So Monica Goodling doesn't want to answer questions on Capitol Hill, eh?
This top official in the Justice Department, who serves as its liaison to the White House, is now refusing to answer any congressional questions about the US attorneys scandal. You know, the one in which George and Dick and Karl and Alberto have been hiring and firing federal prosecutors based on their willingness to politicize the legal system. That scandal (it's so hard to keep track of them these days).
Her lawyer says that Goodling doesn't actually have anything to hide, but rather that - just like the judicial travesty that recently took down Scooter Libby - a "hostile and questionable environment" has surrounded the case. As opposed to the good kind of investigations, you see, where the White House doesn't bother to answer the friendly questions that Congress and the press don't bother to ask. You know, like the last six years or so.
So Goodling's lawyer has just announced that his client will be invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination - even though, mind you, she didn't do anything wrong! - rather than testifying to Congress.
Fifth Amendment? Fifth Amendment? You mean like, the Bill of Rights? That Fifth Amendment?
Doesn't she know that the Fifth Amendment has been suspended?
Doesn't she know that all those amendments have been suspended?
Doesn't she know that the president considers that whole document that these amendments amend to be "just a goddamed piece of paper"?
She's joking here, right? I thought she worked for the Justice Department in the Bush administration? Hasn't she heard?
Or maybe she's still waiting for her interoffice mail from the last five years to clear NSA.
Boy, is she gonna be surprised. We all know how committed the Bush people are to protecting the country from evildoers. Next thing you know, little Miss Monica Goodling is going to find herself bound and gagged, and on a short but very uncomfortable flight to Guantánamo.
And that's if she's lucky. If not, she'll be getting a wee taste of extraordinary rendition to some place like Egypt or Syria. Those fellas know how to make a gal sing! Lemme tell ya, brother, there aren't any pesky amendments in Syria, and there never were.
I hope Ms. Goodling doesn't think that her attorney will get the charges dropped for her. In fact, she won't be having an attorney.
I hope she doesn't think that the evidence she presents will exonerate her. In fact, she won't be presenting any.
I hope she doesn't think there will be a fair trial before a jury of her peers. In fact, she's gonna be rotting away in a dank cell somewhere, never even charged with any actual offense.
And she can forget about making a habeas corpus appeal, too. Even though it was considered for centuries to be one of the great traditions of Western jurisprudence, Dear Leader knew better than that and had the foresight to eliminate it, so that evildoers couldn't get away on some minor legal technicality like unlawful imprisonment.
Habeas corpus? Ancient history. Just like all the rest of that Latin mumbo-jumbo. Bag 'em and tag 'em are the legal lyrics we sing these days. This president's a (nearly real) Texan! Don't mess with Texas!
Squeamish lily-livered liberals and their bleeding-heart fellow travelers might not like it, but I'm sure the president wants to get to the bottom of this just as much as he's wanted to solve the puzzle of who outed Valerie Plame (which he will, I assure you, as soon as he can locate that scrap of paper with Dick Cheney's phone number on it).
That's bad news for Ms. Goodling, because that whole annoying Geneva Protocol thing has now been determined to be both "quaint" and "obsolete" (didn't Alberto tell you?).
Uh-Oh. That means the t-word, I'm afraid. But, look, you gotta do what you gotta do to win the war on evildoers.
So I say, torture her! Hell yes.
If I know anything about this president, I know he won't be afraid to attach electrodes to her genitals and make her scream a little.
I know that he'll waterboard her until she gives up the guilty parties (though certain names may have to be redacted, of course, but we have people for that).
I know that nothing so quaint and obsolete as mere international treaties or constitutional provisions will stop our unfaltering crusader for justice from getting to the bottom of this obvious threat to our way of life.
And I know that once he has everything he needs from her forced confession, he'll have just the people in place as US attorneys to prosecute this evildoer. (But, of course, why bother at that point?)
Fifth Amendment rights. That's rich. We haven't had that around these parts since nigh about the twentieth century. Next I suppose she'll be claiming that her preordained death sentence is cruel and unusual punishment! Talk about quaint and obsolete.
Fifth Amendment rights. Hah. What does she think this is, the old United States of America?
David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org), but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website, www.regressiveantidote.net.