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Bush came to office in 2001 with a promise of accountability. He would, he promised, restore dignity and accountability to the Oval Office. But the hallmark of his Government has been not accountability, but impunity: the notion that neither he nor any of those who act to his commands can be held to account for crimes or wrongdoing they commit. It is the total inversion of the principle of government by men under law introduced by America’s Founding Fathers.
And if there is no accountability—if Bush and company simply conclude their terms and leave without ever being taken to tasks for criminal misconduct—what consequences does this have for our society? That’s a question one of our editors put to me over lunch yesterday. It’s both extremely important and essentially unasked in America today.
But across the ocean in our motherland of rather more authoritarian traditions, in Britain, precisely this question is being asked. And tomorrow, July 14, 2007, at 9:30 a.m., BBC Radio 4 will be broadcasting a play entitled “Called to Account,” which addresses precisely the question my editor put.
In early 2007, two leading barristers tested the evidence as to whether there would be sufficient grounds to indict the British Prime Minister for the crime of aggression against Iraq. They examined a number of distinguished witnesses, including Members of Parliament, diplomats, United Nations officials, Intelligence experts and journalists.
Their revealing testimony was re-told by actors in The Tricycle Theatre’s critically acclaimed tribunal play Called to Account – The Indictment of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair for the crime of aggression against Iraq – A Hearing. To mark the resignation of Tony Blair, the original cast return in this specially adapted version for BBC Radio 4.
If you’re in Britain, tune in at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow to BBC4. And if not, tune in at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time to the webcast. Click on the link provided and then click the “listen live” icon at the top of the page. It will be worth your time.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Estimated number of people who watched a live Webcast of a hair transplant last fall:
A rancher in Texas was developing a system that will permit hunters to kill animals by remote control via a website.
A man in Japan was arrested for stealing a prospective employer’s wallet during a job interview, and a court in Germany ruled that it is safe for a woman with breast implants to be a police officer.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."