09 December 2003

That's Some Pig!

Not just the Charlotte's Web variety, but the kind that is more equal than others.

Vanessa Blum has a remarkably even-handed article at Law.com today regarding the so-called war on terrorism, and prosecutorial tactics therein. Precisely because the article avoids much in the way of its own polemic, merely quoting the participants for its points, it pretty thoroughly undermines the Justice Department's position (at least from my perspective as a former military officer who gets really annoyed when civilians who know nothing of warfare stick their noses in too far). There are a few minor mistakes, such as the assertion that "involv[ing] defense counsel [for an Australian detainee] before official charges have been brought suggests that lawyers may be working out a plea bargain," whereas it means only that an Article 32 proceeding has been requested or initiated (the military equivalent of a grand jury, involving no jury whatsoever), but it's generally a sound article.

The Justice Department essentially convicts itself.

There was the same hearty cheering as before, and the mugs were emptied to the dregs. But as the animals outside gazed at the scene, it seemed to them that some strange thing was happening. What was it that had altered in the faces of the pigs? Clover's old dim eyes flitted from one face to another. Some of them had five chins, some have four, some had three. But what was it that seemed to be melting and changing?…

[] There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously.

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

George Orwell, Animal Farm (1944).