Political Saws and Political Prisoners

We know that we probably never will allow ourselves again to elect someone who can’t even get an old political saw right.

Perversely, this man’s actions have made up for mangling one old saw by adding a corollary to this one: “if you attack the king, you’d better kill him.” From the New York Times this morning:

When officers from the Central Intelligence Agency destroyed hundreds of hours of videotapes documenting harsh interrogations in 2005, they may have believed they were freeing the government and themselves from potentially serious legal trouble.

But nearly four months after the disclosure that the tapes were destroyed, the list of legal entanglements for the C.I.A., the Defense Department and other agencies is only growing longer. In addition to criminal and Congressional investigations of the tapes’ destruction, the government is fighting off challenges in several major terrorism cases and a raft of prisoners’ legal claims that it may have destroyed evidence.

“They thought they were saving themselves from legal scrutiny, as well as possible danger from Al Qaeda if the tapes became public,” said Frederick P. Hitz, a former C.I.A. officer and the agency’s inspector general from 1990 to 1998, speaking of agency officials who favored eliminating the tapes. “Unknowingly, perhaps, they may have created even more problems for themselves.”

That corollary to “if you attack the king…” would be: “If you attack the Constitution, you’d better be king.”

Too bad for the Reign of George W. Bush that the courts are not thoroughly under his thumb. Too bad for the United States that some really bad people, embittered and enraged at years of detention and “harsh interrogation” Amerikan style, might walk free on George’s account.

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