Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Worst Crime (the Shoe Thing)

Every Nation-State makes the removal of the Government the Worst Crime. Even being charged meant imprisonment, conviction meant a slow tortured death. The brutal case of Damiens in 1757 being one of the best recorded. In the United States, even threatening the life of the President (or those in the Succession) can lead to a fine and a maximum imprisonment of 5 years.

This is good, a civil society can not abide having people going around issuing or proclaiming death threats to anyone.

But... But, removing a nation's Government and killing it's citizens is exactly what happens during war. Individuals under the direction of Tipsy Canoe accomplished the removal and deaths of members of the Iraqi government, including the "elected leader". Along the way, innocent individuals were killed.

Usually the venerable Just War Theory is raised, but with Iraq a strange heresy was created by Dick Cheney when he morphed the Just War Theory into his 1% Doctrine - supposedly if there is a 1% chance of a threat facing the United States, military action is called for - which according to Ron Suskind became the foundation for invasion of Iraq.

So the Smoking Gun/Mushroom Cloud Raison d'etre was invoked. And Iraq was invaded sans War being declared.

Why is the overthrow of a government, not to mention the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people, acceptable when a government claims it is, but unacceptable for the individual?

But, to answer my own rhetorical question, Governments, including the vaunted US one, grant themselves an exclusive Monopoly on the Use of Force. Allowing themselves the ability to circumvent laws at their whim. Occasionally this backfires and the pawns of that government rise up, but the US has little fear of that because it has evolved the greatest System of Controlling it's citizens seen in the history of the world.

The idea the State should be the sole arbiter and controller of force is very old but was given a political-philosophical coating by Thomas Hobbes in Levithan. Hobbes describes the creation of the Sovereign to whom and from whom all rights and powers derive. Bush, Cheney clearly hold to the Hobbesian view of the Sovereign. According to Hobbes, once placed in power the Sovereign can do no wrong and can commit no crime, nor can he commit an injustice. His actions can not injure his subjects because what is good for the Sovereign is good for the people.

This is evidenced by Bob Woodward's assertion Bush told him, "I'm the commander – see, I don't need to explain – I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation." ~ Bush at War

So, who cares how many American subjects died when they did have to die? Who cares if the subjects don't like the Iraq Occupation? So what if Al Qaeda wasn't in Iraq until the US invaded? Who cares about Illegal Wiretapping? Who cares about Signing Statements? So what if we do Torture? So what if the Sovereign lies? These actions are taken in defense of the Leviathan and as such the actions of the Sovereign are by axiom not illegal.

But, of course, real world actions have real world consequences. And while Ole Tipsy Canoe may believe his lies and is on a whirlwind tour to claim he kept America safe, including saving the largest "skyscaper" in Los Angeles. So, while excepting that whole 9/11 thing and the Amerithrax attacks others, especially those in the ravaged country of Iraq, seem to have a dimmer view, hence the Shoe-Throwing Attack. And Bush's clear ignorance is on display when he states, "I don't know what the guy's cause is..."

The bigger problem than Bush is the mess he leaves us with. Tipsy Canoe has allowed The United States to inherit the role of the Latter Roman Republic in Mesopotamia. Ahmed Chalabi used the US the way the Satraps and Deposed Princes of the fragmented Seleucid Empire called upon the military might of Rome to gain the throne. Of course, after civil war and repeated invasions by the Armenians and Parthians and Ptolemaic Egypt, Rome eventually took direct control of the Middle East. The results of the Roman entanglement in the Middle East (the creation of christianity and the unfortunate rise of islam) are the building blocks for the problems still facing the world today.

Despite all his crying Bush's actions have really only managed to "keep us safe" from prosperity, worldwide respect, and medical advances. But as the Sovereign, he views himself as absolved or rightly above and beyond punishment for crimes, which if perpetrated by an individual, would result in a sentence far worse than having two shoes thrown at them.

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