Saturday, June 18, 2011

"The man who screwed an entire country ": Berlusconi

The Economist has provided an aptly named review of Silvio Berlusconi's Prime Ministership: The man who screwed an entire country.

While they focus on his economic policies (or lack thereof), I was most stricken by this comment:
Over the years, he has been tried more than a dozen times for fraud, false accounting or bribery. His defenders claim that he has never been convicted, but this is untrue. Several cases have seen convictions, only for them to be set aside because the convoluted proceedings led to trials being timed out by a statute of limitations—at least twice because Mr Berlusconi himself changed the law.
As hard as it is to admit this, George W. Bush looked tame by comparison. When Bush pardoned Scooter Libby of obstruction of justice (without spending a day in jail), I interpreted it as a message to all of his other henchmen that they were above the law. However, the extent of Berlusconi's crimes and the length that he will go to in order to retain power makes Bush look like an amateur. With any luck, the Italians will soon reign in this would-be tyrant.

Following the Libby pardon, I suspected that the Bush administration was covering up a variety of abuses of power. None have come to light yet, and if they aren't revealed in the next few years, I'm guessing we will never have solid evidence of anything. It's possible that the Libby affair was a one-off situation; alternative, it's possible that Obama and the Democrats endorsed any secret and extra-legal activities of the Bush administration, and so they will continue to play along.

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