Posted by ReyMac
For many years, Augusto Pinochet was the king of all he surveyed. A brutal tyrant and dictator, he enjoyed the support of the United States and Great Britain, having risen to power with the explicit backing and support of the Central Intelligence Agency as he “battled communism and socialism” in Chile. On September 11, 1973, he led a military coup of the democratically elected president of Chile, assassinating him in the process of establishing a dictatorship that saw free markets run rampant, thousands of people tortured and murdered, and the world turning a blind eye.
Fast forward twenty-five years, after he’d left power and traveled the world out of medical necessity. He was arrested in Great Britain on international human rights charges, and lived out his life like a hunted animal, chased from court to court for the sake of justice, for restitution of his crimes and the blood on his hands, for all of the disappeared and the maimed who live with his horrors to this day.
Then there is Manuel Noriega, currently sitting in a US prison as a prisoner of war after his conviction on drug charges. His usefulness to the United States finished, he is wanted in France to stand trial for crimes under his regime in Panama and is fighting to be “returned to his homeland” to live in some type of luxury predicated on the theft of millions from the country while he was in power.
I hear many people in the United States calling for President-elect Obama to order an investigation into the actions of the Bush administration, even before he is sworn into office. They’ve mistaken the concept of transparency for immediacy. Without any authority to do so, they would like President-elect Obama and perhaps Attorney General-designate Holder to signal preemptively that the president and vice president among others will be investigated for the atrocities they’ve committed like Gitmo. Obviously, though justifiably outraged, these people have never played poker. The President-elect is not going to tip his hand.
Like Augusto Pinochet, President Bush is under the mistaken impression that simply because he says it is so, what he is doing and has done is legal, and worse, morally right. He and Dick will undoubtedly end up like Pinochet, arrogant enough to sit in their opulence, their ill-gotten gains, believing that there will be no calling to account for their atrocious acts against humanity, from Iraq to Guantanamo Bay to the 9th ward in New Orleans. Like Noriega, they will one day be languishing in a cell with no light at the end of the tunnel but the door to another courtroom.
Pinochet died, hated, alone, a shell in which evil once took up residence, and fled once the shell was used. George Bush, a C student at best, obviously didn’t learn that lesson. Dick Cheney, a little more academic intelligence, but less moral sense, didn’t learn those lessons.
But they will.
Cross posted at Spreading the Word on January 14, 2009.