Monday, June 01, 2009

Manifesto for Banana Republicans

The other day a journalist friend of mine in Washington got a phone call from a colleague in South America. "How's it feel to be a fellow citizen of the Third World?" my friend's friend asked.

"What?" said my friend.

"You know," said the Latin reporter, "the new government gets in office, the old government goes to jail."

The caller was referring, of course, to the prosecution--or threatened prosecution or mooted prosecution or proposal for prosecution to be publicly disavowed but tacitly permitted to go forward--of six Bush administration officials involved with the legal issues concerning "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Note that Attorney General Eric Holder and assorted Obama allies and ilk have been picking on people of whom you've mostly never heard. Aside from former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, it is unknown notables who are suffering besmirchment, sabotage, shredding, and wreckage of their characters, careers, reputations, and personal lives. John Yoo was a lawyer at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. Jay Bybee was in charge of that office. Douglas Feith was an undersecretary of defense. William Haynes was the Defense Department's general counsel. And David Addington was the vice president's chief of staff.

The targets of calumny do not include any people who actually employed enhanced interrogation techniques. No CIA agents or agency contractors are on the black list. Of course not. It's beneath the dignity of Dianne Feinstein to have to get down on her knees every morning and look under her Prius to see if there's an IED from The Firm.

Nor has there been proscription of the political leaders who decreed how Guantánamo miscreants and associate miscreants were to be questioned. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney aren't threatened with legal action, not even by lunatic Iberian jurist Balthasar Garzón. (I received a post-cocktail hour email from a redneck pal: "Hope Don Greaser tries to serve the subpoenas in person. Body mount of Spanish judge in full plumage sure would dress up my game room.")

Indicting the top members of the ousted Republican government would attract attention from the wrong people--regular people. Public opinionmakers are vehement in their fastidiously ethical support of the Democratic party's stand on anti-cruelty to terrorists. Public opinion is not so certain. Broad polling might uncover opinions to the effect of, "Water-boarding? What's with water-boarding. How about kerosene-boarding!"

Continued here (The Weekly Standard, dated 1 June 2009)