Will Bush pardon Cheney & Co. on Christmas Eve?

Noting that George Bush Sr. pardoned the Iran-Contra clan on Christmas eve of 1992, Democrats.com is warning that his son could do something very similar Wednesday: pardon Dick Cheney and the rest of the administration officials who authorized and encouraged the torture and humiliation of “war on terror” detainees.

Cheney last week even admitted he personally approved waterboarding — i.e., torture — setting the stage for President Bush to issue a pardon, insisting that in the process he’d saved American lives.

Cheney must know that claim rings hollow: even the recent bipartisan Senate Armed Services Committee Report found just the opposite, concluding that the administration’s interrogation techniques “damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.”

Still, it was a convenient public excuse offered up to give Bush cover for issuing a pardon, not only to Cheney but to everyone involved in approving torture and other illegal interrogation methods.

Some Democrats, at least, are trying to prevent that.

On November 20, N.Y. Rep. Jerrold Nadler introduced H.R. 1531 to urge Bush not to pardon himself or his co-conspirators in war crimes. The bill now has 9 co-sponsors.

Democrats.com is collecting signatures to support the bill, and circulating a petition to support another bill, sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Sen. Carl Levin, and VP-elect Joe Biden — urging future attorney general Eric Holder to open a war crimes investigation.