by Glenn Greenwald
November 01, 2011
Antiwar.com

Excerpted from With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful by Glenn Greenwald, published October 25th by Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, LLC. Copyright © 2011 by Glenn Greenwald. All rights reserved.

Given the clarity of this law [Article 2 of the Convention Against Torture] and its multiple reiterations, what can explain the resolve of the political and media class to ignore it? Why do ostensibly adverse factions leap to one another’s defense even in cases of egregious criminality, with Democrats shielding Republicans, media figures demanding no transparency or accountability for political officials, self-proclaimed populist politicians devoting themselves to the protection of Wall Street? One easy answer is that those factions are not really adversaries, at least not in any way that counts. All their members belong to the same class — the powerful and the elite — and thus are motivated, as discussed, to defend an immunity that they might one day need themselves.

But the unanimous support for Bush-era war criminals is motivated by more than just shared self-interest; it has at least as much to do with shared guilt. Bush officials did not commit their crimes by themselves. Virtually the entire Washington establishment supported or at least enabled the lawbreaking.

Leading members of the Democratic Party were implicated in various ways. In July 2008, the reporter Jane Mayer was asked in a Harper’s interview why there was so little push by Democrats — the “opposition party” — for investigations into Bush programs of torture, warrantless eavesdropping, and the like. She pointed out that one “complicating factor is that key members of Congress sanctioned [these activities], so many of those who might ordinarily be counted on to lead the charge are themselves compromised.”

Link to the rest of the article America’s Elites Look Out for Each Other