Friday, February 22, 2008

Moral Authority and Unclean Hands

Photos from Abu Ghraib

Lawyers have a phrase they sometimes use to refer to people or companies who file actions that they shouldn't: "unclean hands."

In my last posting, "The Democrats' Sleight of Hand," I pointed out that the major candidates for president (i.e., the ones that the mass media and the major parties will give credence to, the ones that they find acceptable) have sullied themselves by their failure to act against monstrosities such as torture - even though they have had the power to do so - when it counted and when they should have. They have had the power for more than the last seven years to prevent these terrible crimes against humanity and against the people from being carried out.

In fact, they had the power to prevent Bush and Cheney from stealing office in the first place in 2000 - which they failed to do - and once again failed when Bush and Cheney stole the 2004 election.

Time and again they have failed to the point where quite some time ago - I would personally date this from the September 2006 Congressional vote on the Military Commissions Act - they crossed the Rubicon and threw in their lot with the Bush regime. After a certain point you become complicit in the crimes you allow to be carried out and you cannot go back subsequently and repudiate these actions without also implicating yourself in those crimes. You knew and you didn't stop it. You knew and you facilitated it. You knew.

Even if Obama and Clinton and McCain were to want to redress the terrible wrongs that they have committed, they would have to expose not only themselves as moral cowards but expose their parties' leadership and the mass media. They would have to go up against everything that they have benefited from and been an integral part of.

They have not only unclean hands. They are dripping with blood from head to toe.

Anyone who hopes that voting for and supporting one of these criminals will somehow magically restore decency and humanity and the rule of law needs to look very carefully at what these people have done over the last several years and draw the appropriate conclusions.

Imagine the upheaval in this country if one of them were to actually open the Pandora's Box of crimes and monsters and reveal to the world what they were part and parcel of permitting? There is no way to undo these crimes and right these wrongs without self-incrimination.

Even beyond self-incrimination, they would be implicating the entire system. Does anyone of us think that they have that kind of courage? Does anyone think that if any of them were to have a sudden awakening that they wouldn't instantly be marginalized by the rest of the establishment and silenced in one way or another?

The only force capable of righting these terrible wrongs is the mass actions of the American people. Nothing else will do. It begins with a few people with the courage and determination to stand up and say "Here I stand in witness. I can do no other. Join me, all you who have a conscience."

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