Friday, June 27, 2008

David Addington is (technically) not the Devil

David Addington appeared in Congress today, before a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee. I now have definitive proof that David Addington is not, in fact, the Devil. He is not Satan; of this we can be sure. How do I know this? Because the Devil, it is said, can be very charming, and Addington was anything but. The title of Dana Milbank's column put it well:
When Anonymity Fails, Be Nasty, Brutish and Short
Milbank describes him as having "the grace of Gollum." He apparently treated members of Congress with contempt and answered their questions with arrogance and sarcasm. And this man is chief of staff to the Vice President. I'm not going to go into questions of whether or not he and John Yoo, who also testified, were instrumental in providing the legal justification for torture; at this point, I think that's clear as can be, short of a convicting these slimebags in a court of law (which I really wouldn't mind). They are thugs, pure and simple. Addington makes Tony Soprano look enlightened and progressive. At least Tony was providing for his family.

Andrew Sullivan, who has been vigilant on covering these assholes and what a disgrace they are to the rule of law, disagrees with Milbank's comparison of Addington with Gollum, but only because he has a more appropriate analogy:
"Gollum? He's Sauron, mate."
Sullivan's title for his post is as good as Milbank's:
Fuck You, He Explained
(sorry about the language, Mom).

In an earlier post, Sullivan pulled out this quote from the NY Times story, from Addington:
"No, I wouldn’t be responsible, is the answer to your question. Legally or morally," - David Addington, answering whether his own approval of torture methods had anything to do with the CIA's subsequent use of waterboarding and other torture
techniques against prisoners in US custody.
A small note of personal pride here: the person who called this hearing, and who asked this question, is Jerold Nadler. He used to be my Representative when I lived in New York. He's a good guy, and I'm glad he is doing his damnedest to expose these scumbags. The World Trade Center was in his district. I'm glad he asked a question that got David Addington to express not only his own philosophy, but Bush's as well. Sullivan's title for this post captures the sentiment of people who believe in power without accountability:
The Bush Era Finds Its Quote
We are fortunate that there is a third option available to us in this country for holding despicable human beings like Addington accountable, and that is what I call "political responsibility." In this respect, he is responsible, and can and will be held accountable. Moral responsibility is a personal issue; either you or someone close to you holds you responsible. Legal responsibility exists in a wider venue, the justice system, where accountability is harder to enforce, but also more serious. Political responsibility exists in the widest possible arena, the country as a whole. In Addington's case, he cannot be held accountable politically in a strictly defined sense; he is not an elected official. But he and his associates can nonetheless be held accountable not only by the the body public, but also by their ideological and party fellow travelers. If this election turns out the way I think it will, the way I hope it does, the GOP is going to be humiliated in November. And Addington and Yoo are going to start taking a fair chunk of the blame. Personally, I wouldn't want millions of people hating me and blaming me for the failure of a political party. I wouldn't want to be a source of division among some of the most powerful people in Washington. I don't know whether or not Addington will suffer personally in any way. But I do know that his ideas will be thoroughly discredited. I doubt he will ever admit to being wrong; I'm sure he will make a good enough a living that he won't have to. But at some point he will be an object of ridicule within his own party. It won't be pleasant, being cast out as a failure.

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