B’Man: What does it represent when Americans, gullible to their own doom, listen to those who have been so very wrong about pretty much everything… to those who have supported and abetted this cabal ruling our country… but accuse other nations of the same blatant misgivings their own cronyistic sycophants are engaged in? Glenn Greenwald points out such an instance regarding Russia’s president and his ‘abuse’ of the rule of law. This particular example is laid out by Glenn. My point is broader than that, but I borrow a few listed examples (with the links Glenn shared) to show that this idea permeates our entire nation… not just the Big Media. Many people have come to think that the opinion of 300Million people should out-weigh the opinion of 9.5 Billion others. We are superior in military and technology (losing the advantage in technology fast). But in our brainwashed minds, we insist that our desires and opinions should over-rule others.
Diehl is writing on the same Editorial Page which, for the last five years, has boisterously cheered on the American invasion and occupation of Iraq — one of the most egregious violations of international law of the last decade, at least. It’s the same Editorial Page that has repeatedly urged that lawbreaking telecoms should be relieved of the obligation to go to court and should be immunized from any consequences, decreeing that they were “acting as patriotic corporate citizens” when breaking our privacy laws for years. It’s an Editorial Page that never ceases its support for those who threaten Iran with a military attack — threats which (not that anyone really cares) happen to be violations of the conventions of international law which the Post depicts itself as upholding (UN Charter: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force . . . “).
And just two days ago, the Post’s Editorial Page explicitly advocated that new so-called “specialized national security courts” be created in the U.S. to empower the President to imprison people — even for life — without having to charge them with any crime, including in those circumstances where (due to a lack of evidence) no such charges could possibly be brought against such individuals:
The president must have the legal flexibility to detain those against whom there is credible, actionable intelligence but not enough evidence to bring charges.
This is who, on a weekly basis, singles out other Governments for lectures on the sanctity of the rule of law, human rights, and the need to abide by international conventions. It’s certainly possible to argue that we shouldn’t be constrained by petty and bothersome things like international law and even domestic law when it comes to having the President protect us all. That, more or less, has been the animating principle which our political establishment (and certainly the Post Editorial Page) has embraced to justify the conduct of our own Government during the last seven years.
But you can’t simultaneously espouse that view for yourself and then expect that your sermons to the rest of the world about the sanctity of international conventions and the rule of law will be treated with anything other than scornful indifference. Yet somehow, people like Jackson Diehl — Fred Hiatt’s deputy — continue to believe they’re in a position to condemn other countries’ disregard for such principles.
What we’ve done over the last seven years — at least much of it — isn’t a secret. It’s worthwhile to state frequently in clear, dispassionate terms what our country has done. Our Government has kidnapped people off the street and from their homes and sent them to places like Syria to be tortured for months (including completely innocent people) and then invoked National Security claims to bar them from holding our Government accountable in a court of law. We’ve disappeared others into secret prisons beyond even the reach of the Red Cross, or encaged them in a lawless black hole on a Cuban island. We’ve tortured them, sometimes to death, even with the knowledge that many were innocent. We attacked and completely demolished another country that couldn’t attack us even if it wanted to. And our President openly declared that he has the power to break our laws, spy on U.S. citizens with no warrants, and indefinitely imprison even our own citizens with no process of any kind. Those are all just facts that aren’t really subject to dispute or debate.
Worst of all, having done all of that — not for weeks or months following the 9/11 attacks, but for years, still — we’ve collectively decided, without much turmoil or debate, that it should all be forgiven, that none of it should be punished or even investigated, that it’s best just to keep these crimes concealed and, when accidentally disclosed, to immunize the criminals. And all of that is being done right out in the open, so that our formal human rights reports are self-evident, almost laughable, farces, and even countries like Zimbabwe, when their governments want to engage in tyrannical acts, can and do rationally point to the U.S. as the leading example which they’re following.
Whether this country or that one is “worse” than the U.S. in these areas is irrelevant to the point (though, on that topic, one might compare Diehl’s complaints about Russia’s interference in oil disputes to the Bush administration’s “War on Terror” conduct). Regardless of who is “worse,” it is truly baffling that our political establishment still thinks it can anoint itself arbiters on the rule of law and human rights.
How can a member of an Editorial Page which has endorsed some of the most grotesque abuses and violations of law within their own country — and which continues to believe that those responsible should be protected and immunized — possibly continue to parade around as some sort of crusaders for those principles when it comes to others? Who is the target audience that they think they are successfully fooling with that charade? What mental process allows a person like Jackson Diehl or Fred Hiatt to declare that their own Government is exempt from the rule of law and the most basic international norms yet still believe they are in a position to condemn other governments for insufficient regard for the rule of law and human rights?