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How to start a civil war

The Democrats are searching for a way to prosecute former Bush officials over the torture issue.  As I’ve written previously, I consider waterboarding and other rough-stuff tactics to be un-Christian and un-American.

Bush administration officials have defended their actions well enough on the grounds that it was a time of national emergency; Congressional leadership (including Nancy Pelosi) was involved in the decision; it was limited in scope, intensity, and duration, and it was carefully structured to remain within the law.  It’s a convincing case for something that was immoral being legal.  This situation, though ugly and ethically repugnant, is pretty much what war is all about.  It’s about killing, burning, maiming, taking prisoners, and destroying people while keeping it within a certain bound so that we don’t completely lose touch with civilization.

The story should end right there, but it hasn’t, at least not yet.  Congressional Democrats and certain lesser Obama administration officials are advocating that people from the Bush administration be prosecuted over it.  The ostensible purpose is to visit justice upon the torturers and the bureaucrats who provided them legal cover.

The Democrats are transparently obvious hypocrites about this.  The Bush administration never concealed the fact that it was doing some serious butt kicking.  The Al Queda and Taliban members were plotting acts of terror against civilian targets while totally flouting Geneva Accords themselves.  Think Al-Jazeera and televised beheadings.  While the memories of 9-11 were still fresh and the Moslems were triumphing in their broadcast atrocities, the Democrats uttered nary a peep of protest about making these captured criminals cry.  But the wheel has turned, and now the Democrats are in power, and Bush Derangement Syndrome has proven to be more intractable than anyone thought possible.  The torture issue is the perfect pretext to destroy people whose guts they truly hate.

Problem is, their go-git-’em strategy is how you start civil wars.  If we ever reach a state of political hatred so deep that the outgoing folks are pretty sure the incoming folks are going to have them imprisoned, you won’t have elections any more.  You’ll have those in power assassinating rivals.  Once the assassinations spread beyond a certain point, you’ll get a war.  I am deeply concerned that Mr. Obama and his handlers do not know this.  They naively think it will stop when they’ve stomped the neck of George Bush.

One of the very public deficiencies in the Obama administration is its lack of any historical sense.  How else can you explain an American president apologizing to Europeans while standing on soil kept free with American blood?  Such an act could be done only by a man for whom American history is a Rumsfeldian unknown unknown.

By loose talk about possible prosecutions, a president so unfamiliar with the history of his own nation is now giving reason to suspect he doesn’t know a whole heckuva lot of history period.  Even the most casual observer of human affairs knows that people in power will murder their rivals rather than be put in prison by them. This has been the common practice of paranoid kings for centuries — the first thing a new king does is kill or jail everyone connected with the previous monarchy, whereupon there follows war after war after war.

The key to two centuries of America’s peaceful transfer of power has been that we usually don’t allow later administrations to go after people of former administrations except in the most extraordinary cases.  We do this for the very purpose of ensuring that a cycle of revenge doesn’t get started.  It’s why Jefferson Davis was never tried for treason, why Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, and so on.  The current torture issue is nowhere near the level of infraction that should require a breach of this important protocol.  Moreover, Mr. Bush’s officials and soldiers might not have broken any law at all.  Let’s pray that the Democrats realize that by pushing this matter, they’re sitting in the ship’s powder magazine and striking matches just to watch ’em burn.

One Comment

  1. Dad


    Posted on 29-Apr-09 at 18:57 pm | Permalink

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