Insanity Defense - US Presidential Dictatorship

Chris Floyd

That the United States, once touted as the world’s greatest democracy, is now ruled by a presidential dictatorship is a fact beyond any serious dispute. Indeed, the nation’s political establishment seems to have accepted this revolutionary system with remarkable docility, even as its lineaments are further exposed week by week. The Bush administration no longer bothers to hide the novel theory of government that undergirds its coup, but declares it openly, in court, in Congress, everywhere.

The theory holds that the president has the arbitrary right to ignore any law that he feels is an unconstitutional infringement of his power — and a law is automatically unconstitutional if the president feels it infringes on his power. This neatly squared circle makes Congress irrelevant and removes the judiciary from the loop altogether. Thus, the only effective instrument of power left in the land is the “unitary executive”: the fancy modern name that the legal minions of President George W. Bush have given to the ancient concept of “tyranny.”

The true nature of this presidential dictatorship has been laid bare in a harrowing new book from reporter Ron Suskind, “The One Percent Doctrine.” Suskind, who once coaxed the regime’s defining ethos from an arrogant Bushist — “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality” — paints a portrait of an administration drunk on lawless power, a junta operated from the shadows by the grim and literally heart-dead husk called Vice President Dick Cheney and his long-time companion in skulduggery, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld.

As Suskind notes, it was Cheney who enunciated the certifiably paranoid principle that governs the regime’s behavior: If there is even a 1 percent chance that some state or group might do serious harm to the United States, then America must respond as if that threat were a certainty — with full force, pre-emptively. Facts, truth, law are unimportant; the only thing that matters is the projection of unchallengeable power. “It’s not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence,” Cheney said. “It’s about our response.”

This is plainly madness. Whether the insanity of the “doctrine” is genuine — i.e., a pathological panic reaction by gutless, pampered fat-cats scared of the slightest murmur from the dusky tribes out there, beyond the iron gates and razor wire of privilege — or if, more likely, it is simply the chosen rationalization for a gang of predators tired of the few restraints that constitutional government has placed on their lust for loot and domination, the end result is the same: The most powerful country in the history of the world is being run by moral degenerates in thrall to a lunatic policy.

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