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Thursday 11 March 2010

The Republican Wrong – Guilt By Representation

Anyone viewing the 9th March edition of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show (seen in the UK on More4 at 2030 hours yesterday, and available on 4OD) will have seen a longer than usual interview, this being with former Dubya Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen. Put it this way: there was no meeting of minds between the two.

Thiessen is yet another from the Bush years who has no problem with the variety of controversial interrogation techniques visited on those suspected of al-Qaeda association. But he goes further in suggesting that lawyers who represent such people are in some way in league with them, or at least sympathise with their alleged goals.

And Thiessen is not alone: making up for the low profile adopted recently by former Veep “Dick” Cheney is the less than subtle stance taken up by his daughter Liz, whose group Keep America Safe put out an advert recently, which echoed the opinion pitched by Thiessen on the Daily Show. Liz Cheney also appears from time to time on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).

But the attempt to demonise those who merely continue in the long US tradition of giving legal representation to all who come before the courts has drawn fire from many others on the right: a total of nineteen Bush administration officials have signed a letter describing the Keep America Safe ad as one of a “shameful series of attacks”.

And in the Senate, Republican Lindsey Graham, a military lawyer with almost 30 years’ experience, has put it directly: “This system of justice that we’re so proud of in America requires the unpopular to have an advocate, and every time a defence lawyer fights to make the Government do their job, that defence lawyer has made us all safer”.


[UPDATE: The Guardian has contributed this article on the subject]

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