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Wed

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Jul

2009

What to do with the enablers?
Wednesday, 22 July 2009 11:15
by Jayne Lyn Stahl

Senator Feinstein was right when she told Fox News, on Sunday, that we have a "problem" with a vice president who orders the head of the Central Intelligence Agency not to disclose details of a secret "counterterrorism" program in violation of federal law. Yes, indeed we do, but the larger problem is what to do with those who enabled Dick Cheney, and continue to do so.

Say, for the sake of argument, that an indictment is issued against Dick Cheney and he gets to have his day in court and, say that the former vice president is convicted. This still doesn't solve the problem of what to do with those in the Bush administration who aided and abetted such egregious acts as torture, and warrantless eavesdropping, as well as the decimation of 5 million White House e-mails in violation of the Presidential Records Acts.

A new post could be created to just to keep track of all the laws that were bent, or outright broken, under George W. Bush starting with FISA, the eighth amendment proscription against cruel and unusual punishment, the Geneva Conventions, the 1947 national security provisions which required that Congress be briefed, and that's just for starters.

But, even if Dick Cheney gets to join the likes of Bernie Madoff, and spend what's left of his life in jail, we're still going to have to live with the aftershocks of the Bush years, the USA Patriot Act which, you'll recall, was finalized with Bush's reelection in 2004, as was the understated, but everpresent, police state which we have come to equate with the "new normal." Government hit squads a la Cheney, waterboarding, and indefinite detention are practices that have been outed, but only the most naive among us would believe they've been ruled out.. One newspaper has already been made to recant a report it did on a story it did, and that same newspaper's publisher just hosted a networking mixer for 350 former elected officials who have just been enlisted to lobby for the private health care industry.

Yes, the enablers are alive and well when environmental activists can be chained and handcuffed for hanging a banner warning about climate change on Mount Everest. The enablers are thriving when a veteran of Iraq has his flag taken down by Wisconsin police for hanging it upside down as a lawful means of protest.

In the end, it's not only about what commands the vice president gave to the CIA about what not to tell Congress in the Bush years, it's about what commands are being given now.

Vigilance is required with respect to President Obama's stand on state secrets, his jockeying to legally bolster the Bush administration in their refusal to turn over hundreds of thousands of White House e-mails miraculously discovered, his aiding and abetting a legal black hole of unlimited detention for those we pick up on the ever expanding fields of battle. These policies must be come under the same scrutiny as those of Dick Cheney or, in the end, the enablers will prevail, and Dick Cheney will get a perennial get out of jail card.

I join those who call for Mr. Cheney's day in court, But, we must also be convinced that the name on the door to the Oval Office isn't the only thing that has changed, in the past six months, and that Mr. Cheney's enablers have, once and for all, left town.
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leo said:

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Hindsight
While its important to prosecute wrongdoers, if you rely on selective hindsight to do it, you will make a travesty of the entire judicial process. To miss the fact that very little protest was offered while these offenses occured, is selective prosecution and shouldnt be tolerated as it serves to undermine the Constitution.

What we should ask first is "Why was the world quietly standing by when these offenses occured?" "Was the silence a sign of silent approval?"
The answer to the second question is undeniably "yes." The answer to the first might be harder to acquire. If you believe that the terrorist has caused the world to temper its protest to its viscous assault upon the innocent, then you must conclude that the world was silent because it was afraid to respond and gave all authority to admin officials to act. In which case, admin officials like Cheney were operating in difficult times and werent getting feedback from those of us who have the right to protest in the moment, not after the fact. The bottomline is that we are to blame for not questioning the authority of Cheney at the time, if he was wrong.
What other explanations are there? The silence of the people has made prosecution virtually impossible. But it does provide for a "witch hunt." Perhaps even a "kangaroo court." Care to join the process and lose your soul?
Selective prosecution may be just a way to avoid looking at one's own culpability. Its the people who have the right to question the authority of government to act and when government is wrong, we gather around like sharks and look for the offerings of the baiters, who bait the waters with offerings designed to ruin the reputations of the officials we gave silent approval to to act. We are becoming a nation of hyprocrits, and the terrorist is laughing as he turns up the heat with every mistake we make. They are watching.
 
July 25, 2009
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