Soli Ozel at PostGlobal

Soli Ozel

Istanbul, Turkey

Soli Ozel teaches at Istanbul Bilgi University's Department of International Relations and Political Science. He is a columnist for the national daily Sabah and is senior advisor to the chairman of theTurkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association. He is the editor of TUSIAD's magazine Private View and the editor of the Turkish edition of Foreign Policy a journal published by the Carnegie Endowment in the USA. Close.

Soli Ozel

Istanbul, Turkey

Soli Ozel teaches at Istanbul Bilgi University's Department of International Relations and Political Science. more »

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Without Justice and Order, An Empire Cannot Rule

America's imperial temptations and its democratic ideals have long pulled the nation in opposite directions. The U.S. invaded Iraq in the name of liberty and justice, but not only did it violate its own declared values, it failed to bring about the most important outcome that legitimizes the rule of an empire: order.

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All Comments (30)

Minh:

@Anonymous
"Ron Paul has more cash on hand than McCain"

With all due respect to cash, I must say that you Americans should respect the people who know something about war to lead a warring nation.

Look at the mess your AWOL President has done.
But again CASH is mightier than reason :-(

So is America an empire of values like democracy, human rights, or an empire of cash and broken promises ?

Anonymous:

Ron Paul has more cash on hand than McCain and two of McCains top campaign officials just quit.....

Bet on Ron Paul - 20,000 meet up volunteers and counting.

More subscribers to his youtube channel than all other candidates combined.

He also just won the Iowa straw poll

Minh:

Senator John McCain, a respected member of the powerful Armed Services Com. has just finish his address to the Senate. What he did was to quote Mr Kissinger and Mr Sharansky (Натан Щаранский) on Iraq in WaPo few days ago

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/06/AR2007070601994_Comments.html

He also quote Mr Shinseki on the prospect of 5 to 7 years of further bloodshed.

I'd bet 55% on McCain to be the 44th President of the USA.

AMviennaVA:

x2: Actually 'Minh' is correct. During the run-up to the Iraq war, ANY dissent or opinion that we should discuss whether war is necessary, was treated by the US press as high treason. The US press was a cheering section for war, and saw to it that dissent was stifled. They turned against the war AFTER public opinion concluded that we were not winning.

Unfortunately, the US followed the leader to war, lock-stock-and-barrel. The perfect lemmings if you will.

Anonymous:

In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:
"I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone,
"The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
"The wonders of my hand." The City's gone,
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragments huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

-Horace Smith.

Frank Egan:

The words of Shelley need no further comment.


Ozymandias

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said -- "two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert ... near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lips, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my Works ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

gaspar:


nothing stays still, or lasts forever...america included.

speed123:

Restore the republic! Consider Ron Paul for 2008

Watch the only honest, anti-war, anti-empire, pro-constitution candidate at work:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hfa7vT02lA

Yacub Yoziv, et al;:

Islam, via mostly Saudia Arabia Citizenz, invaded N.Y., N.Y, Manhattan , U.S.A.!

And Maryland, U.S.A. And Virginia, U.S.A.!

And I need Not Show Islamic Massacring Pusch so to speaketh, as History is Their Jurt, But Mostly OURS!!

Down, with ALL, Every & ANY , Pre-aPOCALYPTIC Nonsence Man Made, Never ECLAT'S warmth of doing things, and is contrary to 21st, 23rd, 24th, 25th and beyond century civilization et al! Ya Ya.

Mstessyrue:

I completely agree. This adminstration has placed the country in a difficult postion by attacking another country without reasonable cause. This war in Iraq needs to stop now in order to reverse the spread of violence and poverty. As one of the nations that pledge to the Millennium Development Project, the Bush adminstration has done little to none to aid the world in reducing poverty. The fruitless war in Iraq has costs our government and our people more than $450 billion dollars. However, according to the Borgen Porject World Bank, it is estimated that it only takes $19 billion dollars annually to eradicate world poverty. It is definitely time for this adminstration to start addressing this critical issue that effects the lives of 1.2 billion people world wide and start caring for the American people and their lives. Put your political gain before the wellness of the people in US and around the world.

jimDiGriz:

empire, n.: a state that extends dominion over and populations distinct culturally and ethnically from the culture/ethnicity at the center of power. The term generally implies military hegemonic power.

