26 apríl 2006

Um smuguna

Those at the top of the political ladder have the luxury of manufacturing their own loopholes. This is typically done by providing a commonly understood phrase with a narrow definition, and then immediately using the term in its new, technical sense. Condoleezza Rice’s unequivocal December 5, 2005, statement that the United States “does not permit, tolerate, or condone torture under any circumstances” came complete with a tiny asterisk next to “torture” and a corresponding footnote (somewhere) reading, “as we — not international law — define it.”

When, in his Paula Jones deposition, President Clinton claimed he “did not have sexual relations” with Monica Lewinski, he was lying in every sense but the legal one, as the prosecution had earlier agreed to a definition of “sexual relations” that omitted the very acts he was accused of performing.

And Nixon famously argued that the Oval Office was a loophole unto itself, the eye of a legal storm. “When the President does it,” he explained, “that means that it’s not illegal.” Alas, Nixon demonstrated that not every president can get away with this kind of rule-bending. Only the charismatic ones, it seems.

Helvíti skemmtileg lesning.


Engin ummæli: