Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Swanson: The Bush-Cheney Ethics Refresher Course

The Bush-Cheney Ethics Refresher Course


By David Swanson
From: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/4493

Apparently the new "ethics refresher course" at the White House is going to focus on reminding White House staff that classified information is not supposed to be told to reporters.

Ethics Part 2, to be taught in the Spring, will delve into the appropriateness of endangering the life of a woman and her colleagues because you're pissed off at her husband.

Those who opt for Graduate Level ethics refreshment will study the question of whether anger is justifiable if the object of that anger is guilty only of exposing you as a fraud and a liar.

And PhD candidates will be required to address the eternal enigma involved in the question: Is it morally good to aggressively attack another nation if you tell a bunch of lies about it first?

Students will be required to pay all library fines and parking tickets and hand in completed applications for presidential pardons prior to graduation. There will be an extra charge to have Ashcroft pour vegetable oil on you.

Seriously, who in the hell are they kidding? Themselves?

This is not ethics. Of course, neither would in-depth regurgitation of Aristotle or Kant or Bentham – or Moses for that matter – do these people any good. If anything did them any good in the way of ethics, they'd resign and no longer work for the Bush White House. Bush would have refreshered himself right out of a staff.

But the fact is that ethical education is not refreshment. It does not return you to a comfortable state of familiar platitudes. Useful ethical education makes the student ill at ease with previously accepted situations.

If I were designing an ethics course for White House staff, I would begin with a viewing of and discussion of some of these images of the victims of the war on Iraq:
http://www.robert-fisk.com/iraqwarvictims_page1.htm

Then I would play aloud this audio recording of Beatrice Salvador telling the story of her nephew, who was killed in the war as a U.S. soldier:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/1956

I would continue in this vein until the stories of the collateral damage and the supported troops became real. I would ask the students to research, to meet with families, and to write up at least two new stories of victims of the war, at least one of them Iraqi. I would be looking for an understanding of suffering.

Then I would ask them to study any of the infinite pieces of rhetoric, new and old, from rulers sending soldiers to war. You know the stuff: sacrifice, last resort, war for peace, agonizing decision, no choice, humility. I would especially focus on humility. I would ask the students to give examples of what humility sounds like, and of what arrogance sounds like.

Then we would listen to this audio compilation of Bush and Company lying about the need for war:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5115.htm

Eventually we would discuss the merits of the decision to go to war and the decision to lie about the justification for it.

Upon completion of the course, students would either resign or agree to display the 10 Commandments on the door to their office. I would bring a supply of framed prints of the 10 Commandments, the King George Version:

1. Don't listen to nobody else when Karl ain't around.
2. Don't get too attached to stuff, cause you can always buy another one.
3. Don't talk back to Karl.
4. Never work on a Sunday. This rule is not to be construed as in any way stipulating a requirement to work on any particular day or days that is not or are not Sundays.
5. Honor thy father and thy mother – besides they don't NEED Social Security.
6. Thou shalt not kill but it's OK to force poor people to kill and be killed if it helps the corporations and if you don't let anyone see the bodies.
7. Thou shalt not dirty the White House like Clinton!
8. Thou shalt not steal unless you let the European corporations have a little too.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness unless it helps you start a war.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's oil or public resources unless your neighbor is a Muslim or your campaign funding is on the line.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Binoy Kampmark: The Major Questions Doctrine: The US Supreme Court Blunts The EPA
The US Supreme Court has been frantically busy of late, striking down law and legislation with an almost crazed, ideological enthusiasm. Gun laws have been invalidated; Roe v Wade and constitutional abortion rights, confined to history. And now, the Environmental Protection Agency has been clipped of its powers in a 6-3 decision.
The June 30 decision of West Virginia v Environmental Protection Agency was something of a shadow boxing act... More>>


Ian Powell: Are we happy living in Handy's Age of Unreason?

On 19 June the Sunday Star Times published my column on the relationship between the Labour government’s stewardship of Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system and the outcome of the next general election expected to be around September-October 2023: Is the health system an electoral sword of Damocles for Labour... More>>


The First Attack On The Independents: Albanese Hobbles The Crossbench
It did not take long for the new Australian Labor government to flex its muscle foolishly in response to the large crossbench of independents and small party members of Parliament. Despite promising a new age of transparency and accountability after the election of May 21, one of the first notable acts of the Albanese government was to attack the very people who gave voice to that movement. Dangerously, old party rule, however slim, is again found boneheaded and wanting... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Roe V. Wade Blindsides National

Momentum is everything in politics, but it is very fragile. There are times when unexpected actions can produce big shifts and changes in the political landscape. In 2017, for example, the Labour Party appeared headed for another hefty defeat in that year’s election until the abrupt decision of its then leader to step aside just weeks before the election. That decision changed the political landscape and set in train the events which led to Labour being anointed by New Zealand First to form a coalition government just a few weeks later... More>>

Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>