It was very difficult to understand the Bush Administration’s irrational hatred and disregard for Muslims except that it was based on racism and fear. So, the news that his administration kept imprisoned those people he knew were innocent should come as no surprise. Did politics have something to do with it as the article implies? Bush/Cheney were riding high from the benefits of the 911 catastrophe and their false and misplaced sense of patriotism could have easily masked the release of people from Guantanamo Bay who were innocent but that’s an option they didn’t even appear to approach. Rather they dug themselves deeper and deeper pursuing people the likes of Jose Padilla, et.al weaving scary scenarios of Muslim hordes roaming throughout the country to wreak havoc on an ill-prepared public all the while actively ripping the US Constitution to shreds. Indeed, one can say quite accurately the Bush Administration wanted to consolidate power for the conservative wing of the GOP with it’s Muslim scare tactics and make it possible for any future administration to only go down the road of fascism and government abrogation of citizen rights. From the looks of things, in that we can say they succeeded!
It has been very revealing watching members of the Right deny the responsibility of their ideology for two tragic murders that have recently occured which captured the attention of the Nation. First came the cold blooded slaughter of an abortionist, Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas followed up shortly by the brutal killing of a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC of all places.
Dr. Tiller’s death is troubling because he had been the target of anti-abortionists’ rage before and even the person charged with his murder had been known to stalk and even vandalize the clinic where Tiller worked in the days preceeding his death. Several people in the clinic have gone on record saying they knew about Scott Roeder’s attempts at disrupting the operation of the clinic and notified the proper authorities yet nothing was done to apprehend Roeder and possibly prevent Dr. Tiller’s death. Such ineptness on the park of the federal beaucracy does not mean that even more layers of government are necessary to protect the citizens but rather irresponsible civil servants need to be replaced with more diligent and efficient ones.
The death of Stephen Jones at the National Holocaust Museum at the hands of a white supremacist is a tragedy underscored by the fact this murderer had a long history, easily documented that could possibly point to such a heinious crime being committed by his hand, age notwithstanding, yet he very easily walked down a metropolitan city street with a .22 caliber rifle and shot and killed an armed federal agent. The reason why I mention again both of these crimes is because of the contortions those on the right are taking to distance their ideology from these two men who claimed to hold that ideology near and dear to them. Political pundits are taking great lengths to say that these murderes aren’t from the right at all but rather from the left of the political spectrum, despite the fact they, the perpetrators clearly identify with the Right. Punditry has managed to make actions a mark of political persuasion and not words and have told their admirers that death and killing are marks of the political left, terrorism marks of Muslims, while the opposition the Right makes to anything is noble and necessary to save America from its enemies.
This was the kind of meme advanced by Dick Cheney, more recently, and the entire Bush administration before which reduced all argument to ‘with us or against us’ sloganeering. In that small universe built by the likes of the triumphant Right there was nothing that we did to those ‘against us’ that could be considered illegal or immoral behavior. The concept of “exceptionalism” had been developed to the point that meant even the boundaries of legality didn’t apply to us or we made every attempt to legalize illegal behavior in order to legitimize our unlawful actions. It was a vicious circle we continue to traverse by denying the rational of these latest criminals for their criminal behavior.
News accounts and political pundits have taken great pains to classify these murderers as lone gunmen who are completely separate and detached from the environment which they have enveloped themselves. By doing so they hope to further distance themselves from the effect their rhetoric has on the people who listen to and subscribe to it.
In our system of law as it pertains to capital crimes unless there is a conspiracy there is no guilt by association. Conversely there is also no innocence by association. Christian leaders and conservative citizens in general have jumped at the chance to label Mr. Roeder a vigilante, a monster and things far worse.
Regrettably this tactic is only applied to members of the right who spent an entire two terms of a right leaning Republican administration to paint with the broadest of brushes entire groups of people based on the actions of individual(s). This has been a common practice of demagoguery; the politics of the many condensed into the actions of the lone individual. Cries of bombing the institutions that are symbolic of political ideology have given way to the absolute negation of ideology and their import on an individual’s actions. Murderers on the right have suddenly appeared on our political landscape and killed their perceived foes because they were inherently defective and acting completely on their own, while the last eights years of a Republican administration were spent literally trying to root out whole communities of conspirators who lurked in every corner of our country waiting for a chance to reap their collective death and destruction at the earliest possible moment on an unsuspecting public that need the invasive protection of a government bureaucracy.
