Wednesday, March 21, 2007

'Bush Rejects Show Trials' -- A Politically Correct Response

The president muttered incoherently in public again yesterday, about the extraordinary measures he and his staff are willing to take to bury the fast-spreading scandal over the firing of eight US Attorneys, apparently for purely political reasons. After Bush tried to explain what he would and would not allow in the way of an investigation; the BBC summarized it this way:
Bush rejects Senate 'show trials'

US President George W Bush says he will not allow his advisers to take part in "show trials" in the escalating row over the firing of federal prosecutors.

He has offered to let his staff give evidence, but only in private and not under oath.

The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee has rejected the offer.

Mr Bush has backed Mr Gonzales, a long-time confidant, and warned Democrats against seeking a fight over the issue in order "to score political points".

"We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honourable public servants," Mr Bush said.
If I may ...

First: There are no honourable public servants involved in this case, so we can dispense with that red herring from the outset.

Second: This is not about scoring "political points". It's about fighting what appears to be wanton political corruption at the highest levels of the federal justice system [sick]. Serious questions have been asked here and the American people deserve straight answers -- for once! -- at the very least. Spin-meisters need not apply.

Third: People in civilized countries are required to obey the law of the land no matter where they work, so when the president's aides are called to testify under oath, that's the way they should testify, the same as any other potential witness to any other potential crime. In no civilized country is it considered suitable for the suspects to control the terms of an investigation. And that's been happening a lot around here lately, so it's time to revert to the tried-and-true method.

Fourth: The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee was quite correct in rejecting the offer, but could have made a counter-offer to keep the process moving. Don't worry; that's what we're here for.

Finally: The question of "show trials" is a very simple matter. If the president objects to show trials, let us have the trials without the show. Let's have secret tribunals instead.

The details are all figured out already. We can hold the accused incommunicado in secret prisons without charge or hearing indefinitely. We can use the most vigorous interrogation techniques we can imagine, as long as we're careful not to cause death by organ failure. And after four or five years, or whenever it becomes politically convenient necessary, we can release "transcripts" of their "confessions".

By that time some of the suspects may have been shipped to foreign dungeons to be tortured, and some of them may even be dead. But what difference would it make? In a secret tribunal, nobody expects to see the suspect, anyway. We won't have to release any audio or video of the trials; we can even recirculate an old photo or two from the files. What difference would it make? All the information would be classified, anyway. National Security.

Do you think I'm kidding? I'm not! We've seen the system in action already. And we know it works, or at least that's what we've been told.

So now let's use that system to do what it was designed to do -- to neutralize the people who threaten our way of life, to hunt 'em down, smoke 'em out of their caves offices, and hang 'em from the ceiling at Gitmo.

What are we waiting for?