Thursday, January 08, 2009

Why Admit a War Crime on Prime Time?

This happened on December 16 right?

I cheered!

I assumed that, by Christmas day the bastard would be safely locked up. After all, Bernie Madoff is under House Arrest and he's only 'fessed up to stealing money.

Yet, despite the reasonably wide coverage and commentary on the significance of this confession, NOTHING has happened to Cheney. Why not?

Here's my favourite coverage, so far. It's from Rachel Maddows.

Part 2 can be found here.

I can only speculate that the reason that nobody's done anything is that they're all stunned, like rabbits in the headlights. It's all so blatant and in your face that everybody's thinking

"er... did he just say what I thought he said? Out Loud? On TV? If he did, then perhaps it can't be as illegal as we thought it was, or else, he wouldn't have dared to say it. Surely?"

Cheney is obviously cleverer, or at least more cunning than the apathetic masses watching his confession. Consider what happens if you continue to sit on your hands. Yes You, the silent passive population of the Police State of America will have given the green light to all future torturers. After all, if this one gets away with it, without criminal prosecution, then clearly it's approved by You the American People.

And if he is now prosecuted, his lawyers will no doubt argue that it's impossible for him to obtain a fair trial anywhere in the US because every potential juror has already seen his confession!

If that isn't a watertight case for either a lynch mob or Assassination Politics, I can't imagine what is...


Kristen said...

I think Harold Meyerson said it best: " can only irreversibly give up on a president once. Further catastrophic failures on the president's part elicit only diminishing returns."

I think that everybody who can be angered was already angered a long time ago whether it be at the president or VP.

I share your frustrations though.

Unknown said...

Honestly Harry I don't know what to say.

To me it seems that anyone with the balls to prosecute the monsters who have been running my country don't have the power to do so, and the people with the power to do so are likely just as corrupt.

Harry Stottle said...

I take your point Kristen. My own reaction to Cheney's confession partly mirrored it. I am so "unsurprised" by hearing confirmation of what we already knew that it was almost difficult to "remember" to be angry!

However, it is one thing to hurl accusations and entirely another to have the perpetrator boldly confess them as though he knew he was untouchable. "We The People" have to ensure that he is severely "touched"!

Harry Stottle said...

Can't disagree with your assessment either Max. Though I'm pretty sure that half a million people marching in protest through the streets of Washington might put some spine into one or two potential prosecutors...

Harry Stottle said...

I'm publishing this "comment" as a single entry although it actually represents a Stumble conversation I had with one of my stumbling buddies - Darque

Darque: It's going to be hard to do anything about it for a while. After all, all those judges who would hear this case are ideological plants that had to swear loyalty to the party (even over the Constitution or the country itself). We'll have to wait until some of Obama's appointments start serving.

Harry: Surely, the very least "We The People" could do is to serve notice of intent to prosecute?

Darque: So you'd think. But when the vast majority of the people who have the authority to make that statement were chosen for their positions specifically for their loyalty to Bush and Cheney, it just won't happen. It goes back to the Gonzalez/Libby attorney scandal - those were the US attorneys that would prosecute such a case for the DOJ, and instead they're party hacks and all-around douchebags who should probably be on the receiving end of some of this prosecution themselves. If "We The People" feel like doing anything about it, we'd actually have to get our fat asses off the couch, put down the remote control, grab some pitchforks and torches, and march on the White House until the Marines start shooting at us. And maybe then someone will get the picture. Maybe.

Harry: ah, I see you support my Lynch Mob alternative then!

Darque: Are you kidding? I've been calling for pitchforks and torches since 9/11 - when I saw that it was about to be used as an excuse to go to war in Iraq, to curtail civil liberties here and abroad, and to cover for any number of illegalities that the administration planned to commit. I wanted to stage a Constitutional Convention, with real-life people and not Washington and Jefferson impersonators, to re-write the full Constitution and Bill of Rights and to re-assert our trust in them - right on the White House lawn, with regular folks standing by with torches. I'm already there, man, and wondering why it's so lonely out here in Lynch Mob Land.

