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Wednesday, November 20, 2002
 
Corruption
log/pass: metafilter

A proposed corollary to "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely": "Absence of oversight of one's actions and lack of accountability for them vastly increases one's power."

Give enough men power without accountability and some will abuse it to the detriment of the rest. You can set your watch by it, no psychohistory required. Are we, as a country, so stupid to have forgotten the lessons of millenia, the fixed laws of human conduct? "Well," some say, "nothing has gone wrong yet, so why all the hubbub?" It's as though the entire fabric of our nation, the rule of law, civil liberties, government for and by the consent of the governed has suddenly become superfluous.

In practice, then, America's freelance warriors are free to misbehave--and to escape the consequences. When a number of DynCorp employees working in Bosnia were recently found to be running a sex-slavery ring, the Army's Criminal Investigation Division dropped its inquiry after determining the men fell outside of its jurisdiction. U.S. courts proved to be similarly impotent, and the fragile, corrupt Bosnian legal system did no better. Similarly, if Karzai's new bodyguards decide to flout the law in Afghanistan, a nation with ample opportunity for profiteering and corruption, there is very little that anyone--Karzai, the Pentagon, or U.S. courts--will be able to do about it.

This is to say nothing about the 'disappearing' of Bush I/Reagan presidential papers, Bush II's refusal to hold press conferences, the administration's directive to thwart FOIA requests, the Energy Commission coverup, etc., etc., etc. Where is our goddamned press corps? It is not necessary to prove ill intent to demonstrate that removing restrictions on government power and secrecy is unacceptable and asking for trouble.
via Metafilter

Edit: I can't spell.