Friday, December 29, 2006

While We're On The Subject Of Paying For One's Crimes

Before attempting to remove the splinter from another nation's eye, we might consider addressing the two-by-four that's lodged in our own.

So they're going to hang Saddam Hussein. American talking heads, for the most part, give the impression that they believe justice is being served. And the comments around my house aren't much different: Commit a crime; face the time.

Still, you can't help but notice that American Justice and its entourage, media whores all, have had a little work done since the seventies. When President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon all those years ago, the notion of Justice, or Justice For All, anyway, underwent some shape-shifting. From HuffPo contributor Jonathan Tasini:

I think it is a fair argument to make that had Nixon been convicted and served a prison term--as he should have--the Iraq war might never have happened--and hundreds of thousands of people would not have died, we would not have squandered as much as $2 trillion on an insane war and we would not have opened up a huge rift in our relations around the world. Is it not likely and plausible that, with the precedent of a Nixon conviction and imprisonment very much branded in the consciousness of our elected leaders, the current president and vice president (particularly the latter who worked in the Ford presidency) might have paused for a moment, in their improper, fallacious and illegal pursuit of an immoral war and the evisceration of our civil liberties, to ponder whether they were committing acts that might land them in jail? Given the individuals, I'll concede that perhaps nothing would have deterred them from committing impeachable offenses, that in the words of the House, were "subversive of constitutional government," caused "great prejudice to the cause of law and justice" and brought "manifest injury to the people of the United States."

We can undo some of the damage that the Nixon pardon caused. And that task must be taken up by the incoming Democratic majority. Incoming Speaker Pelosi and incoming Majority Leader Reid, if you continue to refuse to hold the current Administration accountable, as set forth in our Constitution, for the breaking of our laws and the violation of their sworn oaths, you will only be prolonging our national nightmare for years and possible generations to come. Future presidents will not hesitate to repeat the behavior of the Nixon and Bush Administrations because they will see our track record--our unwillingness to hold our elected leaders accountable for laws they violate. Based on lies that they will cloak in their own justification and without the proper Constitutional authority, future presidents will embark on wars that will kill countless more young men and women.

If we are a nation of laws, then let no person consider himself above those laws. And let no penalty or sentence effectuated thereby be undermined, diluted, or waived--and Justice For All thus denied--simply because the ones who broke, and continue to break, said laws temporarily occupy the halls of power.

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