Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Above the law, below the pale ...

The Democratic Activist
Could anything, ever, actually land a U.S. president in jail? Is there ANY crime so abhorrent, so egregious, so low-down or pathological that an American president, were he to commit it, would find himself prosecuted and behind bars?

Or is the president, in fact, above the law?

From a must-read article by Glen Greenwald:

"The bipartisan Senate Armed Services Committee report issued on Thursday -- which documents that "former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior U.S. officials share much of the blame for detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba" and "that Rumsfeld's actions were 'a direct cause of detainee abuse' at Guantanamo and 'influenced and contributed to the use of abusive techniques ... in Afghanistan and Iraq'" -- raises an obvious and glaring question: how can it possibly be justified that the low-level Army personnel carrying out these policies at Abu Ghraib have been charged, convicted and imprisoned, while the high-level political officials and lawyers who directed and authorized these same policies remain free of any risk of prosecution? The culpability which the Report assigns for these war crimes is vast in scope and unambiguous ..."

And then there's the disgusting, stomach-turning complicity of invertebrate congressional democrats who "looked the other way" as Bush and Cheney legalized torture, committed war crimes, and destroyed many of the most basic, cherished constitutional civil liberties that once comprised the very foundation of our nation ... all in the name of promoting "freedom and American values."

Quoting near the end of the article linked above:

"Here -- from July of this year -- is one of the more remarkable quotes of the Bush era; it's from Nancy Pelosi, who was explicitly briefed on the CIA's torture program in 2002:

Q: You’ve ruled against impeaching George Bush and Dick Cheney, and now Kucinich is trying to pass that. Why do you insist on not impeaching these people, so that the world and America can really see the crimes that they’ve committed?

PELOSI: I thought that impeachment would be divisive for the country. . . . If somebody had a crime that the President had committed, that would be a different story."

What kind of country, what kind of people, knowingly and deliberately allows its elected leaders to order and direct, for years, this kind of rampant illegality, utter immorality, torture and murder, on a wide scale, in its name, with total impunity?

Do Americans believe laws are actually important ... or not? That they should be enforced? Or just written and then ignored?

Is the president a king? Is nothing he does illegal? Is "moving on" more important than preserving the rule of law in America?

Does any people so unethical and irresponsible that it would willingly consent to such wickedness deserve the freedom it so devalues?

Thank you.

Pass it on.


UPDATE: Greenwald has just written another piercing article on the subject of America's reformation as a torturing nation, in which he examines the suspect notion of committing war crimes for the "right reasons." Highly recommended.
The Democratic Activist


  1. From Nancy Pelosi interview and her comments" "If somebody had a crime that the President had committed, that would be a different story."
    And, if someone does know of a crime he committed, who are they going to tell? The Republicans? They will do nothing, be they state prosecutors, city board members, etc.

    And if you tell the Democrats, will they do anything? Really?

    What if I think George Bush has committed crimes? Could I prove it? Would I be put in jail if I tried?

    After he leaves office, will more people speak out? So we will all learn more just how criminal, on other matters beyond the war and was is in the newspapers, this president (and his whole family), really was? I hope so.

    Because right I think now no one would listen anyway.

  2. We desperately need new leadership in the House and Senate. Reid and Pelosi have been a disaster. They both need to go. Now.

  3. I think a lot of the problem has to do with our sense of American exceptionalism, the belief that as a superior nation, we are entitled to do essentially anything we want in the world. Trying a president and throwing him/her in jail would seem to many as placing limitations on what we can do, as a rebuke to our nation. We have a giant feeling of national entitlement to overcome be we could actually hold someone to the law. Nixon got away with treason, Reagan, and now chimpy.