The accountability movement is built on the crazy, wild-eyed belief that no one is above the law—that even (some would say especially) the most powerful should be held responsible for their actions. Whether it be Bernie Madoff or the president of the United States, if you break the law, you pay the price.
Writing for AlterNet, Charlotte Dennett, the Vermont lawyer who ran for the office of State Attorney General on a promise to impeach George W. Bush for murder, pleads her case:
In the main foyer of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Court of Appeals in New York, a giant female statute cloaked in white robes literally leaps out at the visitor, bearing aloft the scales of justice, equally balanced. She is blindfolded, signifying that justice must be blind, regardless of rank or class. She’s one of the oldest icons in history, dating back to the ancient Greeks. Her name is Lady Justice, and her plea for equal justice under the law has never been more relevant than today in the United States of America.
Many Americans feel her call, yet find themselves repeatedly let down by an atmosphere of impunity that still reigns in this country despite the departure of George W. Bush from the White House. The latest, most public example comes from two eminent physicians who wrote “Doctors Without Morals” in Monday’s New York Times. They have written an op-ed that decries the fact that “government doctors and psychologists who participated in and authorized the torture of detainees have escaped discipline, accountability or even internal investigations.” They ruefully point out that government lawyers who tried to legalize illegal torture under the Bush administration were at least subjected to a “transparent investigation of professional behavior,” whereas government doctors received no scrutiny at all from members of their profession.