Unaccountable

predatornationFrom Predator Nation (2012) by Charles H. Ferguson:

Many books have already been written about the financial crisis, but there are two reasons why I decided that it was still important to write this one.

The first reason is that the bad guys got away with it, and there has been stunningly little public debate about this fact. When I received the Oscar for best documentary in 2011, I said: “Three years aftera horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail. And that’s wrong.” When asked afterward about the absence of prosecution, senior Obama administration officials gave evasive nonanswers, suggesting that nothing illegal occurred, or that investigations were continuing. None of the major Republican presidential candidates have raised the issue at all.

As of early 2012 there has still not been a single criminal prosecution of a senior financial executive related to the financial crisis. Nor has there been any serious attempt by the federal government to use civil suits, asset seizures, or restraining orders to extract fines or restitution from the people responsible for plunging the world economy into recession. This is not because we have no evidence of criminal behavior. Since the release of my film, a large amount of new material has emerged, especially from private lawsuits, that reveals, through e-mail trails and other evidence, that many bankers, including senior management, knew exactly what was going on, and that it was highly fraudulent.

americaswarFrom America’s War for the Greater Middle East (2016) by Andrew J. Bacevich:

In the performance of their most fundamental mission — defending the homeland — the Bush administration and the world’s largest and ostensibly most sophisticated national security apparatus failed utterly. Yet curiously, in the wake of that failure, not one U.S. official of any rank lost his or her job. No one was reprimanded or demoted. Rallying around the flag and getting on with the business at hand too precedence over fixing accountability.

Was it fair after December 1941 to single out Admiral Husband Kimmel and Lieutenant General Walter Short as personally responsible for the disaster at Pearl Harbor? Probably not. Yet firing these two senior officers and reducing them in rank served at least to acknowledge that an unacceptable failure of leadership had occurred. From the outset of America’s War for the Greater Middle East, the cabinet secretaries and four-star military officers charged with formulating and implementing national security policy had remained largely exempt from accountability — the arbitrary firing of defense secretary Aspin after Mogadishu being the exception that proved the rule. Remarkably, that practice survived the events of 9/11. So those who failed to anticipate or prevent the worst ever direct attack on American soil stayed on the job, if anything accruing even greater authority as the officials to whom the public now turned to “keep America safe.”

 

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