02 April 2008

Rogue State.

When George Bush and his Reagan-era rejects (who included a few Nixon-era retreads like Cheney) stole the election down in Florida, the rallying cry was "respect the rule of law." In fact, you'd think Howard Baker, the cagey veteran from the Reagan and Bush the First regimes, who as chief of staff of Reagan's White House during Iran-Contra, had been replaced by an ethical clone.

Unfortunately, in politics the most noble slogans are generally simply window-dressing for power-grabs, and Bush's lawlessness since taking office has only confirmed that the rule of law is neither respected nor followed in his administration.

Perhaps there's so little current respect for the rule of law because there are no consequences for violating the law. Aside from some minor court setbacks, BushCo has been able to do as it pleases in pillaging this country and others. Don't like environmental protections? Replace career scientists with political appointees with no expertise but plenty of ideological claptrap, then water down the protections or fail to enforce them. Don't like having to convince other countries whose governments seem to have a better grip on reality than your own that the UN should get involved in Iraq? Then simply call the UN irrelevant if it doesn't go your way and threaten to go it alone. Violate international law in launching a "pre-emptive" war against another nation, violate human rights law and common decency in Abu-Ghraib, set up secret prisons in remote locations across the world and more visible and cynical limbos like Gitmo to skirt domestic and international statutes regarding the treatment of prisoners, wiretap your civilian population and infiltrate domestic groups opposing your policies...I suppose I could go on, but I think the heap of dirty deeds is high enough already.

By the way, the whole idea of the "UN being irrelevant" played to Bush's base, most of whom believe in Black Helicopters and see the UN as an invasion force (yeah, invading from NYC with all their massed forces...), believe that any evidence of corruption in the UN is a reason for its abolition yet turn blind eyes on their own government's long legacy of scandal, etc. Of course, other nations have jumped on Bush's illogical bandwagon, like Iran for instance.

It should come as no surprise that Bush's attitude toward the UN should so closely mirror that of Iranian President Ahmadinejad -- after all, the two share similar simple-minded and ignorant worldviews, and neither has much regard for any law other than the old truism that "might makes right."

So what does it mean that the United States argues in international forums that other nations must submit to international law and rulings, yet exempts itself from oversight by those very bodies it implores to enforce the rules? Rules are fine for other people, but not for me? Sure, we want to investigate alleged atrocities, unless they're alleged against the US?

This line of reasoning strikes me as somewhat far afield from "the rule of law."

However, in this morning's Post, we see yet another example of the administration's respect for the rule of law:
"If a government defendant were to harm an enemy combatant during an interrogation in a manner that might arguably violate a criminal prohibition, he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the al Qaeda terrorist network," Yoo wrote. "In that case, we believe that he could argue that the executive branch's constitutional authority to protect the nation from attack justified his actions."
Interrogators who harmed a prisoner would be protected by a "national and international version of the right to self-defense," Yoo wrote. He also articulated a definition of illegal conduct in interrogations -- that it must "shock the conscience" -- that the Bush administration advocated for years.

For his trouble, Yoo has been rewarded with a professorship at UC-Berkeley -- a school and city reputedly so far to the left that you'd think Yoo wouldn't have even been permitted a work permit...but alas, the chief legal architect of Bush's torture regime finds a comfortable roost indeed.

We all have been rewarded with the gift of shit.

1 comment:

dcpeg said...

Holy Crap!! You've done an outstanding job of saying it all in such a short piece! I've pretty much given up ranting and raving over the shrub and his clan because there just isn't any justice when it comes to them.

Carry on, Cuff!!! Keep those boys in hot water and maybe they'll give up . . . .. nah, we couldn't be that lucky.