from what appears publicly, U.S. consular officials would do more for the tourist than Obama is doing for the former Bush officials. If Obama is attempting to end the Garzón investigation, it is one of our best-kept secrets in decades…

The president must abandon his Ehrlichman-like policy and pronounce unequivocally that Spain should take whatever steps are necessary to stop Garzón.

Otherwise, in four or eight years, like Mary Robinson before them, future second-guessers will decide, say, that U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan constitute war crimes, and that former commander in chief Obama must be hauled before the bar of some mini-state to stand trial. After all, his decisions involve risking civilian deaths, not just shoving terrorists into a wall (and no protective neck braces, either).