In that sense, there can be two kinds of "empires" - those who openly rule others, and those who rule other subversively.
The former is preferable to the latter, but both a doomed to failure, because of the underlaying nationalism - "the master race/culture" (the one at the center of power).
The master race/culture can be benevolent, good, altruistic etc., but a point will come where thinking in those terms and notions ("master race/culture") will in itself result in arrogant, egoistic and self-righteous behavior and actions (even if intentions had been different).
Which will be the end of the "empire", and its culture, because it would manifest hypocrisy - a "don't practice what you preach" fallacy.

The only possible master culture, in the context of an empire, is a self-depreciating culture. This is a paradox as a truly self-depreciating culture will not be expansionist or building empires.
The second possibility is lack of power center, which will make it "not an empire" but also render it flimsy and inert.
The third possibility is transcendent self-determination which will make the citizens of other ethnicities and cultures equally the ruling culture. Religion ("all under god") and communism ("all of the same class") have tried and failed at this, as such measures are quickly countered by other equal measures, or are simply not accepted.

A humanist approach is in theory the only possibility, as no-one can deny his own, common, humanity. The problem is, that in a world of nationalism and religion, this is itself transcendent self-determination.


Jessica:

I think there is no question as to whether the United States compromised itself by instigating war in Iraq. We, as Americans, need to remember that today national boundaries no longer define our world. We face common problems and must work together as a world community to fight them. The United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, which call for cutting world hunger in half by 2015 and eliminating it altogether by 2025, are a good place to start thinking and acting with a global mindset. It is estimated that the expenditure of a mere $19 billion would eliminate starvation and malnutrition worldwide. In a time when the United States’ current defense budget is $522 billion, the goal of eradicating world hunger is clearly well within reach if we act together as one world.

california condor:

Polls tell us 80 percent of Iraqis want us gone, 50 percent want us killed. The Iraqi Parliament voted to consider ending the UN mandate that legitimizes the U.S. occupation. Few American diplomats in Baghdad dare to venture out of their compounds lest they be gunned down. The American occupation has unleashed a tsunami of violence, horror and madness that has no current parallel in the world. We are spending $11 billion a month, the bill is $700 billion and mounting, and what do we have to show for it? Hatred against us worldwide, growing radical Islamist movements, increasing danger to our country, and a U.S. military that has been exhausted and broken by an insurgency and civil war in a little fourth-rate country smaller than California. Not only is our "empire" unjust and with a disposition to authoritarianism and lies, it is fatally incompetent and appears to be in decline shortly after reaching its zenith.

x2:

MINH is obviously too dumb to even be considered stupid.

There was plenty of coverage of the protests on the news.

I guess you were just too slow-minded to notice.

Anonymous:

http://www.commondreams.org/views03/1018-01.htm

Published on Saturday, October 18, 2003 by CommonDreams.org
The Emperor Has No Clothes
by US Senator Robert Byrd
Senate Floor Remarks
October 17, 2003

In 1837, Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen, wrote a wonderful fairy tale which he titled The Emperor's New Clothes. It may be the very first example of the power of political correctness. It is the story of the Ruler of a distant land who was so enamored of his appearance and his clothing that he had a different suit for every hour of the day.

One day two rogues arrived in town, claiming to be gifted weavers. They convinced the Emperor that they could weave the most wonderful cloth, which had a magical property. The clothes were only visible to those who were completely pure in heart and spirit.

The Emperor was impressed and ordered the weavers to begin work immediately. The rogues, who had a deep understanding of human nature, began to feign work on empty looms.

Minister after minister went to view the new clothes and all came back exhorting the beauty of the cloth on the looms even though none of them could see a thing.

