Monday, January 12, 2009

Mixed Emotions

There's and old saying that the ultimate in mixed emotions is watching your worst enemy drive off a high cliff - in your brand new Mercedes.

Well, this piece in the IHT raises such mixed emotions.

Deep in my heart of hearts, as well as firmly in my intellect, I am convinced that GWB & Co broke the law. Further, I would like to see him and all who enabled him pay for such transgressions, returning the functioning of our republic to that of a nation of law. Yet, on the other hand, I clearly remember the never ending story of GOP v. Clinton and the vast resources expended in that witch hunt.

There are arguments for and against a wide ranging investigation. Some of the "against" arguments say that it would cause a "chilling effect" on INTEL operations, as the agents who did certain things were assured by the administration that their actions were lawful, and would be hesitant to act decisively in the future. This kind of "Eichmann" defense is chilling in its own way.

One reason for the mess in Afghanistan was GWB taking his "eye off the ball" by invading Iraq. At present, I am tempted to think that that Mr Obama & Congress have a huge target to engage in terms of our collapsing economy. While I would like to see every torturer, every proponent of torture, and every tolerater of torture hung by his or her heels, perhaps we should let our elected officials get their arms around the economy first, and then turn to on investing time and energy in bringing the GWB criminals to justice.

To be frank, I would welcome a year or two without reference to, or reminders of Bush & Co. Condemn and outlaw the old practices on 20 Jan. Then give us all a break.



Andy said...

Hey Al! How's life treating you on your island paradise?

Aviator47 said...

Absolutely fine! We are enjooying the peace and quiet of the winter season. Everything is green.

And you?

Aviator47 said...

Well, not a bad start!


mike said...

Al - Welcome back! Where have you been? We missed your words - the blogosphere needs a sane voice.

I certainly concur with your post. This country does not need another dog and pony show like the wingnuts did in 98.

On the other hand, I believe that torture and torturers need to be exorcised. How to do it?? Many citizens still attempt to defend torture by repeating the right wing talking point of "the constitution is not a suicide pact". As far as I am concerned they are as loony and paranoid as the torturers. How does the country rid itself of this psychosis without tearing itself apart? Some have suggested a truth and reconciliation commission a la South Africa. Not sure that I agree???

I any case, whatever is done must send torture back to the 15th century where it belongs.

Aviator47 said...


Thanks for the welcome back. We were in the US for three weeks (Nov 24-Dec 18) and have just been takin' it easy since our return to Parosdise.

Now that things are warming up on the world stage again, I'll need an outlet!

Yes, the mantra of the cowards - "The Constitution is not a Suicide Pact." But, of course, those who tout this concept do not see any abridgment of civil or human rights applying to themselves. Our nation, to them, is worth dying for, but only if someone else does the dying!

Hope everyone had a great Holiday Season.


Andy said...

We're doing well too, thanks, though it's very cold right now!

Anonymous said...

Is it in response to the '98 impeachment debacle (i.e. fatigue and jadedness over stupid, senseless non-issues) or is it that the more liberal crowd coming in right now is too smart to cause such a stir when there's more important issues on the table right now?

Is it that, in '98, we had nothing better to be concerned about than where Willy J. put his cigar, but now the table's loaded with more important things?

At some point GW, Cheney, Rove & the gang need to be held accountable. It'll say volumes to the world if we do. And I don't think it needs to take that much in resources to do it. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if the legal team to do it volunteered to do it pro bono!

Publius said...

Sigh. If anyone's noticed, I'm not too active on any blogs anymore. This post of Al's kind of captures why. I've been in a profound funk for some time now, mainly because it's become clear that nothing I may say or do can affect the downward spiral of the nation.

Although on the face of it, Al's position is eminently defensible, it's my sense that overlooking criminal activity under the Bush administration—which I know will happen—will be terribly wrong. It will be the one of the final nails in the coffin for the United States of America. It will graphically demonstrate that we've gone all of the way in becoming a nation of men, and not of laws, and that our multi-tiered system of "justice" is locked in forevermore. It's not just politicians who enjoy the benefits of a different legal system, it's also much of the moneyed class, with the Wall Street crowd being poster children.

Harken back to WW2. We Americans are an exceedingly arrogant lot—although one might observe that we have little to be arrogant about these days—but we're no worse than the Germans and Japanese once were. Xenophobic, racist, convinced of their innate superiority? You got it. So what did the very wise Franklin D. Roosevelt insist on as the proper end to WW2? Total surrender. No armistice. No negotiations. Total surrender. The Allies killed lots of 'em, beat 'em to a pulp, hanged their leaders, extracted reparations and did lots of things to ensure they wouldn't do it again. Humiliation and punitive actions got their attention; it achieved the goal. Germany and Japan have been pretty good members of the community of nations ever since.

See the parallel? We're never going to get the attention of the Bushes, Cheneys, Rumsfelds and the Gonzales, not to mention the fat-cat bankers, if we don't just beat the shit out of them in retribution for their offenses. But we all know that won't happen. We're too gentlemenly. We want them to keep their dignity. We just want to get along.

Jefferson believed periodic revolutions were necessary. But what kind of revolution? An American revolution, one that was, in retrospect, pretty damned mild. Relatively few casualties and the Brits just gave up and went home. Nothing really happened to the large numbers of Tories here; everybody just kind of kissed and made up. But how about a French revolution? Now there's a revolution. Off with their heads. Following OUR revolution, our nation embarked on 200 years of pretty successful building of a free and wealthy society. The French, OTOH, going through multiple republics, were always in chaos.

But who's better off today? Are we any better off than our French friends? I don't think so. ISTM that in a relatively short period of time, we've managed to fritter away that huge lead we had over the French and the other democracies, to the point where we're actually behind in many indices of a civilized, advanced nation.

We ain't special any more. No city on a shining hill or thousand points of light for us. We've lost our soul as a nation. The only way we can recapture it is by taking such actions as holding all persons, regardless of who they are, accountable under the law for their transgressions. By living up to our promises. Otherwise, for those who haven't done so, I suggest reading Ayn Rand, the patron saint of the greedy. One of the worst authors ever, but, IMO, prescient when it comes to what's in this nation's future.

I have few complaints. I've a pretty good life. But what saddens me no end is the realization that I and the other old dogs I know had the best of times, that it's not going to be better for the generations that follow.

Anonymous said...

Publius, indeed, the devil plays a mean hand when the ante is the soul. Collectively, this nation has played pretty poorly.
I can't afford to be such a pessimist tho'. I've got three teenage boys I've got to push out into the world. The way I see it, we've just made room to grow. Economically. Morally. Kind of gives our youth something to shoot for.
This is the finest reason for you, Al, FDChief, and the other wiser posters to keep talking. You're the voice of well thought reason in a melee of hotheads shouting epithets and spreading vitriol.