Wed, 18 February 2009
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"Other countries now justify their own crimes by citing American anti-terror practices."
The unraveling of capitalism, now rapidly accelerating, has been accompanied by mind boggling excesses of corruption. The collapse of moral inhibitions at the highest levels of American institutions has the effect of a billboard flashing, "Steal as much as you can, as quickly as you can, before the other guy beats you to it." On the heels of revelations of Bernard Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi scheme, we learn that even larger sums may have been looted from U.S. reconstruction aid intended for Iraq - most of it by American military and civilians. It appears that the thieves looted Iraqi money under the control of Americans, as well. Barack Obama claims he wants to be careful to get out of Iraq in a "responsible" manner. With billions being looted, the most responsible thing President Obama could do is get his thieving Americans out of Iraq while there's still something left for the natives.
Obama is quite unenthusiastic about punishing George Bush's gang for vandalizing the U.S. Constitution. While making weak noises about "nobody" being "above the law," Obama goes on to say that "generally speaking, I'm more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backwards." In other words, unless he's forced to take action, Obama would just as soon allow Bush's wholesale violations of the rule of law to go unpunished. Apparently, some Harvard lawyers don't place much value on the Constitution.
"Obama would just as soon allow Bush's wholesale violations of the rule of law to go unpunished."
When the president signals that enforcing the law is no big thing, the president's fans act accordingly. The nation's largest anti-war coalition, United for Peace and Justice, has decided not to push for prosecution of Bush, Dick Cheney and their merry band of war criminals and other assorted crooks. United for Peace and Justice is more concerned about keeping Obama happy than with uniting behind peace or justice. Meanwhile, two out of three Americans are in favor of investigating whether the Bush crowd violated the law in pursuing their so-called "war on terror."
Not so long ago, the Americans were well-known for telling anyone who would listen that the United States is a beacon of justice for humanity. That was never true, of course, but nowadays it's a bad joke. According to Mary Robinson, who used to be United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the U.S. now sets a bad example for the planet. Other countries now justify their own crimes by citing American anti-terror practices. The best thing the U.S. can do to help repair the damage its done to the morals of the planet, says Ms. Robinson, is to abandon its "war paradigm."
If Barack Obama thinks he can simply walk away from a host of war crimes and violations of U.S. and international law, he is mistaken, and on the way to making himself, and the nation, even more culpable. Legally speaking, Obama has an obligation to prosecute violations of international law and U.S. treaty. If he does not, then he invites other countries to hold their own trials of Americans, and impose their own punishments.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.