Thursday, August 7, 2008

Obama, Criminalizing Politics & Thinking The Unthinkable

The above photo is of the recently deceased Aelxander Solzhenitsyn, perhaps the Soviet Union's most famous political prisoner. The crime for which he was sentenced to the Soviet Gulags was publicly disagreeing with Stalin. Thankfully, such a thing is unthinkable under a democracy founded upon Enlightenment ideals. In such a democracy, freedom of speech is the most cherished right.

Yet, today we see the far left in America salivating at the possibility of prosecuting those in and out of the Bush administration with whom they disagree.

Conservatives have for decades largely ceded the spheres of eductation and media to the far left. Today we see the bitter fruit of that situation.

There are many things deeply troubling about the far left in America. Their disdain for democracy and utter refusal to contenance dissenting speech are at the top of the list. But, now on the verge of actually taking control of the police power of the U.S. in the November elections, the far left are going beyond intolerance and into a realm of existential threat to America and democracy. It is the talk - from Obama through his potential advisors and numerous others - to criminalize policy differnces and dissent. This is a giant step beyond mere partisan politics in a competitive democracy.

- Several weeks ago, Obama told a news reporter that he would support tribunals to investigate the Bush administration for war crimes.

- Within the past month, the Massachusetts School of Law have announced that they will convene a conference to discuss strategy for war crimes trials of the Bush administration and the possiblity of handing down sentences of execution.

- No Oil for Pacifists blogs today on Vincent Bulgosi's call to prosecute George Bush for murder based on his decision to invade Iraq.

- This from the NRO today:

One thing that hasn't received much attention in conservative and Republicans circles is the ongoing conversation on the left about the possibility of Nuremberg-style war-crimes trials for members of the Bush administration should a Democratic president take office. I'm not exaggerating or introducing the Nazi analogy myself; they actually use the phrase "Nuremberg-style" when they discuss "war-crimes tribunals." And they are quite serious (although the more moderate of them prefer a "truth commission.")

. . . I think the thing to emphasize here is that this is a serious conversation going on among people who might have influential voices or play influential roles in an Obama administration. Many of them want to put John Yoo — a special favorite of theirs — on trial, whether before a Nuremberg-style tribunal, a criminal court, or a truth commission with as-yet unspecified powers. And, of course, they wouldn't stop with Yoo; if they had their way, they would likely have a long list of former Bush administration officials to put in the dock. They are serious.

- This from Newsbusters, quoting Mike Barnicle on Hardball discussing the implication of author Ron Suskind's charge, set out in his new book, that the Bush administration forged a letter to falsely link al Qaeda with Saddam Hussein:

. . . [In] reading this book and these charges that have laid out here and because of my background, covering like city stuff and everything for years, I can't help but come to the conclusion, at the end of this book, this book is basically charging the President of the United States, or the Vice President of the United States with being an accessory, before the fact, to 4000 murders and more in Iraq. They lied us into war, according to this book.

- Ralph Peters reported the following exchange in a NY Post column several days ago:

AFTER a lecture to the Marine Memorial Association last week, a reporter thrust a mike toward me and asked if I thought I should be tried for war crimes for my columns in The Post supporting our military.

. . . [W]hat fascinated me about the silly encounter . . . was how unintentionally revealing it was about the shameless hypocrisy of the left.

Think about it: For expressing my views to readers like you on these pages, hardcore leftists believe I should be put on trial as a war criminal. . . .

- More than one person in the global warming community have called for criminal prosecution of those who dissent against their dogma. Update - and it is happening down under, also.

Prosecuting political disagreements is, as stated by Neptunus Lex, "not done to expiate [the] sins [of the dissenting party], but to serve as an example to others." The author was describing what Stalin did to Solzhenitsyn, but the principle is the same whether in Soviet Russia, theocratic Iran, or even in the U.S.

