Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Rogue Justice is a book written by Karen Greenburg that details the rise of the American security state in the wake of 9/11. The details are more or less well-known, and I will leave them out of this review. What I found fascinating was the atmosphere of total fear that gripped the Bush Administration after the event, from the top down. All those armchair warriors basically shit themselves, and resorted to the most primitive (and unhealthy) response in the human emotional arsenal--attempting to control everything. Also striking, in addition to the power grabs, was the indisputable evidence that virtually every development, every measure taken, was lied about until proof came to light. And also striking was the number of people in the Bush Administration that really ought to be tried for war crimes--John Yoo for basically making shit up, David Addington for being the chief cheerleader for dispensing with the Bill of Rights and treating all questions of policies as treason, Alberto Gonzales for being an authoritarian apologist, and Bush himself for encouraging all this to be done. And the name James Comey, in the news recently as the FBI director trying to torpedo Hillary Clinton's election, came up in the narrative--as a Justice Department lawyer arguing for the indefinite detention of American citizens because some yob in the CIA thought they might have information relating to terrorists. Lovely. And to my surprise, the guy I thought was one of the chief villains at the time, John Ashcroft, didn't exactly come off looking good, but apparently his motivations were somewhat legitimate, and the major excesses of what became the War On Terror were undertaken behind his back.
It is sobering to realize, on Election Day, what this bunch is not only capable of, but did the last time that they had their hands on the levers of power. It's nothing short of miraculous that they gave up power peacefully in 2008; the fact that the economy had imploded probably was the only reason they exited (and I'm half-convinced that they only agreed to go after Obama promised them there would be no accountability, something eight years of inactivity on that front lends credence to). And we let these people back into power at our peril.

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