Finally a grand procession was planned for the Emperor to display his new finery. The Emperor went to view his clothes and was shocked to see absolutely nothing, but he pretended to admire the fabulous cloth, inspect the clothes with awe, and, after disrobing, go through the motions of carefully putting on a suit of the new garments.

Under a royal canopy the Emperor appeared to the admiring throng of his people - - all of whom cheered and clapped because they all knew the rogue weavers' tale and did not want to be seen as less than pure of heart.

But, the bubble burst when an innocent child loudly exclaimed, for the whole kingdom to hear, that the Emperor had nothing on at all. He had no clothes.

That tale seems to me very like the way this nation was led to war.

Minh:

During the initiation process of the Iraq war, 2 million Brits went out to demonstrate their opposition to the war, all sort of intellectuals in Europe went on TV to debate about it, but there were nothing in the US press, from New York Time to Washington Post, from IHT to Newsweek, NOTHING.

Only when the war is obviously lost in term of its purpose and in terms of economics, those editors in New York Times and WP, IHT ... start to call "the road home". Tell me please, are you Americans so stupid ? or just cowards ?

Isn't that a sign of "emperor has no clothes" syndrome ?

My conclusion is no matter what you call the USA democracy or empire, the people in charge of the USA act if it were an empire.

Abdi Goud Musa, Connecticut, USA:

"Without Justice and Order, An Empire Cannot Rule"
Soli Ozel hit the nail at the head.
When Khalif Omar Binu Khitaab, may Allah bless his soul was the leader of the Islamic Empire( Amiir Al Muminuun) a person who was so impressed with the Amiir's record of justice and integrity, travelled to meet him person to Mecca. After long journey, this person reached Mecca. He asked about the leader of the Islamic Umma. One pointed to him at a man sleeping at outside open in the desert. He used a heap of sand as pillow.
One he reached where Khalif Omar was sleeping he said in Arabic: Xakamta(you ruled), Fa adalta(you ruled with justice) Fa aminta( and you trusted your subjects), suma nimta(and you slept).
Without ruling jusly and trusting whom one rules there is no sleep for any ruler.
That is why most rulers of today have secret service and millions of dollars are spent on their security.
In addition to that Rome can not be compared today's Bush adminstration in any shape or fame.

dave:

This from a man that lives in a country that was an empire at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Why, is this space on here? There was the Muslim women who thought that most Americans would agree with using the Koran for the basis of our laws. That is nuts.

Let me ask this Gentleman if there are anything like Neighborhood watches in Turkey? If not, why not?

nardami:

ANON you are dead wrong. Your comment disrepects common sense and the words of a true patriot who put his 25 plus year career on the line to disabuse people like you of the distortion the WH is trying its best to spin on this matter.

nardami:

ANONYMOUS cannot understand what he reads or he should not post. The open letter I posted was written by a career justice department lawyer who has seen it all from the inside for 25 years...not a dupe who swallows the WH line of bull. This man is an aAMerican HEROE if there ever was one in these times...a man not afaraid to put his job on the line to speak out for truth. You discredit his patriotism with your glib uninformed remarks.

Minh:

Thank you, Soli Ozel for pointed out the different framework that Rome and the USA operated on, and the common key word : Order.

By picking Iraq to transform into a client state of the USA, and failing to do so in a reasonable time frame, the USA risks inviting more and more hostility of 1.3 billion Muslims.

As a recent interview of Mr Mahathir Mohammed on Al Jazeera, he pointed out that the only thing one may expect from such hostility is more disorder.

In that sense, whatever one may call the current hegemony of the USA: empire or not, its action in Iraq and Afghanistan is working against its status as the only superpower and invite disaster that other clients state of the USA will also suffer heavily as Demetri has pointed out.

Also because of the double objectives of the Iraq invasion, represented by two powerful entities within the USA, it is unlikely that this disaster will be finished soon.

Salamon:

yet again Demitri has came up with the most pertinent analysis of the subject matter.

