Could anyone be so gullible to believe that the White House had not one archivist, just one GS-15 level geek with access to the higher powers, to tell them that emails had to be saved and how to do it? Either Barney ate the email, or the Bush administration broke the law. The congressional Republicans nailed President Clinton for the very thing President Bush seems to have done. Yet they scrapped the email archiving system Clinton put in place to retain emails in favor of what by recent accounts appears to be no system at all. Now they must be held accountable.
The Washington Post explains how millions of emails may have been deleted, read that as deliberately destroyed and lost forever. No doubt many of these are mundane and only significant to doctoral candidates in history looking for an original dissertation topic. Relevance isn't for us to decide. The law says they all must be preserved.
Just as we know that the ocean is deep and the earth round, we know many of the "missing" emails document the decision making process leading to major presidential actions.
Most of what is documented is probably legal, but some emails including those sent regarding such things at the Iraq War and the firing of U.S. Prosecutors may describe illegalities and "lesser" crimes of conscience like discussions about deceiving Congress and the American people.
Whether all of these emails have been irrevocably deleted needs to be determined by experts. Let's not forget Senator Patrick Leahy's dog:
"I don't believe that," he said. "It's not a question of e-mails being lost, it's a question of e-mails you don't want to retrieve." He dismissed the notion that e-mails could be permanently deleted these days as "like saying the dog ate my homework". (Reference)
While it appears that President Bush and his underlings will avoid impeachment or prosecution, the truth mush be told. This isn't the kind of accountability many of us want. However the historical record demands an accurate account of the Bush administration. Ten, fifty, a hundred years from now this will be the accountability that counts the most.
To quote poet and philospher George Santayana, "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."