“Deliberate ignorance”

By Martin Bosworth

Glenn Greenwald does his usual masterful job in analyzing the full horrific consequences of the lengths Abu Gonzales went to in order to ensure that the NSA’s illegal wiretapping program would continue:
Not only did Comey think that he had to rush to the hospital room to protect Ashcroft from having a conniving Card and Gonzales manipulate his severe illness and confusion by coercing his signature on a document — behavior that is seen only in the worst cases of deceitful, conniving relatives coercing a sick and confused person to sign a new will — but the administration’s own FBI Director thought it was necessary to instruct his FBI agents not to allow Comey to be removed from the room.

What does it say about a man and his agenda that not only did they push this on a guy sick in his hospital bed, but that his own colleagues refused to be alone with them without FBI agents present? And what does it say about a program so vast, far-reaching, and sickeningly illegal that John Freaking Ashcroft wouldn’t sign off on it?

Gonzo is a man who has learned well at the feet of his master, George Bush. On the one hand, when it comes to ensuring his desires are met, stories like this are clear indicators that he wants to be in charge and in control at every level. And yet, when it comes to accountability for his actions, he is more than willing to pass the buck and lay blame on his subordinates. Now, it’s not particularly arguable that said subordinates deserve said blame–people like McNulty, Kyle Sampson, and Monica Goodling were apparently zealously devoted to remaking the Justice Department into an arm of the Republican Party, and they deserve all that’s coming to them. But can you really believe that all of this was going on without Gonzo’s knowledge or approval?

The “deliberate ignorance” of Gonzo on how these affairs get conducted is a metaphor for how we, as a country, have been kept in the dark these past seven years while our freedoms get eroded and our government is looted by thieves and ideologues. While our complacent media slept and we were lulled into obeisance through fear, our rights were trampled on and our public servants were replaced–sometimes literally–with cronies and retards who couldn’t find their butts with both hands and GPS. Every time one of these scandals comes to light, some mid-level hack is off to spend more time with their family, while the people who need to be held accountable–Bush, Cheney, Rove, Gonzo–continue to defy law, oversight, and the principles they claim to uphold.

And what of our own ignorance? Are we not culpable for letting scandal fatigue, apathy, and shallow concerns dominate us? Where’s the outrage, as they say?

Back to Greenwald:

How is this not a major scandal on the level of the greatest presidential corruption and lawbreaking scandals in our country’s history? Why is this only a one-day story that will focus on the hospital drama but not on what it reveals about the bulging and unparalleled corruption of this administration and the complete erosion of the rule of law in our country? And, as I’ve asked many times before, if we passively allow the President to simply break the law with impunity in how the government spies on our conversations, what don’t we allow?

As long as we passively sit by and let these people skate for breaking the law and trampling on the Constitution, they’ll do so. These people have proven that they do not have the moral center to act beyond their own self-interests, so we have to step up and demand action be taken. Or take it ourselves, because no one else will do it for us.

3 replies »

  1. If you know me, you know that I’m a bit of a nut about personal responsibility. I’m pretty seriously existentialist about it – I’m responsible for everything that happens to and around me as well as everything that I do or could have prevented. There are such things as bad luck and things that the laws of physics ordain that we truly have no control over, but that list of things is really damn small.

    I’ve ripped into stereotypical bleeding heart liberals and our litigious, it’s-not-my-fault-I’m-an-obese-diabetic-with-heart-failure- it’s-McDonald’s-fault society many times, and I’ve always felt that the realm of personal responsibility is one area I was right in line with conservatives.

    Until the last 6 years, anyway.

    These people (and I use the word with as much venom as humanity at its worst has ever deserved) don’t care about the United States, they care about their own power. And through efforts like this, and through revelations from people who were finally pushed to a line that their own personal ethical codes would not permit them to cross, we’re educating the country about their real natures. Some people won’t care, some will applaud them because they’re just like the Administration, but most of the country has a sense of ethics, and stuff like trying to manipulate a sick man into signing off on an illegal wiretapping program goes against that nation sense of what is and is not ethical.

    For more on this one, check out the NPR story from All Things Considered yesterday too.

  2. Well put, Martin and Glenn and Brian. I’m a conservative when it comes to the Sermon on the Mount, the Declaration of Independence, and the planet we live on. I’m all for conserving every humane, progressive, responsible, enlightened idea our forefathers and foremothers passed down to us in their wise traditions. It is hard to see what Bush and Gonzales are conserving. Their money? Their power?

    And by the way, that bedside arm-twisting was almost certainly Bush’s idea, and he was the one who backed down, not the one who stepped in to mediate. For more, check out Marty Lederman here.