Wednesday, December 21, 2005

rule of law

In her column today, Anne Applebaum has it exactly right. Why is this de facto Administration trying to spread democracy abroad while curtailing it at home? We spend years telling foreign governments to follow the rule of law, to quit illegally spying on its people, to stop torturing them. (I could add, to stop fixing elections, but Applebaum didn't touch on that.)

But how do we tell them to stop this when we're doing it ourselves?

And just as the Cold War was won when Eastern Europeans abandoned communism and joined the West, the war on terrorism will be over when moderate Muslims have transformed the Arab world -- abandoning the radicals to their tents and their caves -- and joined the global mainstream.

Before they get there, they'll probably be subjected to a lot of State Department speeches about why it's important to abandon such practices as arbitrary arrest, torture and secret electronic surveillance. They'll probably be told over and over again why it's important for political leaders to subject themselves to the same laws as their citizens. They'll probably hear lectures about due process, and other rights available to people in civilized societies. But as things are going now -- why on earth should they listen?