Sunday, April 26, 2009

David Broder- Crime is Just Fine with Me

Those of you who have read this blog know that, being a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan, I generally prefer the short sharp shock; sadly, sometimes this isn't adequate. Here is an example- an absolutely execrable opinion piece in the Washington Post, by David Broder.

For those of you who are not familiar with David Broder, he is frequently referred to as the "Dean of the Washington press corps." Mr. Broder earned this title, I believe, by the achievement of having been wrong about every single political issue since, approximately, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.

Mr. Broder's article is entitled "Stop Scapegoating." Scapegoating, just for your information, is the Republican term for holding Republicans responsible when they have broken the law. This is as opposed to the deep, righteous indignation that leads, for example, to impeaching Bill Clinton for getting a blow job.

Well, let's start in on this malicious nonsense:

"But now Obama is being lobbied by politicians and voters who want something more -- the humiliation and/or punishment of those responsible for the policies of the past. They are looking for individual scalps -- or, at least, careers and reputations.

Their argument is that without identifying and punishing the perpetrators, there can be no accountability -- and therefore no deterrent lesson for future administrations. It is a plausible-sounding rationale, but it cloaks an unworthy desire for vengeance."

Of course, we are motivated by nothing but vengeance when we desire the "punishment of those responsible" for committing one of the most loathesome crimes known to man, in our name. It seems to be outside his grasp that we might be motivated by a desire for justice, generally not considered an unworthy motive.

Broder famously said, of Clinton, in 1998, "He came in here and he trashed the place," says Washington Post columnist David Broder, "and it's not his place." Bush and Cheney, of course, did not trash the place by humiliating every single person in the entire country.

"The torture issue is much more serious, and Obama needs to take it on himself, as he started to do -- not pass the buck to Attorney General Eric Holder..."

Wrong again, David, and you know it damned well. It is the job of the Justice Department to prosecute criminals, and that prosecution should proceed based on the facts of the case, not on Presidential whim. Interference in the legal process by politicians was George Bush's stock in trade, and it is part and parcel of what got us into this ugly situation. Of course, it never occurred to you to object to that, you dishonest hack.

"The memos on torture represented a deliberate, and internally well-debated, policy decision, made in the proper places -- the White House, the intelligence agencies and the Justice Department -- by the proper officials."

What's your point, David? That blatant, open criminality of the most debased sort is somehow better if the perpetrators really thought it out in advance? Or is it just that anything is okay if the "adults" in the Republican party do it?

"One administration later, a different group of individuals occupying the same offices has -- thankfully -- made the opposite decision. Do they now go back and investigate or indict their predecessors?

That way, inevitably, lies endless political warfare. It would set the precedent for turning all future policy disagreements into political or criminal vendettas. That way lies untold bitterness -- and injustice."

Listen, David, I know you are not too stupid to understand this: Opposition to the most degraded criminal behavior does not constitute a "policy disagreement" with the criminals. And putting those criminals in jail dosn not amount to "injustice." In fact, prosecuting and punishing criminals is normally known by quite another word. That word is "justice."

Don't even try to tell us that you don't understand that. So what is your motive in attempting to argue away the worst sort of barbarism? I'd really like an answer to that question, if there is an answer beyond the fact that you are a paid liar. And by the way, I don't really care if the moral cretins of the Bush administration end up bitter.

And, as to your sudden concern about "endless political warfare," Look out of your window, David. That's what the Republican party is going to throw at the Democrats from now until eternity, regardless of what Obama does. So he might as well do the right thing, rather than hide his head in the sand like you.

"Suppose that Obama backs down and Holder or someone else starts hauling Bush administration lawyers and operatives into hearings and courtrooms.

Suppose the investigators decide that the country does not want to see the former president and vice president in the dock. Then underlings pay the price while big shots go free. But at some point, if he is at all a man of honor, George W. Bush would feel bound to say: That was my policy. I was the president. If you want to indict anyone for it, indict me.

If George W. Bush is at all a man of honor? Listen, you Jackass: George W. Bush is NOT at all a man of honor. Men of honor do not torture. They do not lie to the American people any time it meets their convenience. They do not perpetrate aggressions against innocent countries. They do not enable the theft of our national wealth by the rich.

There is no human being in this country who is less a man of honor than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, although those who are willing to prostitute themselves attempting to protect Bush and Cheney from the consequences of their criminality come in a close second.

George W. Bush has never in his entire life taken responsibility for anything he has done. What perversity could lead you to claim that he will start now?

"Is that where we want to go? I don't think so."

I've got news for you, buddy. It may not be where you want to go, but there is a sizable group of people in this country that do want to go there. That group would be known as "decent human beings."

Update: Glenn Greenwald has written a great reply to Broder's article at Salon.

He says, "I read David Broder's truly wretched screed yesterday.... and decided that I wouldn't write about it until today because I didn't want it to infect my Saturday."

I repeat this comment because I felt exactly the same way. I read this Broder piece yesterday, and knew that it would take a day before I could face writing about it.

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