Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Devil's Bargain

[minor typographic changes] The liberal blogosphere is a abuzz with the news that the Obama administration's justice department has continued to defend one of the deportations for torture with a pernicious doctrine of executive privilege.
"In a closely watched case involving rendition and torture, a lawyer for the Obama administration seemed to surprise a panel of federal appeals judges on Monday by pressing ahead with an argument for preserving state secrets originally developed by the Bush administration. [NYT]

The Raven is likewise astonished. One may reasonably explain the better-than-nothing stimulus plan by pointing to the conservative majority in the Senate, and perhaps even Geithner's rumored no-oversight gift to the corrupt banks as well. But actions of the Justice Department are entirely actions of the Executive, and there is no door other than the nation's Chief Executive at which they may be set. Now, it is possible that this is strategy: that the Justice Department intends to lose this case. But if that is so, it's a very risky strategy. What if a conservative court grants the defense?

But, croaks the Raven, I don't think that where it's at. It looks to me like a bargain was struck with the criminals of the Bush administration, just like the bargains made with other corrupt dictators who have been forced, finally, to leave office: defend us, let us retire, and we will go quietly. Frankly, I'm astonished. These people have already "left" public life. Unless they are punished, they will return again, or their next generation. I don't want to see another pointless war of aggression, I don't want another great depression, I want my civil rights back, I want all these things for future generations as well. There is also an ethical problem: this is corrupting. If the biggest criminals get off, what reason is there for the rest of us to toe the line? Corruption breeds corruption. And what are we going to do when the Arab/Islamic world decides that, under the Bush doctrines of enforcement of national laws internationally, they can deal out justice against these people within our own borders?

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