Wednesday, April 05, 2006


"But it's the same with us, Harry."

As I was listening to NPR this morning and hearing them talk about the justice system or lack thereof in Afghanistan, as soon as they referred to how bad it was that criminal suspects were locked in prison for months before they went in front of a judge, this line from The Meaning of Life was all I could think of.

For now at least, so long as the President doesn't wake up in a snit, found out your name and declare you a suspected-terrorist/enemy-combatant, you do get to go in front of a judge -- but it is now officially the position of the executive branch that the President makes that decision. Like the Protestant fellow in this particular sketch, somehow, even as we claim ourselves to be a beacon of democracy and justice in the world, our system of justice and Constitutional law operates on a purely "I could, if I wanted" have a justice system. And like the wife in that sketch, some of us wonder, how are "they" who don't have "systems of justice" any different than we who do have such a system but who have decided we don't have to us it. We claim to be enlightened leaders, but are we really? And how does that help our "war on terror" if we don't take the lead in any meaningful manner?

Yet, those of us who raise these questions are considered un-American and morally relevent for claiming equivalence between America and "those people"? I would say that those who want to abandon American principles, not those who maybe go a bit overboard in worrying whether "we" are no different than "them" are the real un-American, morally relativistic folks!

Meanwhile, people still will say things regarding the Iraq war as "well, it turns out the President knew full well Iraq didn't have WMDs but he used that threat to sell the war anyway ... which means he is a ... deliberate misleader". Why cannot people just call things like they are and call Pres. Bush a liar? After all, they happily called Clinton a liar. And we were at war then too. Lest people forget, back in the 1990s, Clinton and his people had their pants on fire regarding terrorism -- they were trying to fight that war, and the Republicans were shouting "wag the dog" at every step. Of course "after 9/11 everything's different"(TM). But my question is: why has the American electorate (albeit with some disenfranchisement help from the likes of Harris, Blackwell and Diebold) rewarded the party for which it took 9/11 for them to realize terrorism's a threat even as they now claim the need to agressively preempt terroists threats (all talk) though the other party was adressing the issue beforehand (all walk)?

I guess though, given the results of the 1984 election (the ever competent Mondale lost in a landslide to the Actor President), we shouldn't be surprised that the American people prefer someone who talks the talk and who is all hat and no cattle to someone who actually walks the walk but sticks his foot in his mouth when trying to talk the talk or who is just not so good on TV. Of course, I am sure my Republican friends would cite the 1960 election as well. Fair enough, eh?

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