"There can be no doubt that they were and are ardent patriots who were trying to the very best of their abilities to serve their country," Steven G. Calabresi wrote. "They served their country loyally, and they should be allowed to leave the public scene in peace."OK, I edited it slightly to make his remarks generic. He is arguing for the a blanket pardon of the Bush Administration officials who formulated the Bush Torture Policy. But the same principle applies; Calabresi is arguing that anyone who was a "patriot" should not be charged with any crimes committed as a result of "patriotic acts."
That is a whitewash, pure and simple. That is basically the same argument that the rightists in Japan have been using for 60 years to evade any responsibility for the crimes committed by the Japanese during World War II. The Calabrisi Excuse would have eviscerated the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal. It would have given Milosevic all the cover he needed to evade his trial. It gives Radovan Karadzic an excuse for the slaughter of tens of thousands of Muslims during the Bosnian War.
Patriotism would indeed be the last refuge of the scoundrel and war criminal if Calabresi has his way.