Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Rule Of Man, Or The Rule Of Law

There has been cheap talk about third world juntas and mirrored sunglasses lately regarding politics and law. One of the main features of those mirrored sunglassed juntas is that they involve the rule of man, of personality. Whatever the nation's history or laws, the current occupants get what they want either through making new laws or just plain ignoring the existing ones. Nobody has an expectation of protection under the law or protection from abuse of the law.

One of the nastier charges against the GW Bush administration was the politicization of the Dept. of Justice. Enforcement of the law depended on political circumstances rather than the law; political circumstances are the rule of man. When the enforcement of law depends on politics or station in life it ceases to be law and becomes the rule of man and serious consequences flow from that. Elements in society become either immune to law or the victims of law when man rather than law rules. No nation can long afford to have such a split in its population.

I find it unfortunate that President Obama has already made statements about who would not be prosecuted for torture offenses. The idea is that exempting CIA personnel who followed OLC memos and administration directives would keep them effective in their jobs rather than demoralized. This places respect for the law as optionally dependent upon your form of employment or employer rather than a universal standard. Interrogators must be familiar with the history of their occupation and that history is clear, water boarding is prosecutable torture.

It is bruited about that the President's agenda is threatened by pursuing the malefactors of the torture mess by creating the appearance of a political witch hunt. Because it was a Republican administration this occurred within and Democrats are now the majority there is little chance that action within Congress would not be treated as political - on both sides. Unlike Congress, the DOJ is not involved in passing legislation, it is supposed to be involved in law enforcement. Considering Republican behavior over the past three months it is pretty questionable whether there are any votes or support to be lost if the DOJ takes this matter in hand.

The DOJ now has pretty public reasons to be taking an interest in this issue between released documents and public statements this is now far from a secret. The question now is not the President's agenda, it is what sort of nation and government we are. Are we the mewling puking cowards who misuse helpless humans under our complete control or are we not? Are we a nation of law or are we a nation that finds the law an encumbrance to ignored for convenience and the convenience of those special individuals who happen to be something other than ordinary citizens. This brings another issue into play, are we all citizens of this nation or are only some of us subject to those responsibilities and if so what do we call those others? The Oligarchy? The Aristocracy? God's Chosen? Republicans? Democrats?

I don't want revenge or retribution for the crap that occurred under BushCo, I want the politics taken out of the crimes. I don't want to hear another mealy-mouthed torture excuse from some damn politician who thinks he's covering his Party, I want it clear in a court of law that there is no argument, there is no politics of torture it is flatly a crime and it is not done in the USA. I care little if anyone serves more than thirty days, I care that a verdict is reached and a sentence pronounced.

I care that we are a nation of law, not man.

1 comment:

Zak Johnson said...

I find it very sad that so many on the right apparently have no ethics other than situational ones. Equally, the politicization of every aspect of life makes absolutely no sense. Tax policy is political. Climatology is not; it just isn't. You would think the Constitution would also be exempt--the 8th amendment being rather short and to the point. But hey--the Gov of Texas can threaten secession without getting recalled, so perhaps I'm more out of touch than I imagined.