I am in agreement that the political elite of many countries do subscribe to the USA Empire, however, there is a often dissonance between the political elites in the Vassal States [EU, Japan, S. Korea, most of ME etc] and their citizens - in this one should include many USA citizens.. .

I am not sure that I agree with Mr. Soli Ozel that the world needs an ordering agent in the form of a major power [The USA in this case]. The USA government is incapable of governing the USA in an effective manner [the demands of the military industrial complex over ride the needs of the citizens re health care, infrastructure, education, e.g Katerina's aftermath].

While the USA is capable of Cajoling the ruling elites [or subverting them for convinience's sake] the aftereffect is often worse than if there were no interferences... Isreal/Palestine, Lebanon, Chile, some of the ex SSR-s, Iran and the Shah, Iraq and Bush II etc.

Europe has come to the conclusion that imperialism and attempts of being "ordering agent[s}" are contrary to the "good life" - thus they organized the EU [with the unhappy UK being an oddball] to overcome this IMPERIAL MADNESS syndrome. The USA with the other winners of WWII have attempted to get the ordering organization removed form individual states, thus the UN was born. Unfortunately, as with most political objectives in international affairs, the USA done its best to subvert the UN, and act outside the international Law constraint [the family jewels of CIA, constant Veto re Isreal, war with Iraq in 2003, etc].

Democracy was never the aim of the USA in other countries [and not even in the USA since Bush II], the aim was the establishment of subservient political elites: serve the USA's national interest, or that of the USA's multinationals. The 2003 war with Iraq has as much to do with democracy as was the USA's involvement in Rwanda's genocidal Hutu Tutsi war. Iraq II war was the net result of the Eisenhower Doctorine - control of ME's oil/gas supply. It is fairly obvious that the "democratic governemnt" of IRaq is only a facade as far as the USA is concerned, for if it demands some action contrary to perceived USA desire, this government is completely disregarded.

Similarly, I am not persuaded that a major re-adustment in the value of the USA $ would cause a world wide depression. The growing economics of Asia and S. America can easily counterbalance a big part of the contraction of USA economy [might have very adverse effect on USA and mostly UK private equity hedge funds opertaions]. After all the World economy well survived the almost 40% devaluation of the USA$ versus the Euro [among others] in the laswt few years.

While I agree with Dimitri's notions for the need of renewal in USA government and its obje4ctives and strtegies, there is also two very serious economic renewals need at the same time:
1., stop printing billions of dollars a week
2., cut back on the fiance of the military/industrial complex - the moneys are needed to fight global warming, to ease the pressure on the next generation due to the $9 TRILLION DEBT of the Government, and to rebuild the infrastructure manufacturing capabilities of the USA economy.

Were there no serious changes as per Dimiri and two points above, it is doubtful that the USA Empire will last to 2020.

halozcel:

Dear Soli Ozer,

It is very difficult to understand that how can USA be appreciated by the words of Ibn Khaldoun who had lived 1332-1406.In his famous book,Muqaddimah,Ibn Haldoun had studied on Goths,Huns,Omayyad and Mongols.All,they were bandits and looters.
Can they be example for USA ? seems to me,no.
USA is based on Democracy and Human Rights.
USA is the high-level example of Human Civilization.
USA is based on the contempopary values.

Many things said and written on the end of West Roman Empire.Although,it had been ended by Ostrogoths,Odoacer in 476 AD,exact cause was the christianity,because the christians had undermined the state,they were exempt from the militaristic duty(you shall not kill).So,Roman Empire couldnt find enough soldiers to defence the land.
If USA not undermined,there is no any danger within the short future.
Those who compare USA with Roman Empire,lets not forget Roman Civilization had lasted nearly 1000 years(509 BC-476 AD).