Finally the absence in many cases of condemnation from the progenitors of rightist motivation for such murderous tendencies is another characteristic of the sudden revisionism going on in Obama’s America. During the Bush years people were always challenged to condemn the acts of coreligionist or fellow ideologues, today’s America sees there is no need for condemnation because such acts rarely accomplish anything and not worth the time spent doing so.
Condemning Roeder doesn’t add anything to the pro-life cause. Pro-abortionists are always quick to remind the Christians of Christ’s rule of not judging or condemning. Why add fuel to the fire by condemning Mr. Roeder, isn’t it just a matter of six of one and a half dozen of the other? Both Tiller and Roeder have One that will be their final judge and he is neither hot under the collar, biased or partial. Why don’t we leave all that to Him?
In many ways such ideas mirror the current glossing over done by the Obama administration vis-a-vis Bush Administration crimes of torture and violations of the US constitution and are entirely motivated by groups’ needs to absolve themselves of responsibilty for actions of the past or the future.
Dick Cheney deserves to be in jail. He is perhaps one of the biggest war criminals the US has produced in recent memory, ranking right up there with Henry Kissinger and Lyndo Johnson. So why did he go and put his foot in his mouth about Obama endangering the American public because of his reversal of some of Cheney/Bush’s illegal adventures the last 8 years? I guess to Dick the fact that the US has invaded two countries that were otherwise not hostile or a threat to US interests doesn’t matter a hill of beans to how people think of this country or how angry and unstable they must feel about American intervention. All of the displaced Iraqis leaving in countries other than their own must be really happy about Bush’s decision to invade their country while extremely upset with Obama’s decision to close down Guantanamo Bay or stop torture and rendition of people we suspect of terrorism. Go figure, and did you catch Cheney’s really flippant remark about the role his administration played in the economic downturn?! Stuff happens. Wow. Cheney doesn’t have a clue or doesn’t give a damn. His deflection of his responsibility for what he took this country through is sad, pathetic and embarrassing for us as a nation. This was the best we could do? Brilliant Someone lock him up and throw away the key, please!
So after this really lame appearance on CNN, the Obama administration reacted to Cheney’s remarks with an equally flippant and faux indignation only politicans can muster. The longer Obama stays in office the easier it is to see how the saying, the more things “change” the more they remain the same, should have been his campaign slogan, for while he has tossed us the platitudes of closing Guantanamo Bay, he has also repeated a Bush administration policy of citing “state secrets” to prevent the release of evidence concerning extraordinary renditions as well as argued that all cases being brought against the Bush administration for torture related offenses should be dismissed! What Cheney’s remarks were meant to do were to get Obama to continue to toe the line by making the new government appear to be soft on terrorism, when it really isn’t, and in order to project the tough guy image, do even more along the lines of draconian measures instituted by Bush/Cheney to prove it. Meanwhile the two sides appear to be at odds with one another when they really aren’t. Obama’s chief concern must be the economy, while issues of foreign policy will be largely seen as a battle ground between the two parties but left as they were under Bush. The drama continues.
So why isn’t he in jail? Perhaps it’s the mood of the country, overwhelmed by all that has gone wrong during the Bush administration finally being exposed by the main stream media. Trillions, not billions as we were originally told, of tax payers’ money needed for a bail out of an economy that some say has been in a recession for over a year, and that’s the best thing that can be said about that, jobs eliminated or on the verge of being wiped out and fraud exposed at every level of the financial markets, people are unsure which shoe will drop next, so Cheney’s admission to something that doesn’t directly affect the everyday person most likely was met with a sigh of relief it didn’t involve them directly.
Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who led the investigation of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, has said “there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”
Most likely the answer is they will not be held accountable because the blame for a government intent on torturing people it didn’t like should fall on the shoulders of people of all political persuasions and the people who elected them. For the moment the ball rests in the Bush court. Will he issue pardons to the members of his administration guilty of such crimes, or will he let them go? There will be hearings about this in both houses of Congress, but that will probably be the extent of any accountability, so it’s up to the “people” to make their voices heard on this issue. What has muted our response before is our realization we are responsible for Bush/Cheney serving 8 years in the White House. I hope we can get past that and let these criminals know where we stand today! I don’t think Cheney will find an sympathetic ear with them/us. Time will tell.