Unguarded Moment: Another Brake on Tyranny Stripped Away

Who will guard the guardians? Why, the guardians, of course.

CIA Director Michael Hayden has launched an investigation of the agency's Inspector General -- who, in our brave new authoritarian state, where Congress has long abandoned its oversight of a regime which brazenly disregards all legal  restrictions on its arbitrary power, is one of the few remaining checks on the torture squads, rendition ops and assassination teams of the security apparat. Yes, we have sunk so low; like the subjects of the old Soviet Union, we can only cringe before the Chekists and hope wanly that some slightly more enlightened KGB officer will restrain the goons. But as we know – for we have seen it demonstrated daily for almost seven years now – the goons of the Bush Regime will not be restrained, not even by one of their own.

And the sins of the inspector, John Helgerson, are indeed heavy. He apparently has had the temerity to question the Leader's personally approved torture program, carrying out what the Times calls "aggressive investigations of the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation programs and other matters." (Those "other matters" are most intriguing. Perhaps they have something to do with this?) It seems that Helgerson's has "created resentment among agency operatives" doing the Leader's bidding by subjecting his captives to beatings, psychological torments, waterboarding and strappado. And so CIA chief Hayden – the usual "straight shooter," "moderate," "safe pair of hands" whose appointment was hailed by most of the Democratic "opposition" – has ordered an unprecedented probe of the probers. The intent is clear: to chill any effort to dilute the cruelty and lawlessness so beloved by the Leader.

And so we ask again: why do the Democrats in Congress – or indeed, any figure in the Establishment, Democrat or Republican – continue to treat this criminal gang as the legitimate government of a constitutional republic? How can any Senator or Representative go about their daily business while these brutal apes in tailored suits degrade the nation with their torture, their tyranny, their war crimes? Why are they not moving heaven and earth, using all the powers and legal procedures at their command, to oust Bush and Cheney and the whole sick crew from office?

The answer, of course, is that they do not really object to torture, tyranny or military aggression. Oh, they may have a few quibbles about how such things are carried out; after all, the great theme of mainstream Democratic "opposition" to the Iraq War is that Bush has "botched" the conquest with his "incompetence," not that it was a monstrous crime against humanity from the beginning, on precisely the same moral level as Hitler's invasion of Poland.

They may object to a few varieties of the tortures being used against the captives being held indefinitely without charge in concentration camps like Gitmo and secret CIA prisons; but they have never registered a single formal protests against these procedures, not even a toothless censure of the president, much less moving articles of impeachment against Bush not only for the flagrantly illegal tortures themselves, but also for brazenly disregarding the few strictures on torture that they did manage to pass.

As for opposition to the authoritarian tyranny that the Bush Regime has imposed (or rather perfected) -- there is none. Quite the contrary; the Democrats have rushed headlong to countenance practically every power-grab the Bush Regime has made. Even as we speak, the Democratic "leadership" is working feverishly to immunize their corporate paymasters in the telecommunications industry (which was deregulated so very profitably – for a gilded few – with the help of Bill Clinton and John Kerry in the 1990s) from the consequences of their criminal collusion with the Regime in conducting illegal surveillance of American citizens for years. And naturally, there is no move whatsoever toward prosecuting the Regime itself for these openly admitted crimes.

Now one of the last relatively independent watchdogs in the bowels of the security organs is being put down. As we have seen, external restraints on the apparat's sinister practices have long been abandoned; soon there will be no inner restraints either. And hasn't history taught us what happens when ruthless extremists in control of the state are freed from all restraints?