Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"L'etat, C'est Moi"

"I am the State." In case you don't know, that's what Louis the 14th said when the President of the Parliament spoke in the interests of the State. It seems that is George Bush's attitude. Here is an article entitled, indeed, "L'etat, C'est Moi" that says we are now essentially in a dictatorship. Here is an excerpt:

[T]he Bush NEI leak rationale follows an all-too-familiar theme: Bush cannot break the law, because Bush is the law. He can't leak a document, because if he says it's OK to release the document it's therefore by definition not a leak. Just like torture is illegal except when George says it's not. Or warrantless domestic wiretapping is illegal, except when he authorizes it.

Bush and the people around him appear to have genuinely believed, for at least the four and a half years since 9-11, that the President by definition is incapable of breaking the law. On his sole authority laws can be ignored, overridden, or changed. Even implicitly. Even retroactively, as when some unappetizing piece of this puzzle inadvertently comes to the public's attention.

Combine this with an administration more intent on secrecy and lack of transparency than any other in U.S. history, and you have a recipe for, well, a dictatorship. Which is exactly what it appears Bush and company believe they are operating in. Oh, of course, in normal times America is a democracy, but these aren't normal times, are they? Why? Because we're at war. Why are we at war? Because the President said so. How long will the war last? Several generations. After that, presumably, the Constitution will be in force again, and Congress and the courts can re-convene if they like.


The writer concludes this way:

[W]e might as well cancel that 2008 presidential election and be done with this farce we call an electoral process. Sooner or later, should Bush go unpunished, somebody in power is going to try to do exactly that sort of thing. When they do, they'll cite national security and the need for stable and experienced political leadership in a time of war, and when they do, they'll cite the precedents set by George Bush and permitted by the Congress, courts, and American public of his day. And our country's long, mostly successful experiment in representative democracy will be over.

Perhaps it already is.

Perhaps, indeed.

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