How we get to this point in America is an interesting study. Billy Hollis at Q&O blogged on a Jonah Goldberg article yesterday on the ascendence of post modern thought as regards Obama and the far left generally. Post modernism holds that reality is subjective. Thus, for many on the left who wish not only to take power, but to demonize and destroy those who disagree with them, it is beyond dispute that President Bush lied about WMD to take us into the invasion of Iraq. They wish it to be reality, and thus it is so. The bipartisan 9-11 Commission Hearings might as well never have occured. When Bush spoke his "16 words" in the 2003 State of the Union address, he was lying, irrespective that his statement relied on British intelligence and the report of Amb. Joe Wilson of his Niger trip given in debriefing to the CIA.

The fact that we are at this point in America should be chilling indeed. America is founded upon Enlightenment ideals. It is those ideals - tolerance of dissent, objective truth, reason, democracy - that have allowed our nation to prosper and to do so peacefully for nearly one hundred and fifty years since the end of our civil war. But clearly, those Enlightenment ideals have no hold over the far, post-modern left. Indeed, the far left seem far more animated by Josef Stalin than John Locke.

That the thought of political trials appeals to many should be a warning as to just how much we have strayed from our Enlightenment moorings. This is the stuff of which political oppression - and new civil wars - are made.

We are, it seems to me, very much a nation at a crossroads.


shoprat said...

It looks to me that Obama is going to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory so we might get some breathing room to correct this.

feeblemind said...

Very well done post. Thanks.

KG said...

I wonder, if this happens, will people finally begin to see the left for the irredeemable evil it is?
Not hopeful.

Anonymous said...

This sends chills up and down my back. To the point that I am glad I have no offspring, no hostages to the future. My America, one of freedom of thought and of expression, is in danger pf becoming the very thing, so many have sacrificed their lives to defeat. My life is about over. And I am glad that I will not have to see my country's collapse into the degradation and despair that the left seems bound and determined to drag her into. I don't understand. Is it that we have become so apathetic that we don't care anymore?

ligneus said...

To the point that I am glad I have no offspring, no hostages to the future.

This is a form of defeatism, we have to fight this incipient totalitarianism, it isn't inevitable unless we allow it to be.

Just a Grandma said...

What we have in America is incredibly precious. We HAVE the freedom to think and to write what we feel. There is no more precious thing. By thinking that those that disagree with them, the extremists are becoming terrorists. To attack people who inform but see things in a different way, is similar to what Hitler did prior to WWII. If America were to continue down this road, another brand of McCarthyism would come forth.

Some of the problem goes back to the educators in public schools. They yammer so much about THEIR right to teach THEIR ideals that they indoctrinate the children rather than educate them on making choices and helping them to look at history and make wise choices.

But underlying all of it is their protectionism for their jobs. They want to make sure that the sheep are bred up to follow such nonsense. To not be able to think for themselves. To leave the thinking to "The One" and others who they so designate.

On and on it goes.

We must stand for the rights that we all have purchased with the blood of patriots and with the blood in our veins that flows from those patriots. We cannot give in to tyranny.

Anonymous said...

If Obama is elected, you can look forward to a trampling of the First Amendment just as sure as FOB (friend of Barack) Bill Ayers trampled the US flag. These two examples are just a preview of what is to come.

Obama rallied his Chicago thugs to try to prevent Stanley Kurtz from speaking on a Chicago radio station about BHO's connection to terrorist Bill Ayers. Obama also asked his minions to call radio stations to say they would boycott their advertisers. Then Obama wrote to the US Department of Justice, demanding a criminal investigation to block the American Issues Project and their donors.

Also, an ABC reporter was arrested while doing a story on the Democrats and their big money backers during the Democratic Convention. Think there was any coincidence in that he was "two hours later"?

Anonymous said...

You are all such great republicans!!!!!!!!!! I think you need to wake up and smell the coffee. It was the bush administration that got us in this mess. Now you guys want to blae the democrats. And, yes, there were a lot of lies told to get us in this mess in Iraq. If you want to lay blame on anyone about this war, I think you need to take a long hard look at Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld.

vkraven said...

And now it seems that the Obama administration is going after CIA interrogators for doing their job, coming after talk-radio in the most twisted, backdoor way, looking to create a Civil Corps to do God-knows what and the left is assailing political dissent in every way imaginable. Perhaps the idea of political prisoners is not that far-fetched?