Demetri:

Empires, like all human institutions and superstructures, exist only within the cloud of tacitly agreed upon assumptions and conditional truths. We, as citizens of the United States, accept the legitimacy of our government and thus hold its existence and power as a self-evident truth. In fact, very few people in this country could even conceive of challenging the authority and legitimacy of our domestic political and economic order, in any practical sense that is. Nations that rule empires, such as the United States and its institutions, face a greater challenge than local governments in that they have a much more difficult time justifying their positions as legitimate sources of power and order, primarily because of their finite political reach. In order for empires to survive they must be able to maintain the support of their clients and marginalize the voices of their challengers so as to keep faith in the system intact. Once members of the international order, specifically nations since they are still the most dominant and legitimate form of societal organization, begin to doubt either the legitimacy of the empire or its sustainability, the edifice of presupposed expectations and truths regarding the existential viability of the empire begin to crumble.
So the question then is not whether or not America is an empire but whether or not the nations and institutions whose support for American empire is crucial to its very existence, still believe in its legitimacy and sustainability. There is no question that the current international and financial order is dominated by American institutions and held together by the glue of deference to American primacy. Thus, it would be fair to say that American empire is certainly a reality. That being said however, it would also be fair to say that confidence in the sustainability of American empire is quickly eroding. Other nations, international institutions, and private investors are beginning to more openly question the sustainability of American empire, and even America itself is beginning to willingly loosen its grips on certain parts of its empire in the expectation that it will be unable to manage its collective security and order in the near future (we see this willingness to move towards a more multi-polar world in current American policy towards Asia). This breaks with the current administration’s actions in Iraq and Afghanistan and its clear unilateral attempts at strengthening its imperial grip on the Middle East and central Asia. This sort of schizophrenic foreign policy is certainly alarming and it suggests that there is still no clear consensus among policy elites both within this country and in others about what the future of our world’s political structure should and ultimately will look like. This growing loss of confidence by members of the imperial community is justified. Although America’s military power, the traditional source of imperial legitimacy, is far greater than that of any other member of the international community, its application no longer holds the same persuasive value that it did just 15 years ago. All of this country’s military might cannot solve the instability that it has created in Iraq, and this has become plainly obvious to both its clients and its challengers. In addition, America has become completely dependent upon the maintenance of the empire itself in order to sustain the financial viability of its economy and thus the continued tacit support for its policies by its own body politic – the ultimate source of imperial legitimacy within a democratic society. The current petrodollar regime and the long-time willingness of emerging Asian countries to invest in American assets and to purchase American bonds is being challenged. Without the continued willingness of imperial clients to support the dollar indefinitely, the United States, and much of the world, would suffer an economic catastrophe the likes of which we may have never seen before.
With the exception of states that are currently marginalized and/or punished within the framework of our current imperial order – Iran, North Korea, and to a lesser degree Russia to name a few – the remaining members potentially have much to lose from American withdrawal before a legitimate replacement for the current international regime (a.k.a. American empire and all of its institutions) is established. Therefore, it is imperative that the next American administration moves quickly towards re-establishing trust in American leadership, for the time being, and work together with other members of the international community to lay the groundwork for what is sure to be a multi-polar 21st century. However, even an administration that re-establishes trust and cooperation within the current international system will face significant challenges that could ultimately lead to catastrophic armed conflict in the years to come – mainly the combined challenges of dwindling carbon-based energy supplies and global climate change, and the emergence of non-state actors capable of eroding the very confidence of the nation state itself as a legitimate provider of security and economic opportunity for society. Ultimately, I do not believe that any of these problems can be solved unless the body politic of the United States awakens from its slumber and demands that a serious political dialogue be initiated within this country to address these urgent and vital issues. American politicians are far too short sighted to act beyond their own self-interests, and if we as a people do not rise up and use the democratic institutions of government to demand real and immediate change in the fundamental and existential challenges that face our world today, we may not have much of a world to look forward to.

lonewolf:

the bushies believe that they are in fact another roman empire except for the fact that they have left out the justice part of the equation. empiricism no longer works in a world "that is flat" as thomas freidman says. i agree with that because the roman empire succeeded in an age of limited communications. if it were today the roman's enemies would seem as though they were just next door. in a rpidly changing world empires are just simply no longer a possibility. this shows just how out of touch the neo-cons really are.

