For several years, Tony Blankley of the Washington Times (a former chief of staff to Newt Gingrich) has been extolling the supposed virtues of a wartime police state. Not “a police state as we think of it, in fascistic terms,” he said during the June 28, 2002 edition of The McLaughlin Group, or “a police state in the nefarious sense.”
No, Commissar Blankley insists that it’s possible to have a benevolent police state — that is, one controlled by those who share his appetite for endless foreign war and limitless executive power. This will mean that “intrusions into our privacy [and] more supervision by law enforcement is likely to be a permanent condition of our society,” he said during that 2002 panel discussion.
It also means that the media must repress any faint and transitory impulse in the direction of independence, and become a fully assimilated appendage to the regime.
“The media should be falling in line,” complained the British-born neo-con in an interview with the January 17, 2002 issue of Insight magazine. “The danger is great enough for us to cut back now on civil liberties. It is all a question of balance. I have been a civil libertarian and will be again in a couple of years.”
What about journalists who expose official corruption and duplicity in the war effort? As far as Blankley is concerned, prosecuted under the Espionage Act and, if convicted, be punished by “death or imprisonment for any term of years or for life,” as outlined in the relevant statutes.
Five years ago, Commissar Blankley demanded that Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker be tried as a spy for exposing the Bush junta’s illegal covert activities in Iran.
He now demands the trial of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, along with any other reporter or editor who collaborated in what he calls “damaging wartime leaks” of information regarding the Regime’s undeclared, illegal, immoral, monumentally destructive war in Afghanistan.
“I have written a dozen columns, starting last August, opposing the Afghan war because I think our war-fighting strategy, resources and senior civilian leadership (outside the Pentagon) will fail in their objectives and thus needlessly sacrifice the lives of far too many American troops,” writes Blankley. “But however wise one may think one’s policy goals are, that is absolutely no justification (or even mitigation) for committing espionage to advance them.”
It’s all a matter of the “rule of law,” he pontificates, and “the rule of law will not last long if the law is not used to avenge grievous wrongs committed against our nation. It is the high duty of our government not to let Mr. Assange walk free….”
Blankley sang no anguished threnody over the outrage to the “rule of law” that was committed when the Regime makes aggressive war in violation of the Constitution (Congress never declared war against Afghanistan) and what the Constitution calls the “law of nations.”
His devotion to the “rule of law” somehow failed to find its voice amid accumulating revelations regarding torture, kidnapping, and extra-judicial murders committed by both the Bush and Obama administrations. It is only when a private individual exposes the Regime’s criminal actions that Blankley’s fine sense of civic propriety is offended.
“If Mr. Assange had perpetrated this outrage against Russia,” Blankley observes, “inevitably there would be a news report a few month later announcing the death of Mr. Assange and his loved ones (should he have any) because of an unlikely street accident. Thank goodness we live in nation of laws — not of executive actions.”
Actually, thanks in no small measure to Blankley’s efforts to propagate the Republican Party’s proprietary brand of totalitarian nationalism, we do live in a nation subject to a doctrine of “wartime” powers under which a president can order the summary execution of anyone, anywhere on the planet.3:16 pm on August 11, 2010 Email William Norman Grigg