The American Beacon

By Big Tent Democrat

Via Matt Yglesias, Spencer Ackerman reports how successful Bush has been at exporting our "values" in Iraq:
Then at the end, as people are milling about and chatting on their way out the door, one of the [American Provincial Reconstruction Team] officials tells [an Iraqi] judge how important it is to stand up against terrorism and promote equality and fairness before an impartial system of law. The judge nods at the platitude. "Tell me," he says through a translator, "is it true that in America, Bush can fire prosecutors he doesn't like?"

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    From Sat. NYT: (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:53:00 PM EST
    In Iraq, civil institutions of law have only a tenuous foothold.

    In determining guilt or innocence, Iraqi judges have been accustomed to concentrating on whether a defendant has confessed -- an emphasis that American officials said encouraged abusive interrogations. Mr. Davis, the former F.B.I. legal attaché in Baghdad, said the task force allowed only nonconfrontational interview techniques used in the United States.

    The Iron Fist Of Freedom (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:54:10 PM EST
    Is spreading through the globe.  

    firing an employee (none / 0) (#3)
    by elim on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:13:13 PM EST
    wow, a president can fire an employee-shades of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.  

    Firing prosecutors (none / 0) (#4)
    by AF on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:51:06 PM EST
    for political reasons is in fact antithetical to due process and basic fairness.  Do you disagree with that?

    As opposed to hiring for the same ? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Joliphant on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:24:01 PM EST
    Not like people don't get jobs based on their connection to an administration (Insert any administration for the past 222 years)

    And (none / 0) (#9)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:40:37 AM EST

    absolutely (none / 0) (#5)
    by elim on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:20:42 PM EST
    I absolutely disagree with that-prosecutors aren't lifetime appointees, a la judges.  I don't even see the relevance of "due process" but unfair?  they are political appointees and can be fired by the same president to which they owe the job.  do you think the President can tell the Secretary of State or any other agency head to take a hike or are they lifetime appointees as well.  the lesson we are supposed to glean from the article is "how can we be tough on terror when your president can fire his employees".  I don't see the analogy.  by the way, is standing up against terror a platitude?  

    There is a long tradition (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by AF on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:45:19 PM EST
    of presidents not firing federal prosecutors for political reasons.  There have been a few notable exceptions -- Nixon firing Archibald Cox, the Bush administration firing nine US attorneys -- but they are exceptions that prove the rule.

    The relationship with due process and basic fairness (which is part of due process) is this.  Imagine you are a Republican public official who is the target of a federal investigation by a Democratic appointed prosecutor.  He clears your name.  For this he is fired by a Democratic Attorney General and replaced by a new prosecutor, who reopens the investigation and you are found guilty and thrown in jail.  Would you feel you were treated fairly?


    Commentators seem to be (none / 0) (#8)
    by oldpro on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:51:36 PM EST
    missing the part about "an impartial system of law."

    Ordinarily, in government, ethics require that political appointments for political purposes are kept separate from political appointments for professional reasons.  In other words, there are political jobs that only serve the president and professional jobs that serve the government of the American people.

    The Bush administration did not differentiate and there lies the problem with the firing of the federal prosecutors for political reasons.

    Did it bother you when prior administrations (none / 0) (#11)
    by Joliphant on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 09:09:37 AM EST
    did the same thing ?

    No (5.00 / 0) (#12)
    by oldpro on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 12:31:16 PM EST
    because I am not aware of any other administrations that have 'done the same thing.'

    If by that you mean new appointees were made when administrations turned over, that is always the case.  These jobs are political plums to give talented folks experience on their way to higher office...judges, etc.

    BUT...this administration did something which was entirely politically motivated.  They fired prosecutors for prosucting Republicans and for NOT prosecuting Democrats whom the administration wanted dealt with.  The prosecutors had ethics and integrity and did not cave in to these reprehensible directions from the Bush political operatives.  So, they were fired.


    history (none / 0) (#10)
    by elim on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 08:20:59 AM EST
    We have a long history of United States Attorneys being fired, with open season being held every 4 to 8 years when a new president is elected.  are you claiming that new presidents don't have the option of firing the old president's political appointees?

    No. (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by oldpro on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 12:34:54 PM EST
    These always turn over with a new administration.  That is the way political patronage works.  But turning over is not 'firing' in the way these prosecutors were fired nor for the same reasons.  These Republican prosecutors themselves have said so and some are outraged...those with integrity, anyway.

    not firing (none / 0) (#14)
    by elim on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:34:42 PM EST
    in the same way?  turnover implies attrition and firing implies firing.  new administrations fire holdovers from old administrations, they don't attrite them.  yet you seem to claim a "new" administration can't fire someone they appointed to fill a position they just fired someone from-that really makes no sense and seems to imply taht the executive can exercise no control over its employees, something that makes no sense.