Truth and Consequences: What Does the Future Hold, If We Don't Hold the Present Accountable?
The Hague, Netherlands - The war crimes trial of Charles Taylor, Liberia's former president, heard its first testimony Monday and saw video of victims telling of being sexually assaulted or dismembered by rebels who plundered West African diamond fields.
That one sentence got me thinking, particularly when I saw the term sexually assaulted.
Not to play down the other horrors like amputation that the victims underwent, but -- sexual assaults mentioned in the same sentence as "war crimes trial" caught my attention.
I wonder what they'd call the CIA torture tapes, or the pictures and videos from Abu Graihb or Gitmo?
I wonder if our soon-to-be-former President and any of his staff will ever be held accountable for their war crimes. Does the intentional invasion of a nation based on known false evidence count? (Yep -- it's called a "war of aggression.") Does the use of waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" like stress positions count as torture? (Yes -- which is why the US Justice Department reframed the definition of torture to exclude things like waterboarding, so that GWB could claim a degree of plausible deniability when he lied and said we didn't torture.)
Does fooling one's own nation into war -- or at least into an attack on a nation -- through false provocation and false pretenses count as a war crime? (Not sure -- I think it false under the same "war of aggression" definition -- but I'm pretty certain that purposely undermining the operation of the government and misleading Congress counts as "subversion".)
There aren't enough years in the life of an ordinary man or woman to do the time required to pay for the crimes that have been committed and continue unabated under this Administration.
Will there ever be any accountability assessed, or consequences levied against those reponsible?
Will the folks who strove in Congress to subvert the investigation into torture, illegal warrantless wiretapping, the outing of a covert CIA agent or the discovery of evidence that the President suggested baiting another nation into war ever have to face charges of complicity in the crimes they gleefully protected? The Trent Lotts, who claimed that waterboarding was akin to swimming, or the Joe Liebermans who refused to investigate the failings of the government to respond adequately to Katrina victims (still! They're STILL not responding adequately!)...what will become of them? Will they be able to walk away scott free, and escape the responsibility -- and thus be "safe" from being drawn back in as a result of investigations of other instances of corruption, graft and abuse?
Will we ever get even a quarter of the truth from any of the multiple investigations going on, when the very people who stand to lose -- and stand to be held accountable for major crimes -- are the ones in charge of both the investigators and the evidence that is needed to convict them?
Do we have, in our upcoming cast of candidates, anyone who will pledge to deliver the whole truth, no matter where it leads, and promise to NOT pardon the wrongdoers in some foolish claim of "healing the nation" when the very act of a pardon would put a stamp of approval upon the crimes and the criminals -- an abuse of privilege daringly applied to Nixon by Ford, and used with gusto by Bush senior to effectively end an investigation into multiple dirty cesspools of corruption?
Those precedents, those players, and those cesspools of corruption are back and propagating through the halls of our nation.
To clean up the corruption, those precedents must be purged, the cesspools emptied, and the participants punished in accordance with the law -- just like any ordinary citizen. No pardons, no commutation, no "executive privileges" should be granted; no sentences stayed.
Who will stand for the people?
Who stands for the Constitution, and for the restoral and depoliticalization of Justice?
Are there any actual patriots left in any of the branches of government, or has the corruption and cronyism corrupted it all?
Tell me, please: who will stand for the children, the future and promise of our nation, and guard against the passing of this dangerously insidious darkness into their lives?