Zen Justice


January 23, 2009 by Gsmith

zenjusticeMy internet friend and fellow digital bolshevik Larry Hamelin writes in The Barefoot Bum: Obama and torture:

One critical ideological goal of the Bush administration was to establish absolute executive authority. The Bush administration tortured people not just because they’re sadistic bastards — and they tap into the sadistic tendencies in the population — but also to establish that they could torture people and get away with it.

It is not enough that Obama’s administration will not torture people. If Obama allows those who did in fact torture people to escape without punishment he is just as guilty of suborning torture

To some extent the criticism which is already being leveled at President Obama parallels some of the criticism of the Mormon Worker. I’m amused by the existence of an anarchist bible, not to mention the fact that some anarchists ostensibly attempt to browbeat and coerce other anarchists into political participation (abstaining from voting, last I checked, was participating) along anarchist party lines.

I guess there’s a fine line in criticizing people you generally agree with and browbeating the same people over specific points in an attempt to find common ground.

Should we (radical types) consider President Obama someone we generally agree with? I’d like to think I agree with him in theory on many small things. He’s a guy I’d probably enjoy jogging with.

President Obama may well be a nice fellow, and I’m sure he’ll try to make as many cosmetic changes as he possibly can; but the fact that he may attempt to make the structure of the present system more pleasant than the last acerbic character who sat in the captain’s chair might only make him more dangerous from a strategic perspective.

The fact that Dick Cheney has not been arrested ought to be ample evidence that we actually live in a one-party plutocracy.



4 thoughts on “Zen Justice

  1. J. Madson says:

    I am very encouraged by the recent executive orders on Guantanamo and torture. Promising indeed.

    I am also cautiously optimistic that investigations into the previous administration will occur with or without Obama. Im sure Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, and co. are not planning on visiting Europe anytime soon.

    In an interview on Tuesday evening with the German television program “Frontal 21,” on channel ZDF Professor Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Rapporteur responsible for torture, stated that with George W. Bush’s head of state immunity now terminated, the new government of Barack Obama was obligated by international law to commence a criminal investigation into Bush’s torture practices.

    “The evidence is sitting on the table,” he stated. “There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.” He pointed to the U.S. undertakings under the Convention Against Torture in which the country committed that it would criminally prosecute anyone who tortured, or extradite the person to a state that would prosecute him. “The government of the United States is required to take all necessary steps to bring George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld before a court,” Nowak said.

    Manfred Nowak, an internationally renowned law professor at the University of Vienna, currently serves as an independent expert for the United Nations looking at allegations of torture affecting member states. In 2006, he undertook a special investigation of conditions at the U.S. detention facilities at Guantánamo in which he concluded that practices approved by the Bush Administration violated human rights norms, including the prohibition against torture.

    the only problem I see is we are the US and dont care about trivial things like the UN and international law

  2. theradicalmormon says:

    I was upset but not surprised when Pelosi took power in the House and rejected any sort of idea that Democrats would try to impeach Cheney or Bush back in 2006. Cindy Sheehan was absolutely right to challenge Pelosi on that point in her challenge to Pelosi’s seat. Absolutely these war criminals should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law as most all of the participants of this blog would probably agree. I forget who it was, Bolton or Rumsfeld, who spoke overseas in England I think it was, and someone there tried to perform a citizen’s arrest on the man. I hope that at the very least, Bush administration officials will be unable to travel outside of the USA without fear of arrest and prosecution. May they meet the fate of Alberto Fujimori of Peru.

  3. Grégoire says:

    the only problem I see is we are the US and dont care about trivial things like the UN and international law

    I honestly think this is the real, underlying danger of terrorism. It’s not the initial act, it’s the fact that it becomes a dialectic.

    In the beginning of the U.S. invasion into Iraq (I lived in Canada full time at the time, and didn’t consider it *my* war, but I still watched) there was a lot of horror about people getting their heads cut off on television. The west responded by doing things equally brutal, to much larger numbers of people. That caused some outrage too, at the time; but the outrage has subsided as the atrocities have not. Does anyone care that people are being tied down and slowly drowned any more? Christopher Hitchens writes about waterboarding, but it isn’t a hot issue today.

    Watching children get blown to pieces by helicopter gunships is now an ordinary part of our lives also, it seems, and we’re all a little less for the experience, despite not recognizing exactly what we lost… which was some of our own humanity.

    That’s the one thing I admired John McCain for. “Who cares what terrorists do?” he asked, “They don’t set our standards…”

  4. J. Madson says:

    Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Greenwald, Scott Horton, Jane Mayer, Ron Suskind, NRCAT, and a few others still press the issue but its time to move on Gregoire. Dont you know there are more important things than justice, the rule of law? President Obama says so. It must be true.

    Its always been this way. At the beginning of WWII we decried civilian bombing as a crime and by the end of the war we showed the world how to rally kill a civilian population ruthlessly and efficiently.

    One of the reasons I have always admired J. Reuben Clark was his willingness to go before the church in conference and denounce the bombings as the crime they were.

    As the crowning savagery of the war, we Americans wiped out hundreds of thousands of civilian population with the atom bomb in Japan, few if any of the ordinary civilians being any more responsible for the war than were we …. Military men are now saying that the atom bomb was a mistake. It was more than that; it was a world tragedy …. And the worst of this atomic bomb tragedy is not that not only did the people of the United States not rise up in protest against this savagery, not only did it not shock us to read of this wholesale destruction of men, women, and children, and cripples, but that it actually drew from the nation at large a general approval of this fiendish butchery.

    Where are our leaders now? Does anyone even mutter a peep about torture? Civilian casualties,etc, etc? Instead we get, trust the government, they know best.

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