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A Government of Laws and Not of Men

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Message Larry Sakin
I've been depressed lately, having witnessed the conservative democrats win Congress and the hopelessly right-wing sway of state ballot initiatives. They confirmed my suspicion that America was still on a downhill crash course towards oblivion, getting further away from our Constitutional fathers' intentions. But a glimmer of hope shined for me Wednesday with the announcement of a German court indicting former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on war crimes. Not that I expect to actually see the hubristic government-contractor servant go to trial or even convicted. It was just nice that another Bush crony was thrown to the wolves of justice with nary a thought by his former employer.

It was like receiving an early Christmas present. That Center for Constitutional Rights director Michael Ratner tied a can to Rumsfeld's horribly decrepit hindquarters over the torture scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay is great comfort. I look forward to having this prosecution added as a footnote to President Bush's legacy. It's a wonderful reminder that even though the President shields himself and his henchmen from the judicial system in this country, the whole world truly is watching, and Bush may find himself receiving process from a foreign court after his tenure on the same charges. It's also a reminder of what President Bush is really all about. Under that warm and fuzzy down home sheen lies a truly cold and ruthless being. Bush's quick dismissal of Rumsfeld right after the 2006 midterms was almost Nixonian. Those of us old enough to remember Watergate can recall Nixon assaulting his counsel John Dean after Dean's testimony before a Congressional investigating committee, and the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox when Cox discovered the existence of Nixon's secret tapes. The incident led to Cox uttering a prophetic analysis on presidential powers: "Whether ours shall be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people."

Sadly, America is still at the crossroads between a government of men or laws. It's lamentable that Germany will be the arbiter of how America governs her foreign affairs in the future. Yet, that another country is willing to act upon it's conscience against the crimes of the Bush administration is a beginning to the end of Bush's contempt of fundamental human rights. And courts in other countries will certainly follow Germany's lead, handing down subpoenas against military and civilian perpetrators of the massive death and destruction carried out under the rubric of 'spreading democracy'. And I'm giddy with the prospect of Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Rumsfeld, and myriad military generals spending the better part of their lives answering these charges.

The biblical paradigm of "reaping what we sow" certainly applies to an administration that apes Christian values. Bush and his cosa-nostra cabinet have made the same mistakes as other imperial leaders thinking their high station allows them to make end runs around established conduct on the world's stage. Bush has sown wrath among the people of the world with his protests of unaccountability, his shameless disregard of the havoc he wreaks, and his stubborn adherence to failed policy. No other American president has united so many against America in such a short period of time.

And while it's nice to see Rumsfeld answer to war crimes charges in Germany, I hope the French are the ones who pursue Bush. They saved the day for us against a British monarch 200 years ago. Perhaps they can save us from our own monarch today.
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Larry Sakin is a former non-profit medical organization executive and music producer. His writing can be found on, Blogcritics, OpEd News, The People's Voice, Craig's List and The Progressive magazine. He also advocates for literacy and (more...)
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