Friday, February 17, 2006

I Think We're Getting It Wrong

Bush shows he believes he is above the law

Marie Cocco

Who needs the Patriot Act? Not President Run-amok.

The president has now admitted to secretly authorizing what amounts to an end-run around the law that is meant, specifically and determinedly, to keep intelligence agencies from snooping on Americans at home.

This is a president who believes no law applies to him.

He long ago violated a 1971 statute that bars the detention of U.S. citizens "except pursuant to an Act of Congress." In his "war on terror," Bush has nonetheless thrown American citizens into the clink and asserted he has the right to hold them there indefinitely, without charge and without showing any evidence against them.

He failed to comply with U.S. and international laws against cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners - his political apparatchiks at the Pentagon and in the Justice Department instead concocted justifications for violating them. The president relented only days ago, and only after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) forced submission by engineering overwhelming votes in Congress to bring a measure of sanity to our detention schemes.

The Geneva Conventions have been tossed aside like wastepaper. They are replaced by gross violations of basic human rights at U.S. detention facilities, secret and semi-secret, around the world. The Pentagon, supposedly restricted from gathering information on the American citizenry, has compiled a vast database of information on anti-war protesters and those opposed to military recruitment practices.
I've seen a lot of this type of thinking going on around the Net and around blogtopia (©SkippyTheBushKangaroo). I think it's wrong. I think it's diagnosing the symptoms while overlooking the underlying cause.

What causes hubris? What causes this overweening arrogance and elitism?

These come not from a sense of entitlement, even if you might draw that line, but from fear. Panic. A sense of imminent failure.

Some forms of arrogance stem from entitlement, to be sure. Like Bush running for President in the first place draws from a deep well of "it's mine, I should have it." That kind of arrogance, that is a classist, elitist sentiment. But not since 9/11 have we seen that form of arrogance.

Why would Dick Cheney need to hide the fact that he had a simple hunting accident? Why would George Bush feel the need to hide the domestic spying program if he felt he had the right to spy on us? There's an underlying sense of shame to these processes that is unspoken but palpable.

We can rail on and on about "will they stop at nothing?" but the simple fact is, they're too afraid to stop! They've climbed on the back of the tiger and are now riding it for all their worth, because the tiger is angry and hungry and he knows what he has to do. The tighter they grip on the mane, the harder the tiger flails about. That "tightened grip" is what we're perceiving as their arrogance, but it's nothing but pure panic.

I'm going to work more on this topic and present a full essay on it in the coming weeks. It's a doozy. I think I figured out how to stop the madness.