Convincing oneself that one is following a valid process, to do something one’s own lawyers believe to be legal, to achieve something appropriate that others in the future will confirm by following this example must surely be one of the most common and self-deceptive journeys upon which the human mind can embark.
“For an administration that is the first to embrace targeted killing on a wide scale, officials seem confident that they have devised an approach that is so bureaucratically, legally and morally sound that future administrations will follow suit.”
via Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists – The Washington Post.
But on Friday, Komen said that it will “amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.”
From the Washington Post story this morning:
Komen board member John Raffaelli said the board voted unanimously in October to change its grant-making criteria, including adding a rule that bans grants to organizations under investigation”
It is no secret that in our governmental system police, a prosecutor, and/or agrand jury (under certain constraints of law) can investigate broadly. Less understood is that Congress can investigate anything it chooses whenever it chooses for any reason it chooses. Whichever party holds a majority in one of the houses of Congress can employ the “investigatory power” to public or partisan purposes as it wishes.
Given the sensitivities regarding Planned Parenthood in our current political environment, Komen’s adoption of the principle stated above was an action of high political character and its board knew that (as the full story sets out) when it acted.
What’s most troubling is that the principle held any appeal (and it holds appeal to other organizations to suspend or cease activity with the subject of investigations) when the very point of an investigation is to secure an accurate answer.
Suspension (not breaking, in my view) with people being investigated by police, prosecutors and grand juries for certain kinds of illegal or criminal activity is called for in many cases. The same should not be the case when the investigation is by Congress. The price of its broad span of investigatory power must be that there ought not be a penalty imposed prior to the published findings of the investigation.
The term “American Exceptionalism” has taken a real beating in our political discourse in recent years, primarily being used by the right as a club to beat the left for believing we should work with other countries and not seek international situations in which to involve ourselves militarily if we can solve the problems with other countries through diplomacy.
The idea of American exceptionalism has a real history. It is well to know it and to know when it is being perverted or turned to partisan use.