Mustafa Khan :

The fate of the American civilization haunted even Samuel Huntington. In his controversial book he thinks that the American civilization has achieved immortality since it has spawned many virtues like democracy, freedom of speech etc. But what he has conveniently allowed to forget is that these values also will morph into something rich and strange. So much so that the present day generation of Huntington would wake up a Rip Van Winkle sleep and would find everything has changed. That there is no stars and stripes flying. Some other people have come to rule and even culture has changed. Days of misrule and napalm bombs and atom bombs are over and so is hegemony of the US.Kudos to Curren Murphy

nardami:

FRANK COLLINS...from where do you get your information...Dick Cheney?

nardami:

from today's Denver Post
Bush justice is a national disgrace
By John S. Koppel
Article Last Updated: 07/05/2007 11:48:30 PM MDT


As a longtime attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, I can honestly say that I have never been as ashamed of the department and government that I serve as I am at this time.

The public record now plainly demonstrates that both the DOJ and the government as a whole have been thoroughly politicized in a manner that is inappropriate, unethical and indeed unlawful. The unconscionable commutation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's sentence, the misuse of warrantless investigative powers under the Patriot Act and the deplorable treatment of U.S. attorneys all point to an unmistakable pattern of abuse.

In the course of its tenure since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has turned the entire government (and the DOJ in particular) into a veritable Augean stable on issues such as civil rights, civil liberties, international law and basic human rights, as well as criminal prosecution and federal employment and contracting practices. It has systematically undermined the rule of law in the name of fighting terrorism, and it has sought to insulate its actions from legislative or judicial scrutiny and accountability by invoking national security at every turn, engaging in persistent fearmongering, routinely impugning the integrity and/or patriotism of its critics, and protecting its own lawbreakers. This is neither normal government conduct nor "politics as usual," but a national disgrace of a magnitude unseen since the days of Watergate - which, in fact, I believe it eclipses.

In more than a quarter of a century at the DOJ, I have never before seen such consistent and marked disrespect on the part of the highest ranking government policymakers for both law and ethics. It is especially unheard of for U.S. attorneys to be targeted and removed on the basis of pressure and complaints from political figures dissatisfied with their handling of politically sensitive investigations and their unwillingness to "play ball." Enough information has already been disclosed to support the conclusion that this is exactly what happened here, at least in the case of former U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias of New Mexico (and quite possibly in several others as well). Law enforcement is not supposed to be a political team sport, and prosecutorial independence and integrity are not "performance problems."

In his long-awaited but uninformative testimony concerning the extraordinary firings of U.S. attorneys, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales did not allay these concerns. Indeed, he faced a no-win situation. If he testified falsely regarding his alleged lack of recollection and lack of involvement, he perjured himself and lied to both Congress and the American people. On the other hand, if he told the truth, he clearly has been derelict in the performance of his duties and is not up to the job. Either way, his fitness to serve is now in doubt.

Tellingly, in his congressional testimony, D. Kyle Sampson (the junior aide to whom the attorney general delegated vast authority) expressed the view that the distinction between "performance" considerations and "political" considerations was "largely artificial." This attitude, however, is precisely the problem. The administration that Sampson served has elided the distinction between government performance and politics to an unparalleled extent (just as it has blurred the boundaries between the White House counsel's office and the attorney general's office). And it is no answer to say that U.S. attorneys are political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president. The point that is lost on those who make this argument is that U.S. attorneys must not serve partisan purposes or advance a partisan agenda - which has nothing to do with requiring them to promote an administration's legitimate policy priorities.

As usual, the administration has attempted to minimize the significance of its malfeasance and misfeasance, reciting its now-customary "mistakes were made" mantra, accepting purely abstract responsibility without consequences for its actions, and making hollow vows to do better. However, the DOJ Inspector General's Patriot Act report (which would not even have existed if the administration had not been forced to grudgingly accept a very modest legislative reporting requirement, instead of being allowed to operate in its preferred secrecy), the White House-DOJ e-mails, and now the Libby commutation merely highlight yet again the lawlessness, incompetence and dishonesty of the present executive branch leadership.

