"For Rick's sake, regarding the debate that Pete and I had about character flaws. Personally, I didn't think the debate was about what's a flaw, what's not a flaw, who's got what flaw etc... but rather whether or not what we do (or more specifically what Obama doesn't do about Bush) is actually the result of a flaw or just a simple intellectual decision. My argument is that Pete, and other therapists alike, always run the risk of assessing an opinion that disagrees with their own as being a result of something inherently wrong with that individual as opposed to just being simply a different opinion. This is not a precise metaphor, but it's sort of like a lumberjack looking at a tree and imagining how many 2x4s he can get out of it, whereas you and I just see the tree for what it is - a tree.

Regarding the Obama-Bush dilemma at hand. One of the most poignant things at Obama's inauguration in my opinion was the deliberate staging of Obama walking the Bushes out the back of the Capital Building and to the helicopter. Obama then, instead of turning around to continue on with the festivities, stood on the steps for a good ten to fifteen minutes as he waited for the helicopter with the Bush family inside to take off. And it wasn't until the helicopter was a good distance into the horizon that Obama finally turned around and went on with the day. This was nearly a 30-45 minute event from start to finish that no other incoming president had ever done. No president has ever escorted the outgoing president out of the inauguration ceremony. And the way that Obama did it was so deliberate that to me it seemed that he subversively saying to America, "See folks, he's really gone. I saw to it that he left, and you can trust me that he will never be allowed to have any influence on our country ever again." I think Obama knew then and knows now how poisonous Bush was and is. And I think that if he truly thought that prosecuting him would be to the benefit of the country, he would do it.

If it were me in Obama's position, I wouldn't want to put Bush through that process and allow him once again to have the stage. I think what would happen is that Bush (and Cheney) would be brought up on charges which would give him the opportunity to have yet another forum to defend his actions, to espouse his poisonous policy and get the Rush Limbaughs of the world some more red meat to chew on. It would just further irritate the divide in this country that Bush created.

I think Obama's doing exactly what he should be doing with Bush, letting him and his ideology fade away into the history books. The Republican party is in such shambles right now because of this beheading, if you will, they have no choice but to reform and come back as something better. And even if we still disagree with them then, at least, (hopefully), they'll be improved. I say let him fade away. That's the worst punishment a politician can suffer anyway. Besides, I have no cathartic interest in seeing his dumb face on TV again."


My interest in seeing the Bush gang prosecuted for their crimes isn't for "cathartic" purposes, L56. And indeed, from the big picture perspective, which is the one I generally like to take, I agree that the dismembered and humiliated state of the GOP as a result of their malfeasance, hypocrisy and incompetence over the last eight years is one measure of cause and effect "justice" for some of the perpetrators in question.

However, my genuine concern, here, is for the U.S. Constitution and the measure of consistent and fair application of the laws in our country. Part of the reason the Dick Cheney's of this country, and the actual Dick Cheney, felt they could get away with the crimes they committed over the last 8 years is directly related to the fact that Dick's crony, "Dick" Nixon, was recklessly pardoned by Gerald Ford, supposedly for the sake of ending our "national nightmare." Well, unfortunately, Watergate wasn't a dream, and neither is violating the Constitution and the Geneva Convention or committing war crimes.

To arbitrarily dismiss legally the heinous and undermining actions of our leaders is to send what kind of message? What are you really proposing, guys?

It's not as if anyone is even claiming that these guys are somehow being accused unfairly, or will be tried or sentenced inappropriately, which could be a justification for a pardon. Your position on this, L56, and Rick's, and Obama's, seems to simply be - "We don't want to deal with it because it's too distracting or distasteful. Let's just move on."

What better outcome could a psychopath hope for?! "After I shoot-up and rob your town, if you just let me leave, you can go back to sleep in peace." Really? If I were a prospective criminal, or a Somali pirate, that would sure encourage me.

Odd that Obama understood that "distracting" ourselves by taking out those pirates had to be done to send the right message, but he seems not to get that the crooks, liars and killers in our own highest echelons of government and finance have to be likewise taken out to send the right message.

Furthermore, anyone with even a minimal knowledge of human psychology knows that in order to heal from a tragedy, loss or assault of any kind, one has to face the violations head on, which often must include confronting the violators with more than just a wave as they walk out the "back door."

Again, this isn't the "big picture" perspective, but in the "small picture," where we need laws and limits on behavior until we become an enlightened society, we do ourselves a great disservice by being penny-wise and pound foolish with justice.

Glad you boys are back!

1 comment:

loff56 said...

But I think you're missing the even bigger picture. The constitution and the laws of our country are but a part of what they violated. The damaged integrity of our nation goes way beyond the legality of their actions. I mean sure we could follow the letter of the law and prosecute them verbatim on their transgressions, but that doesn't in any way address the real crimes. There were just as many, if not more things that they did that were actually within the letter of the law and within their legitimate power that were, and this is an understatement, not in the spirit of our national character. How do we prosecute that? This is very similar to the way Wall Street screwed us over. Most, (albeit not all), the things that these banks did that caused this economic catastrophe were basically within the letter of the law. We can't legally prosecute them. It's an inherent problem with our legal system AND our constitution!!

There are other means of dealing with these guys besides the law, the Geneva Convention and the Constitution. The court of public opinion (arguably the highest court in the land) has already sentenced these guys to the "political gas chamber". To bring them into a real courtroom to defend their actions is like bringing a dead convict back to life so he can stand trial for a second murder he committed.

I do appreciate your concern though. There's a good point to be made about sending the wrong messages to criminals. And you're correct about what happened when Ford pardoned Nixon. But the other side of that coin is that we convicted Clinton, impeached him and made him a national embarrassment. But to what end... The whole thing was turned around so that he ended up looking like a victim of political sabotage, he's arguably more popular now then he was when he was president and his wife almost became the President. What message does that send? Cheat on your wife with an intern, then lie about it and good things will happen to you? Obviously the transgressions are not even closely comparable, but the point is that using the law as a means of punishment doesn't always have the desired effect.

The "wave out the back door" by the way, was more of a clever metaphor on Obama's part, the true extrication of the Bush administration and it's policies started with the mid-term election of '06 (maybe even before that) and swelled over the next two years culminating with the overwhelming election of Obama. That's two plus years of "confronting the violators" in my opinion. We've dealt with this tragedy, confronted it head on, put it to rest, bought the T-Shirt and the fat lady has sung. There's only so much "confronting of the tragedy" we can do before it becomes a dangerous obsession.

I really feel that we are so on our way to good things to come that opening an old wound like that just so we can make sure it's healing properly is kind of a pointless distraction.

By the way, the fact that Bush and Cheney are enjoying their retirement in their cushy homes with their millions of dollars is really a red herring to me. Taking away their money or their freedom for that matter is so secondary to what's been taken away from them already, their influence and their legacy. As the saying goes, "You can't take it with you", (money and things that is). But, you can take your legacy with you. And both of them have nothing of the sort to speak of right now.


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