From Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal:
What makes it hard at the moment to write sympathetically of Barack Obama is the loud chorus of approbation arising from his supporters in journalism as they mark the hundred days. Drudge calls it the "Best President Ever" campaign. It is marked by an abandonment of critical thinking among otherwise thoughtful men and women who comprise, roughly speaking, the grown-ups of journalism, the old hands of the MSM who have been through many presidents and should know better. They are insisting too much. If they were utterly confident, they wouldn't be. . . .
The White House debated, decided to release Bush-era memos, then said they wouldn't allow anyone to be prosecuted, then said maybe they would. It was flat-footed, confusing. . . .
A problem with the release of the documents is that it opens the way—it probably forces the way—to congressional hearings, or a commission, or an independent prosecutor. It is hard at this point to imagine that what will follow will not prove destructive to—old-fashioned phrase coming—the good of the country. . . .
Hearings, especially, would likely tear up the country as we descended into opposing camps. They would damage or burden America's intelligence services, and likely result in the abuse of those who acted from high motives, having been advised their actions were legal. As for the memo writers, some of whose constitutional theories were apparently tilted to the extreme in favor of the executive, it is hard to see how it would help future administrations, or this one, to have such advice, however incorrectly formulated, criminalized.
Finally, hearings would not take place only in America. They would take place in the world, in this world, the one with extremists and terrible weapons. It is hard to believe hearings, with grandstanding senators playing to the crowd, would not descend into an auto-da-fé, a public burning of sinners, with charges, countercharges, leaks and graphic testimony. This would be a self-immolating exercise that would both excite and inform America's foes. And possibly inspire them.
Meanwhile, a resurgent Taliban is moving toward Islamabad and, possibly, the Pakistani nuclear arsenal; Israel and Iran are at loggerheads; and Iraq and Afghanistan continue as live and difficult wars. And that's just one small part of the world.
What a time to open a new front, and have a new fight, and not about what is but what was. Hard not to believe it wouldn't be better to leave this one to history, and the historians.