Answering the Question — “Will They Get Away with It?”

Buhdydharma, the intrepid web proprietor of Docudharma, has posted an article today asking if, after the revelations by ABC news that basically the entire top administration hierarchy has been implicated in the oversight and implementation of a secret torture program, right out of the White House, if after such a massive revelation Bush, Cheney, Rice, et al. “will they get away with it?”

It has become obvious that left to her own devices Nancy Pelosi WILL let them get away with it….no matter what they do or how horrendous “it” is. She is the only one with the real authority to stop them. And she, apparently, will not. The answer then, seems to be: Yes, they will. And a new administration is not the answer either.

The implications here are truly chilling. If the Democrats won’t pursue prosecution….We are faced with a government with NO internal or external checks. A government not subject to the law. A government which can wage aggressive war and torture with complete impunity. That is NOT hyperbole, it is where we stand at this very moment in time.

My colleague at Docudharma describes the situation accurately. He also notes that the inaction of a pivotal figure in this drama — the ostensibly liberal Democrat Nancy Pelosi — marks her as a member of this same conspiracy, not least because “she was… partially informed that it was occurring.” I made much the same point in an essay last December (also published at Docudharma and Daily Kos, with a vibrant discussion at each). Let’s revisit what Pelosi had to say about her “briefings” in the light of today’s knowledge:

“On one occasion, in the fall of 2002, I was briefed on interrogation techniques the Administration was considering using in the future. The Administration advised that legal counsel for the both the CIA and the Department of Justice had concluded that the techniques were legal.

“I had no further briefings on the techniques. Several months later, my successor as Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman, was briefed more extensively and advised the techniques had in fact been employed. It was my understanding at that time that Congresswoman Harman filed a letter in early 2003 to the CIA to protest the use of such techniques, a protest with which I concurred.”

It may be time to ask both Pelosi and Harman what they knew and when they knew it. But I think we already know the answer to those questions, and it’s not a comforting one. The ABC revelations — that the U.S. leadership, including the president, vice-president, national security officers and secretaries of defense and state, the attorney general and the head of the CIA are all implicated in the specific instructions given to torturers, and not only approving but directing such torture — represent as stark a confrontation with the truth of the complete corruption and evil that lies at the heart of our government as any we will get. What I wrote back last December seems almost quaint in its naivete in describing a political path out of the wilderness:

Let not those who profess progressive politics and really want to change this country sit back in silence or disbelief and let this kind of betrayal stand. Now is the time to change things. Not tomorrow. Not in November 2008. Not in some other lifetime. If we fail to speak out now, our acquiescence weakens the entire progressive cause, and all the elections in the world will not make such a stain any cleaner, or go away.

We could start by asking for the resignation from the Speakership of Nancy Pelosi, and the resignation from the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairmanship of John D. Rockefeller.

Now I can see that even such elementary statements of justice are insufficient to address the crisis at hand, even when joined with slogans shouting for impeachment of the execrable criminals Bush and Cheney.

(By the way, I called Pelosi’s office today, asking for the Speaker’s reaction or any statement on the ABC newsstory revelations. I spoke to a couple of staffers in her San Francisco office, and each time was told, after hearing my question, that the person I wished to talk to “was not in right now.” This comic episode reminded me of the title of Franz Kafka’s first novel, Der Verschollene (The Man Who Disappeared, published, however as Amerika).)

Reading buhdydharma’s latest plaintive post about the torture plotters in the White House, and their assault against elementary decency and political sanity, I realized the answer to his question could only be made with some advert to history, and the perspective the latter brings.

Answering the Question

So, will they get away with it?

Answer: in the short-term, yes. If there is no accountability or price the Bush team suffers for their crimes, there is no accountability or price the Democratic leadership suffers for their culpability or failure to act.

In the long-term, we will all pay. But the total bankruptcy — political, moral, economic — of the society will leave this entire crew, all the leadership of this society, including the full intelligentsia, inclusive of the blogosphere, as bankrupt. Bankrupt and ignorant of the lessons of history, lessons that were staring them in the face all the time, but they refused to acknowledge, drunk on the belief in their own omnipotency (in the case of the powerful) or in their own essential rightness (the case of the rest of us).

There is a straight line from the American and French revolutions, through the 1848 revolutions, the Paris Commune, the 1905 and 1917 Russian revolutions, the rise of fascism, the slaughters of World Wars I and II, the national liberation movements, the Cold War, the collapse of Soviet Stalinism, to the triumphalism of the “American Century”… this line steers and staggers between its central understandable component: the reality of the division of the world into classes of exploited and exploiter, and the struggles of the former, often blind and contradictory, and poorly led, to throw off the shackles of the latter.

The smug and oh-so-powerful leadership of this country is overreaching, much as Hitler overreached, and a similar catastrophe awaits all of us… unless… unless we can come together, throw off the weight of the bought-off Democratic Party, and make a real struggle for power against those who seek to control the entire world. I, frankly, don’t see this happening. And I do not advocate adventurist forays to smash one’s head up against a repressive governmental apparatus. All one can do is wait, patiently explain, and hope the lessons are learned before they are foisted upon us in the form of a total collapse of the society, or what is just as likely, another world war.

