Is the Bush administration “plain criminal”?

Gary Younge thinks so. Writing in today’s Guardian with all the passion he can muster, Young puts it to readers that real problem with the Bush years is not so much what he did but that America’s political class enabled him to do it, and that it now it refuses to recognise its own culpability  

 The fact that this administration has been criminally incompetent is now the stuff of water-cooler orthodoxy. The fact that it has been plain criminal is not. But it should be. Under George Bush the US has tortured, disenfranchised, lied, spied and, on more than one occasion, flouted its own constitution. Those who would not go along were fired or demoted. Those rulings it could not garner support for it simply classified or hid. Those inquiries it could not prevent it thwarted. When Major General Antonio Taguba tried to pursue his investigation of Abu Ghraib up the chain of command he was stopped. “I was legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority,” he told the New Yorker.

 Younge, warming to his subject,  goes on to say:

Its violation of international law is ultimately a matter for the international community. But its violation of American laws is a matter for the American public. However, it is now clear that the political consequences of these transgressions will range from negligible to non-existent. The Bush administration should be led away in handcuffs – either indicted or impeached. Instead it is about to leave the scene of the crime in broad daylight while those tasked to police this democracy – notably politicians and the press – blind themselves with confetti.

Younge does not have much time for those who say that there is no good reason for calling Bush and his cohorts to account at this late stage.

Those who regard impeachment as merely a vindictive attempt to adjudicate the past display a chronic lack of imagination. True, it is not going to happen. But that makes it no less morally compelling or politically relevant to argue that it should. Trying to look ahead without acknowledging how you got to where you are is a surefire way to end up wandering around in circles. And the last place the Democrats want to be is where they were.

It’s a pity that Younge’s polemic will reach the ears of so few Americans.

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