Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Convicted Traitor? No jail for you!

My complete despair when it comes to American politics continues to deepen. The widely publicised news of the day is that Bush has 'spared' Libby from 2.5 years in jail. His reason? It seems that he thought it was an 'excessive' punishment, so obviously 'no jail at all' is the correct amount for lying to a grand jury and exposing a CIA agent, potentially threatening their life, because their husband had criticised the invasion of Iraq.

At a fundamental level the leader of any democratic country should not have the power to overrule the courts anyway. What sort of example is this to countries we accuse of corruption? The message is that you can do anything you like as long as you are chums with those in power. Hardly inspiring. However, just because previous presidents have done it isn't an excuse for its continuation! It's fairly telling that the Republican defence of pretty much anything stupid, immoral or just plain illegal that Bush and his cronies do is that 'Clinton lied about having an affair!'. Yes he did, and of course he shouldn't have done it. He was also no saint in many other areas of course, but let's face it, Bush has done more to make the world a worse, more dangerous, divisive, polluted, greedy and generally bad place than almost anyone else in the last decade... apart from Cheney, perhaps.

Closer to home we are right to worry about the BAe bribery scandal, and the corruption and very dubious morals in the Labour government that stopped the investigation into it. However, it's pretty galling to hear that the US DoJ want to investigate that deal while their president is letting his friends out of prison for serious crimes. The Murdoch press wonder why there is what they consider to be anti-Americanism in this country. The answer is obvious - how can you have any respect for the American government with the current idiots in charge? They even make our lot look good. Like it or not, other countries judge you by the actions of your government, and if they carry on the way they're going then driving Jeeps into Glasgow airport will be the least of our worries.


Tristan said...

Its not exactly unique. Clinton pardoned many political donors and friends. Its a natural consequence of politics - politicians will always abuse power.

As for anti-americanism. I'm ashamed to say its very real, and its not simply directed against the American government its directed against ordinary Americans and the level of abuse they have to put up with as visitors to this country is astounding. It makes me ashamed to be British.

Chris said...

Personally, I can't see a huge problem with BAe flinging a Saudi prince a few million quid in order to secure orders worth a few billion more pounds, and preserve British jobs. We are deluding ourselves if we think the French, Yanks, Brazilians, Russians, and other major players in the defence industry 'play by the rules', so why the hell should we?
After all, if you happened to work for BAe Systems, wouldn't you want your bosses to play their best card to preserve your job?

Luke said...

What if you work in the navy, Chris, and your boat is bombed by the enemy using arms bought from the UK? If I had worked for BAe or its predecessor before and up to the Falklands War, I'd feel very uncomfortable spending the money I'd earned.

Certainly, I don't think that just because the French and the Russians do something, it's the right thing to do.

Dominic said...

As I may have said before, I think the arms trade is pretty immoral anyway. I don't care if the UK loses all of its arms manufacturers - it would in fact be a good thing.

As for the jobs, where was the outcry when we lost our miners, our car manufacturers, or our steel workers? The right said it was ok and they would find jobs in the service sector. This has more or less been what has happened, so why can't people in the arms industry do that too?

Each job in the UK arms industry is subsidised by the tax payer to the tune of about 8,500 pounds a piece. Why are we paying this? That sort of money could keep much more worthwhile industries alive, but as it is we seem to value exports that kill people above others. It's an evil industry that doesn't even make much economic sense, and it's about time we got out of it.