The real question to ask is: Will YOU (or WE) let them get away with it?


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    • Valtin on April 12, 2008 at 01:18

    you already know the answer.

    Perhaps I should have replaced B.’s question with another:

    What now?

  1. … there is something between “we can come together, throw off the weight, etc.” and “adventurist forays.”

    Essays like this one would tend to prove me right.

    Yep, the new question (for next week, lol) is “what next?”

    Hope you have a great weekend Valtin … you’ve done some fine writing this week.

    • Edger on April 12, 2008 at 01:38

    a democratic candidate calls or shows up a your door, smile and tell them not to worry, that they are guaranteed your support and your vote.


    As soon as the democratic controlled congress accomplishes what it was hired to do in 2006. Not before.

    And wish them a nice day.

    You can also offer them some toilet paper if they need it.

  2. And in fact, the original title was will WE let them get away with it”…but it was too accusatory for the audience that would read it, lol…..mostly folks who have already yelled their hearts out.

    Someone asked over at Orange if we would give up our lives for our freedoms, and I think that comes under the heading of “adventurist forays.” If we create some sort of movement that has a chance of success…of any kind…I would give up a LOT to participate, alas, there is nothing like that…….yet.

  3. When I see a post by Valtin I take note.  I take note because the information contained within is valid in the fight of good vs evil even if I go even further and see cracks in the text.  I take the visible machine of “our” United States government as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Illuminati/Bilderburg Group/Globo-corp or rather whatever name one deems to assign the organization led by the fourth anti-christ which does indeed wield power over the entire world over the word of manchurians like Pelosi and ABC.

    The collapse of the United States is actually part of what the very same Illuminati has as a goal.  A national creed based upon freedom, equality, human rights and opportunity for all is an obstacle to the profit margins of parasitic capitalism.  It has to be erased so that elite assholes can continue to control their respective populations in the way they have done so since the dawn of civilization.

  4. the reality of the division of the world into classes of exploited and exploiter, and the struggles of the former, often blind and contradictory, and poorly led, to throw off the shackles of the latter.

    Call me an unrealistic idealist if you want, but the biggest difference between then (blind, contradictory, poorly led) and now is what we’re doing here. It’s the Internet.  What you are reading, seeing, feeling, thinking about imo is nothing less than the process of incubating something new.  Yes, it’s chaotic. Yes, it often takes two steps back for each step forward.  Yes, it’s disjointed and leaderless and often confusing. Yes, it’s often self indulgent, self aggrandizing, narcisistic, and belligerent.  But it’s also the most powerful, most democratic, most far reaching communication among people ever.

    My idealistic view: all of this posting and unrestrained talking and thinking aloud and listening to others is gradually growing a new, more powerful, more effective struggle for justice.  Put another way, it’s not just “jibber jabber”, it’s reorganizing and reframing the struggle.  It’s not just talk.  It’s quickly and efficiently winnowing and sifting ideas so that the struggle doesn’t have to be blind and contradictory and poorly led. The struggle can now grow into some far better.

    What does it look like?  I dunno.  How long is this gonna take?  I dunno.  But this is what’s next.  And I don’t see anything that can stop it.  

    • shpilk on April 12, 2008 at 09:15

    ‘truth and reconciliation’ of many aspects of American politics, and to reveal the actual truth of many of the war crimes committed in the name of corporations and their pecuniary interests.

    These issues, of torture and mass murder of civilians didn’t start in Iraq and the GWOT.

    Panamanians, Costa Ricans, El Salvadorans, Hondurans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, Haitians civilians have all suffered due to illegal actions of the US government, from Reagan’s and Bush I .. and Chileans, Colombians and Peruvians during Nixon’s time as well.

    I’m sure it’s just a partial list, and I am certain than many citizens of these countries suffered torture and abuse at hands of either the US military, or US sponsored security organizations. Torture was committed by the CIA and US corporate interests throughout Central America in the name of ‘anti-Communism’ in the 1980’s – these actions were taken to prevent workers from organizing and petition for higher wages and better working conditions.  

    The problem is the mechanism that makes this possible, which are the corporate interests intermingling with military and security issues. Congress fails now, but it had failed in the past as well. The mechanism that allows private security agencies to conduct wars of terror with US military and NSA approval and assistance has been going on for at least 40 years.

    What is even worse is that every sign points to the US government being directly involved with transportation of narcotics, protecting controlling and handling of drug gangs, getting involved with their turf wars, laundering money, making arms deals.

    Some of these actions were caused by rogue elements within our own governmental agencies, but signs point to active involvement within the WH at times. [Iran/Contra anyone?]

    So you see, these problems are not new.

    They are just more institutionalized.

    This whole mess has very deep roots.

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