By Joe Campbell
October 20th, 2009
already commented on this Mukasey piece – but I wanted to follow up and make clear why this piece from a well-respected “conservative” demonstrates how far the conservative movement, the right wing, and the Republican Party have fallen. First, it’s important to note Mukasey’s position under Bush – as the chief proponent and custodian of our justice system. Second, one should remember that he was long considered a moderate in the party.I
Yet Mukasey literally blames September 11 on American values, on the American justice system:
[W]e put our vaunted civilian justice system on display in these [previous terrorism] cases…
In return, we got the 9/11 attacks and the murder of nearly 3,000 innocents….
Or, as the subhead put it:
We tried the first World Trade Center bombers in civilian courts. In return we got 9/11 and the murder of nearly 3,000 innocents.
This is not a conservative approach to the issue. It is a radical one. The accumulated wisdom of our forerunners is thrown out the window in the favor of a shiny, new and “improved” justice system. And even worse the barratuve being built is clearly unhinged from reality. Its only purpose seems to be the same as Cheney’s – to preemptively politicize the aftermath of the next attack. Reading his argument analytically, it’s hard to see how he reaches the conclusion he does regarding the American justice system. The list of deficiencies are all manageable – perhaps with some tweaks – within our legal system. Perhaps they suggest we should try a system of national security courts. But Mukasey concludes instead that they necessitate throwing out our values and the institutions which represent the accumulated wisdom of our democracy.
This leap comes from the narrative. The rationale Mukasey offers is deeper than any of the actual facts he cites – and is emotional rather than logical. For him, September 11 happened because our justice system doesn’t work against terrorism. It is an argument parallel to Cheney’s – that September 11 happened because we were weak – and as a result of this mindset, Cheney set out demonstrating our strength by bullying other nations, withdrawing from treaties, avoiding multilateral institutions, invading Iraq, avoiding the Middle East peace processes, refusing to talk to our adversaries, labeling them evil. But in each case, despite the emotional “logic,” the narrative itself is unhinged from reality.
The fact that a “moderate” in the Republican Party has been so radicalized demonstrates how far from common sense the right wing movement has fallen.
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