The source of democracy

I couldn’t put it better myself:

Haven’t we learned and understood that democratic processes and civil societies need to come from within? Democratic governments and liberal economic policies can’t be forced on to a nation from the outside, however desperately they may need it. No, these things must come from within. Without the domestic demand for civic organizations, liberal economic policies and free rights, there is no point in trying to force the issue. You can only encourage the society to structure a framework for these rights and ideals.

And no, it’s not about Iraq. This is from one of the comments on Are aid donors now running Haiti?.

War Criminals? part 2

Some of the brutal interrogation methods that Mr. Yoo and Mr. Bybee approved for use on Qaeda prisoners, including wall-slamming and the near-drowning of waterboarding, had never before been authorized in American history, and the United States had condemned such treatment as torture and abuse when used by other countries.

Um, perhaps because it is torture?

via Justice Department Report Finds John Yoo and Jay Bybee Not Guilty of Misconduct —

War Criminals?

John Yoo, page 251

Jay Bybee, page 255

Steven Bradbury, page 258

Michael Chertoff, Adam Ciongoli, John Ashcroft, page 259

OPR Report On Torture Memos.

Based on the results of our investigation, we concluded that former Deputy AAG John Yoo committed intentional professional misconduct when he violated his duty to exercise independent legal judgment and render thorough, objective, and candid legal advice.

We found that former AAG Jay Bybee committed professional misconduct when he acted in reckless disregard of his duty to exercise independent legal judgment and render thorough, objective, and candid legal advice.

We did not fmd that the other Department officials involved in this matter committed professional misconduct in this matter.

Sadly, this is a document that looks only at whether Office of Legal Counsel staff performed according to professional standards as lawyers. Whatever their “professional responsibilities,” it is clear from even my cursory look that these government officials were participating in the justification of torture.

Notably absent are then-President Bush, Vice President Cheney, congressional leadership, CIA personnel, and members of the military who may have been complicit in our nation’s descent into barbarism in the name of their “war on terror.”

(A tip of the hat to Andrew Sullivan.)

Why we don’t make things any more

After World War II, large corporations went on acquisition binges and turned themselves into massive conglomerates. In their landmark Harvard Business Review article from 1980, “Managing Our Way to Economic Decline,” Robert Hayes and William Abernathy pointed out that the conglomerate structure forced managers to think of their firms as a collection of financial assets, where the goal was to allocate capital efficiently, rather than as makers of specific products, where the goal was to maximize quality and long-term market share.

via Upper Mismanagement | The New Republic.

Charming Tutu interview

The Guardian intervews Desmond Tutu:

“Are you going to wear that shirt?” asks Lynn Franklin, his literary agent and friend, with whom he is staying on Shelter Island, a holiday retreat in the Hamptons, New York State.

Tutu widens his eyes and opens his mouth in mock indignation. “What is wrong with this shirt?” he says, looking down at his dark blue T‑shirt.

“How about the one I ironed for you?” Franklin says.

“But this one has the logo for the World Cup,” says Tutu, pointing to the small emblem on his chest, before turning to me. “Tell your photographer not to go below the belt,” he says.

As I struggle to work out what he means by this, he gets up from the table to reveal a pair of little legs poking out of the bottom of a pair of long shorts. The cassockless figure that makes his way back through the kitchen has an air of Clark Kent about him — posing as a civilian but ready to use his powers for good. Less like a Nobel laureate than, well, your father, only on holiday.

It’s a fairly long article, and well worth the read.