Criminal records

December 13, 2008 at 11:14 am | Posted in U.S. Politics | Leave a comment

It might be somewhat guache to point this out, but it seems that after spending eight years ignoring, excusing or actively cheerleading for some of the worst abuses of power by an executive in recent memory, the Republicans’ Über-partisan apparatchiks have suddenly become awfully concerned with defending ethics, integrity and good government. Anyone know why that might be?

Yes, the right is positively frothing with outrage, schadenfreude and journalistic expose about the rank idiocy of small time crook Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich, whose f-bomb-laced wiretaps (in which he suggests the President elect can go fuck himself for refusing to enter into bribery) seem likely to land him a generous spell in prison. What a relief it must be for members of a party beset by a ‘culture of corruption’ to finally point at the party opposite and shout ‘well, at least we’re not the only ones!’

But before the Republicans start enjoying the scrutiny-free obscurity of their years in the wilderness, this week Congress published a report into criminality so serious it makes Blagojevich – and even Jack Abramoff and Ted Stevens – seem like petty thieves:

A bipartisan Senate report released Thursday concludes that decisions made by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld were a “direct cause” of widespread detainee abuses, and that other Bush administration officials were to blame for creating a legal and moral climate that contributed to inhumane treatment.

The report, endorsed by Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is the most forceful denunciation to date of the role that Rumsfeld and other top officials played in the prisoner abuse scandals of the last five years.


“The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own,” the report says.

Instead, the document says, a series of high-level decisions in the Bush administration “conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody.”

The report also notes that Donald Rumsfeld’s order in December ’02 to allow ‘aggressive interrogation techniques’ at Guantanamo Bay was directly responsible for the absuse of detainees, and that President Bush’s order denying captured prisoners the rights afforded to them by the Geneva Convention “impacted the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody.”

For a long time after Abu Ghraib was revealed, the spin from this “support our troops!” party was to blame the troops. They spun detainee abuses as the actions of ‘a few bad apples’ which were in no way related to or sanctioned by the Bush administration. As shown in quite toe-curling detail (PDF), we now know that the opposite was true.

It certainly appears that Blagojevich did a series of Very Bad Things, and he should be impeached and imprisoned for any crimes he’s committed. But if the GOP and its keyboard-thumping online warriors believe that crowing over the arrest of one jackass Democrat will disguise the slime of criminality they’ve been soaked in, then they’re madly, badly deluded.

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