They also underscore Congress' lack of wisdom in blindly trusting the administration, largely rubber-stamping its legislative proposals, and essentially abandoning the congressional oversight function for most of the last six years. These are, after all, the same leaders who brought us the WMD fiasco, the unnecessary and disastrous Iraq war, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, warrantless domestic NSA surveillance, the Valerie Wilson leak, the arrest of Brandon Mayfield, and the Katrina response failure. The last thing they deserve is trust.

The sweeping, judicially unchecked powers granted under the Patriot Act should neither have been created in the first place nor permanently renewed thereafter, and the Act - which also contributed to the ongoing contretemps regarding the replacement of U.S. attorneys, by changing the appointment process to invite political abuse - should be substantially modified, if not scrapped outright. And real, rather than symbolic, responsibility should be assigned for the manifold abuses. The public trust has been flagrantly violated, and meaningful accountability is long overdue. Officials who have brought into disrepute both the Department of Justice and the administration of justice as a whole should finally have to answer for it - and the misdeeds at issue involve not merely garden-variety misconduct, but multiple "high crimes and misdemeanors," including war crimes and crimes against humanity.

I realize that this constitutionally protected statement subjects me to a substantial risk of unlawful reprisal from extremely ruthless people who have repeatedly taken such action in the past. But I am confident that I am speaking on behalf of countless thousands of honorable public servants, at Justice and elsewhere, who take their responsibilities seriously and share these views. And some things must be said, whatever the risk.

The views presented in this essay are not representative of the Department of Justice or its employees but are instead the personal views of its author.

John S. Koppel has been a civil appellate attorney with the Department of Justice since 1981.

serena1313:

I absolutely agree.

While America's encroachment on the rest of the world began decades ago the angst felt against Americans today is exacerbated by the current administration's insensitive policies and American attitudes toward the needs of the rest of the world.

After taking the helm almost immediately Bush and Cheney began the reversal of long-standing, centuries-old traditions steeped in democratic institutions and principles on which our nation was built: freedom, liberty, justice and equality. Apparently none of those seem to be of any great importance to this administration as evidenced by their actions and the policies they've enacted both at home and overseas -- mainly overseas.

Society is defined by its acts not its words. America cannot say one thing and do another nor continue to ignore the world community. Justice belongs to all people. Everyone's needs are equally important. In a just world freedom, liberty and equality flourish when all prosper under the same dictates. However a society that imposes its will on the rest of the world to serve its own interests cannot successfully survive for long.

Generally speaking Americans say they cherish freedom, but deny it to others. Some Americans are too willing to trade freedom for a faux sense of security. Freedom cannot exist when foreign countries face threats of an invasion if they do not comply with US demands.

Americans say they believe in equality, but little proof exists when Middle-Eastern, African-Americans, Hispanics, Gays & Lesbians, etc. are still discriminated against including women regardless of race, nationality or colour.

Americans say they believe in liberty, but few do -- not for others. Due to a bloody and violent occupation of a war-torn country where people suffer greatly on a daily basis defines oppression not liberty.

Americans say they believe in justice, but deny it to others. With flagrant arrogance Bush and Cheney redefined America's foreign policy. The Geneva Conventions once revered became "quaint;" torture became the norm rather than the rare exception; money and power wield more influence than people; politics trump policy; and military might replaced diplomacy.

All of us have a stake in working together for the betterment of the human condition. Only when the same rights, freedoms, liberties are accorded to all human beings will a fair and just world prevail.

Maqsood Choudary:

There is nothing more that I will agree with you. Rule of law, justice, social and political order are pre-requisite for good governance.
"Sun never set on the British empire" because they learned this essential ingredient at a very early stage of their colonizing efforts.
Farid Zakaria and I come from a part of the world, which was "Jewel in the Crown." Whatever the critics may say, the fact is that they did a superb job of governing beside ruling. Believe me much better than the post-colonial thugs.

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