Harry: that, I suppose, is the crunch question. Why IS it so lonely? Why aren't there marches in the streets about this kind of shit? Why are they so apathetic?"

Darque: My theory: we've been bred to be stupid and apathetic. Two generations of influence over American schools has left Americans not only slipping in international scholarly rankings, but also bereft of the critical thinking skills required to form the outrage that we share over this stuff. They're too busy playing with the only two images they understand - god and country - to realize that one is fictional, and the other is under extreme duress. Come on, we still have teachers that can't fully discuss evolution, for fuck's sake, and we're going to expect these kids to grow up to be clever enough to understand the complexities of the Consitution, right and wrong, culpability, and rightful public prosecution? It's just too much for their poor, tired brains after all that praying.

Harry: all that is obviously true of about 50% of the people; perhaps even 75%, but I don't believe it applies to more than that. And I'm thinking back to the Gay Pride campaign - essentially supported by no more than about 1% in the early days and look how successful that was. That's the bit I don't understand. I accept the "majority" may be deeply conditioned sheep, but I KNOW there are active and SIZABLE minorities out there and they seem to be doing fuck all as well!

Darque: It's not to mean everybody's in the same boat - there are indeed active and sizable minorities, but they're often held back by fear of the consequences or lack of results. After all, would you go through the considerable time and expense of organizing one of these things, only to have just twenty people show up - and none with cameras? Congratulations, now you're on a watchlist of terrorists, and with nothing to show for it. Have fun on that flight back home. I've certainly seen it made clear, by everyone from local police to Dick Cheney - that being put on watchlists is only the first part of a systematic backlash against any kind of organized dissent.

Of course, it doesn't help that the political party that's supposed to oppose these guys has turned out to be spineless, craven wimps, afraid to wield power and terrified of being caught up in any allegations against BushCo. The threat is more than enough to stop any serious inquiry in DC: "Oh, well, you know, if you go after Bush, you'll find out just how much the Democrats helped him - you'll end up impeaching Pelosi, too." Or Reid, or Boxer, or whatever name you want - it's plenty to halt any such investigation in its tracks, which only makes me that much more intent on seeing it happen. If they've got any reason to fear investigation, that just makes investigation that much more necessary - at least in this case.

Which is a shame, since the Democrats have the political cachet to pull it off now. They don't want it to be "divisive," if you believe that, but the truth is that the last two elections are proof that the American people have moved away from Bush. That's supposed to be our loudest tool, and so far, it has produced a deafening silence.

And then there are the sheeple. There's enough of them to form a voting bloc, a political party built on the kind of easy lies that appeal to simpler minds. Sure, there's more sophisticated machinery behind it, but that's the public part of the Republican platform: liberals are godless anti-American pinko commie bastards, we're the party of god, god loves fetuses, and Ronald Reagan may have been the physical incarnation of god himself. That's their modus operandi, even if their true motives are much more complex. (Well, slightly more complex, anyway.)

So if there's no action on legal or political fronts, what's left to the American citizen that feels that Bush and his cronies deserve more than just leaving Washington after their "victory lap" tour? What's left to those of us that feel our national honor is stained, and that to restore it, we must not only purge this element from the government, but also to indict, try, convict, and publicly punish those who led it? Well, now we're back to pitchforks and torches. We certainly can't offer the level of armed resistance it would take to overcome the greatest (and by far most expensive) military the world has ever seen - not without rallying nearly all the population, and even then, it's questionable. But pitchforks and torches are symbolic - it sends a message that we're a lynch mob without overtly violent (and criminal) tones, but also the message that resistance is not futile. Let's hope there are people willing to listen.

Harry Stottle said...

Darque seems to me to be painting a picture of a "subdued" population, where the authoritarian bullying has paid off. Most people are too intimidated or apathetic to put their heads above the parapet.

Any other Americans prepared to argue with that?