Let us think like business consultants analyzing the decisions of a business that claims it is going to close its door in just a year. What kinds of decisions is it making? Here is a quiz, if you still doubt that we need to shift our thinking and recognize what appears to be 'a paper coup.':
- Is building a US Embassy in Baghdad the size of eighty football fields and at a cost of well more than half a BILLION dollars evidence of short- or long-term thinking?
- These walls would crumble if the next legitimate president independently ends the war. How about defending and expanding the basis for FISA violations at this late stage -- after all, these folks will be gone in a year?
- How about the decision to fight so hard for a US attorney who will defend the view that the President is above the law?
- Why would that matter so much in an administration folding its tents?
- Why the rush to establish Guantanamo as a permanent part of the landscape and even seek money at one point to double its size -- if the next President, a truly independent Republican or Democrat, might just close it down?
- Why the push to expand a war that makes no military or popular sense, rush through military tribunals that the next President might just disband, and, by the way, drum up a fresh new World War III?
- Do the neo-cons advising Giuliani look like a fresh page for an independent, transparent election or an ideological continuity of government in themselves?
- Do these look like the short-term tactics of a fading administration -- or the institutional strategic bases for some kind of new long-term beginning?
- Why work so hard to make sure that the man who defended the infamous "enemy combatant" concept will be the new Attorney General?
Increasingly, reputable figures are starting to talk about `a coup.' Jim Hightower notes in an important essay, "Is a Presidential Coup Under Way?," that a coup is defined in the dictionary as a sudden forced change in the form of government. (He also spells out the basis for a rigorously modeled impeachment and criminal prosecution.)
Daniel Ellsberg's much-emailed speech on recent events notes that, in his view, a `coup' has already taken place. Ron Rosenbaum speculates in an essay on Slate about the reasons the Bush administration is withholding even from members of Congress its plans for Continuity of Government in an emergency -- noting that those worrying about a coup are no longer so marginal.
Frank Rich notes the parallels between ourselves and the Good Germans. And Congress belatedly realizes as if waking from a drugged sleep that it might not be okay for the Attorney General to say the President need not obey the law. Congress may realize why Mukasey CAN'T say that `waterboarding is torture' -- the minute he does so he has laid the grounds for Bush, Cheney and any number of CIA and Blackwater interrogators to be tried and convicted for war crimes.
They are so keenly aware that what they have been doing is criminal that laws such as the Military Commissions Act of 2006 have been drafted specifically to protect them and the torturers and murderers they have directed from criminal prosecution. That is why insisting that Mukasey say that waterboarding is torture is, in spite of the alarming apparent defection of Feinstein and Schumer, an important tactic and even the perfect opening for the impeachment bid that Kucinich is bringing on November 6th to be followed by Congressional investigations into possible criminality.