Monday, December 04, 2006

Greenwald Gold

I could just say: read Glenn Greenwald every day. In fact, I think I already have. He consistently turns out, quite literally every single day, passionate and articulate indictments against the evil machinations of BushCo and compelling arguments for responsible behaviour on the part of every citizen.

Glenn has two gems today. The first on "The ongoing national disgrace of lawless indefinite detentions". Glenn begins:
I've honestly run out of adjectives to use when discussing the Bush administration's treatment of U.S. citizen Jose Padilla [...] We are only learning about what was done to Padilla because, after 3 1/2 years of being held without any charges, he is now in the criminal judicial system and the Government's conduct and its allegations against Padilla are both now being subjected to scrutiny (just like the pre-9/11 Founders intended and explicitly required).

[...]

Now that they are forced to defend their accusations in court, the Bush administration's case against Padilla has been revealed to be incredibly weak [...] so weak [that it] ought to cause any rational person to understand the dangers of vesting the power in the President to order people imprisoned forever without any real judicial process.

[...]

What does it say about our country that not only does our Government do that, but that we don't really seem to mind much?
Zack in Comments puts it this way:
The people responsible for what happened to Padilla are not fit to serve on jury duty – yet they have become our leading law enforcement officials. That’s just how far off track we’ve gone.
Glenn's second article is a reaction to the re-election of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and is ironically entitled: The fruits of democracy. It demonstrates just how incoherent U.S. foreign policy is -- a policy that claims to be spreading democracy so as to make America safer, but which actually achieves the opposite. As Glenn points out...
Hugo Chavez was overwhelmingly re-elected yesterday as Venezuela's President. Opposition to the United States played a significant role in his successful campaign, as he promised "a more radical version of socialism and [to] forge a wider front against the United States in Latin America."

Over the last two years, the Palestinians democratically elected Hamas leaders. The Lebanese have democratically elected Hezbollah to play a major role in their parliamentary government. The Iranian-allied militias in Iraq are led by factions with substantial representation in the democratically elected Iraqi Government. And the Iranian Hitler himself was democratically elected (just like Hitler the First was, long before the parade of all the new Hitlers).

If the leaders whom we are supposed to hate so much -- even the ones who are The Terrorists -- keep getting elected democratically, doesn't that negate the ostensible premise of our foreign policy -- that America-loving allies will magically spring up all over the world where there are democracies and they will help us fight The Terrorists?

And beyond that, isn't it more likely that leaders who are hostile to the U.S. will be democratically elected around the world if we continue to engage in conduct seemingly designed to make the whole world resentful and suspicious of us?

[...]

But if we continue to be overtly belligerent and essentially indifferent to world opinion -- because we can be, because we're militarily stronger -- that would seem to make it virtually impossible for pro-American candidates to be elected anywhere in the world, thereby subverting the central goal we claim we have of eliminating anti-U.S. resentment by spreading democracy throughout the world.

[...]

Of course, all of these concerns disappear if what we really mean by "democracy" is "a country run by leaders who act in the interests of the U.S., even if their rule has nothing to do with elections." Whatever it is that is driving our foreign policy, a premium on democracy doesn't really seem in reality to be high on the list, given that some of our most important allies have as little to do with democracy as possible, while some of our worst Enemies and even The Terrorist Enemies are democratically elected.

But one thing that ought to be clear today is that democratic elections do not inherently produce governments friendly to the U.S. Some might even be quite hostile, which is why overt contempt for world opinion -- while enabling some of us to feel powerful and exceptional -- may not be so smart.

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