Monday, August 27, 2007

Quote-Unquote

''Gonzales represents everything un-American about the current America -- the suspension of habeas corpus for those accused of crimes; the advocacy of torture techniques on enemy combatants; the promulgation of illegal, domestic spying and eavesdropping; the delusion of a "unitary executive" in our government (i.e., monarchy); the deep politicization -- what I'd call the Sovietization -- of our nation's judicial system.''
-Steve Clemons doing a good job of summing up authoritarian lickspittle, and now former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales today.

6 comments:

Brian Dunbar said...

So ... it's a lot like the Lincoln administration, circa 1863.

gregvw said...

Wikipedia, if it is to be trusted, has a list of the cabinet members past and present under the current administration. It seems that every post has had at least one resignation in the past 7 years. Does anyone know how this compares to the average 2-term presidency?

Rufus said...

Brian Dunbar- I'm confused here. Are you suggesting that having 20 mutants in a cave in the Mediterranean who want to kill us is somehow comparable to the American Civil War? Secondly, you know that some of us of the... let's say more left-libertarian persuasion aren't exactly fond of some of the precedents that the Lincoln administration set, right?

Brian Dunbar said...

Are you suggesting that having 20 mutants in a cave in the Mediterranean

No - I'm saying that the actions you wrote about are similar to what the Lincoln administration did in the Civil War. Except the torture part - merely clapping a guy in jail in the 19th century is inhumane by our standards.

I'm a pretty simple guy - don't read too much into what I say.

Secondly, you know that some of us of the... let's say more left-libertarian persuasion aren't exactly fond of some of the precedents that the Lincoln administration set, right?

I'm less than enamored of them myself.

I am conflicted about all of that, I'll admit. The Civil War era is great history; drama, politics, war, some very interesting actors. It happened at the right moment in history to be well documented so we can know what went on and refer to source documents.

I don't like what Lincoln did to save the Union. But knowing only what Lincoln did I don't see any way he could have not done what he did and still preserved the Union.

We're the beneficiaries of that Union - the good and the bad. I think there has been quite a lot of 'good' since 1865 - and it could easily have turned out a lot worse than it has.

Rufus said...

It's pretty much the same in France after the Revolution. Some historians argue that the Terror saved France from being consumed by civil war. I don't know if I'd go that far, but I would agree that the nation might well have collapsed if Napoleon hadn't come along a few years later.

Of course, the trick isn't so much in suspending liberties to restore central authority during civil war; it's seeing to it that the 'extraordinary' measures don't become the norm, because they can be just as hard to reverse. One of the unsettling things about the current war is that it's not clear exactly what we can consider achieving victory, so it's not reassuring to hear that these measures are just meant for war time.

Brian Dunbar said...

so it's not reassuring to hear that these measures are just meant for war time

For all of me we can declare ourselves the victor in the War on Terrorism and call it a day.

Except that, you know, there are those guys out there with bombs who don't like us and aren't shy about blowing stuff up. I don't think declaring metaphorical war on a concept was a smart idea.

On the gripping hand we'd been attacked so ... it was a knee-jerk reaction from the State.

We're in a pickle, that's for sure. I think we'll see a long slow twilight kind of war between 'us' and 'them' where war isn't War the way it's been since Westphalia. I'm pretty sure we'd be able to handle that better with an informed citizenry but hey - I'm just a cranky guy from Wisconsin.