Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Crystal Ball Gazing

There right on the front page, above the fold of the August 9 edition of the Washington Post, was the nine word headline: “War Crimes Act Changes Would Reduce Threat of Prosecution.” The staff writer was R. Jeffrey Smith.

If you look on Foreign Policy in Focus for August 1, Counterpunch for August 2, and Guerilla Network News for August 4, you might come across an article that somewhere in the title are four words: “No Standards, No Accountability.” The article describes the 1996 War Crimes Act and how its provisions, initially intended to extend the reach of the U.S. government to capture and try anyone who attacks a U.S. national or U.S. property abroad, could actually be turned around and used to prosecute U.S. officials who authorized or participated in any way in the mistreatment of detainees.

R.J. Smith probably would not remember that we met a number of years ago. I don’t remember the subject of the meeting, but it would have been connected with the Pentagon or some aspect of military policy or programs. I think he is very thorough and very fair. And in this case, as usual, he hit the nail on the head.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Bush reads the Washington Post. And I’m almost 100 percent sure he doesn’t look at the FCNL website. Besides, he’s in Crawford – except when he’s traveling around the country doing fundraising.

With the invaluable advice of just one lawyer (R.J. went to six) who made sure what went out from FCNL was factually correct, we accomplished one of FCNL’s goals: educating the public about government policies and programs.

What’s scary about predicting the administration’s strategy to absolve itself of responsibility for shaving if not breaking the law is the damage they will do to the rule of law. Everybody likes to be right, but not when the point involves undermining the very basis of our government.

Anyone want a crystal ball?

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