George, Dick Cheney and the rest of the Bush crime family have left office, but their legacies of war, depression and suffering continue to punish us to this day and will last long into the future.

They've been gone almost a month now and already there are signs of recovery. America is a resilient country, one that healed after a bloody civil war and hundreds of lesser assaults upon it. That suggests we will be able to eventually repair the wounds inflicted upon us by the foreign terrorists who struck on Sept. 11 and the domestic terrorists who stole the 2000 election, started the Iraq war and killed the economy.

Last week, Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. John Conyers proposed the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, similar to the one formed in post-apartheid South Africa, to ferret out what really happened during the Bush years and to punish the guilty parties.

This is an excellent idea. The way it worked in South Africa, Nelson Mandela's government investigated alleged crimes against humanity by the previous regime. Most of the criminals they found were given immunity on the theory that knowing the truth was more important than prosecuting the evildoers.

All the victims of apartheid were allowed to testify and be heard, while the perpetrators were candid about the crimes they committed.

The televised hearings brought a sense of closure to the nation and allowed Mandela to govern with a clean slate and a fresh start. That's what President Obama needs.

The true extent of how our country was damaged by the Bush crime family may not be revealed for decades unless action is taken now to uncover it, but the new president seems relatively uninterested in pursuing such a course.

He's said on many occasions that he wishes to move forward, not look back and, indeed, that's the course that suits his own agenda best. Obama's got an economy to save and two wars to end with honor. He can't afford a country transfixed by televised trials of former government officials.

Obama is a savvy and extremely wise man. Myself, not being nearly as pragmatic or as wise as he is, I want to see Cheney being waterboarded until he coughs up the secrets stored in his brain.

Failing that, I'd like to see Bush and Rumsfeld abducted in the dead of night by men in ski masks, forced onto a jet and dropped off at the doors of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, just to see what happens next.

It's easy to see the logic in the president's position. Unearthing the crimes by the prior administration won't do one thing to fix the economy or put people back to work, which are Obama's main priorities.

And we are slowly beginning to heal as a nation, now that the Satanist neocons have slithered out of D.C. My friend who lives there says that the smell of sulfur that permeated the city since 2001 has finally cleared and people can begin to breathe again.

We now have a president who not only answers questions from the media but does so in complete sentences with proper grammar. Most importantly, he answers them truthfully.

Still, someone needs to pay for the economic and social crimes fomented by the Bush-Cheney cartel, dating back to the 2000 election and including everything that occurred until Jan. 20 of this year.

Our own governor should finally open up and explain - without fear of imprisonment - just how he turned a $250 billion budget surplus into a $1 trillion deficit when he served as Bush's budget director. I'm sure he could shed some light on just how he pulled that particular magic trick.

I hope that the president does not dismiss lightly the idea of a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission. There are nearly 300 million victims of the Bush years who deserve an explanation of what happened, if not swift and brutal justice against the evildoers involved.

I thought I'd heard the last from good ole W. until I filed my taxes over the weekend. As I neared completion of my return, TurboTax notified me that, since I hadn't qualified for it last year, I was entitled to the $600 tax rebate that Bush paid everyone else last year as hush money.

I chuckled at that news. My mortal enemy had sent me one last message, in the form of a cash payout. Thanks, Bushie. You did a heckuva job. That $600 will buy a lot of Obama commemorative coins and souvenir inauguration plates.

He should also be thankful that Obama is a generous man, because if I were in his position, Bush and Cheney both would be sitting in a cell at Gitmo, being interrogated for 18 hours a day until they came clean.

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