Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has a book coming out in which he says the Bush administration politicized the terror alert system — Tom Ridge: I Fought Against Raising Security Threat Level On The Eve Of 2004 Election. Everyone is very excited about this revelation.
But this isn't really news, is it? Didn't Ridge say more or less the same thing in 2005:
The Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level, Ridge now says.
And Ridge did it anyway one way or another. He sat there and allowed the national security apparatus to be abused for political gain. He made the country less safe by allowing false alarms. He gave the terrorists free victories they didn't even have to work for. And then he and Cheney trashed Howard Dean and anyone else daring to say it was the unprincipled slimy political move it turns out to be.
Once upon a time we had a concept of “disgrace”. People with money, power, office, social position, actually cared about whether they acted dishonorably, because if they did they wouldn't get invited to corporate boards and dinner parties. People would cross the street to show their disdain. Now we give them book contracts, TV deals, visiting professorships, and they get interviewed as experts by the media.
Maybe it's time to bring the notion of respectability back. If we won't have public justice to sort out truth from fiction, no special prosecutors until after the statute of limitations has run, maybe instead we need a quiet form of the private personal justice we can manage based on the facts on the public record. Shun Ridge. Shun Yoo. Shun Rove. Shun Gonzales. Shun all the torturers and torture enablers, and shun the perverters of law and justice. Don't ever put anything their way. Don't give them a visiting gig. Don't invite them on TV. Don't buy their books. And make it contagious. Make them professional lepers. Make the people who give them treats sorry they did it.
But it won't happen. Not because there's always the risk that social shunning gets out hand, brings out the worst in some people who then punish the innocent, for all that these are real and demonstrated dangers not to be taken lightly. No, it won't happen because the people who put those unprincipled traitors to law and decency in power and who then coined it thanks to their connivance at kleptocracy hope to do it again and again and again. And that means that even used and dishonored tools need to be kept on financial life support so as not to discourage their successors.
Angry? I'm beyond angry. I'm tired of angry.
Nixon was a piker. He kept cash in a safe. These guys moved it by the airplane load.