Inside the Beltway, you’re ethical as long as you aren’t in jail. Today, the Wall Street Journal tries to concoct a corollary: the torture crowd shouldn’t go to jail because they were ethical — just following orders (or giving them) in “good faith.”
Used to be that a jury of their peers made that decision, but ever since serial liar Elliott Abrams was convicted twenty years ago, the neocons have tried to pass off their criminal behavior as “policy differences” and blame prosecutors for “criminalizing politics.”
The sad fact is, a lot of people in politics are simply criminals. Just because they make crimes part of their their policy doesn’t merit them a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card. The Journal darkly warns that Democrats might be implicated too. What a condescending insult — that investigations should cease because both parties might be involved in a crime!
Partisanship does not reduce crime to a “policy difference.” It just means that some criminals have decided on partisan politics as a career. Politicians of both parties are sorely tempted to put themselves above the law — it goes hand in hand with the lust for power. Alas, some of them succumb to that temptation. When they do, they should be treated like any other criminal suspect, given a fair trial, and should be considered innocent until and unless they are convicted by a jury of their peers.3:14 pm on April 23, 2009 Email Christopher Manion