13 April 2009

The Fly in the Ointment

...and the one major problem thus far with the Obama administration. Greenwald:

Simply put, there is no excuse, justification or mitigation for advocating blatantly unconstitutional and tyrannical powers or claiming that secrecy shields the President from the rule of law. Nor is the faith-based belief that Obama is a Good Person who therefore deserves trust even remotely rational or relevant. As Professor Turley put it on Countdown: "It doesn‘t matter if you are a good person doing bad things. You are doing bad things." These secrecy and detention powers are among the most dangerous and tyrannical powers a President can seize, and Obama's attempt to cling to them is deplorable no matter his "motives."
Bagram, like Guantanamo, is an iteration of what Giorgio Agamben, after Schmitt, calls the "state of exception" - the prison camp, in which law and fact become one thing, to the detriment of the humanity of the inmates.

In a way, a hijacked plane is much like a prison camp - its passengers also hostage to the blurring of law and fact. That the West chose to reproduce larger scale sites of exceptions to combat the actions of the 9/11 terrorists does, I think, prove the horrible effectiveness of al-Qaeda's strategy - and the blindness, or at least the acute anxieties, of even a state possessing an administration as enlightened as the current one.

What to do? States of exception are theoretical "black holes" - so perhaps we should let them evaporate, as those in nature do. How would a conceptual "black hole" lose more matter than it gained? And I'm not just talking about releasing the inmates - because that's the easy part.

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