While we once more recall the deeds of the Bush-Cheney regime, actions which permit critical observers to brand them as criminals, Jeremy Scahill wishes to recall an important truth which the center-left needs to always keep in mind when considering Washington and its ways.
Members of Congress have expressed outrage over the "secret" CIA assassination program that former vice president Dick Cheney allegedly ordered concealed from Congress. But this program — and the media descriptions of it — sounds a lot like the assassination policy implemented by President Bill Clinton, particularly during his second term in office.
Scahill believes the Democrats are simply disingenuous: "Partisan politics often require selective amnesia." Consequently, their outrage should be judged a dissembling trick:
Over the past decade, we have seen this amnesia take hold when it comes to many of President Bush's most vile policies. And we are now seeing a pretty severe case overtake several leading Democrats. It makes for good speechifying to act as though all criminality began with Bush and — particularly these days — Cheney, but that is extreme intellectual dishonesty. The fact is that many of Bush's worst policies (now being highlighted by leading Democrats) were based in some form or another in a Clinton-initiated policy or were supported by the Democrats in Congress with their votes. To name a few: the USA PATRIOT Act, the invasion of Iraq, the attack against Afghanistan, the CIA's extraordinary rendition program, the widespread use of mercenaries and other private contractors in US war zones and warrant-less wire-tapping.
Scahill is right, of course; he uses the rest of his article to document some of America's pre-Bush-Cheney era assassination efforts. Neither Party has clean hands. The "glass house" proverb thus applies to this situation, I would say.