One of the seemingly inexplicable aspects of modern American politics is how a monster like George Bush has escaped all accountability for his actions. His Administration has clearly been responsible for a long and sordid list of affronts against our Constitution and even against international law. A recent article in The Guardian tries to explain. From Should Bush be tried for war crimes?:
We are less than a decade removed from impeaching a president and nearly relieving him of office because of a lie in a civil deposition about blowjobs. Yet when congressman Dennis Kucinich recently attempted to impeach Bush over torture, extraordinary rendition and other grotesque constitutional abuses, Kucinich’s embarrassed fellow Democrats couldn’t kill the measure quickly enough.
Why? Top Democrats are so complicit in what has happened since 9/11 that my guess is they dare not travel down that road. From voting in favor of the war in Iraq to holding the telecommunications companies guiltless for their role in spying on Americans (Barack Obama infuriated much of his progressive base by voting for immunity), the Democrats have often acted more as enablers than as a true opposition party. From their point of view, no doubt it’s best to move on.
And yet we can’t move on. Everywhere you turn, there are reminders of the demons that have been unleashed in the name of fighting terrorism. We are less democratic and less free than we were before Bush and Dick Cheney entered office following an election that they demonstrably did not win. If we don’t come to terms with what happened, there’s little chance of reversing our slide into authoritarianism.
I truly think that people (even those that are living today) will look back at this situation and wonder how we could all have let it get this bad. I call for accountability for all of us, as well. What will we tell our children? How will we explain that we let Bush get away with it all? Somehow, people will find a way to talk around it, as did supporters of Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin before them. And, like a politician being confronted by a Senate investigation sub-committee, we’ll conveniently experience amnesia. Yes, that should work nicely.