Since it's America's birthday, why not bring up something related to the nation's oldest friend/fiend (depending on whom you believe)? Take it away, DSK!
At Slate, William Saletan says that the revelations about Dominique Strauss-Kahn's accuser that have seen print in The New York Times signal not simply the end of the case against the former head of the International Monetary Fund and possible contender for France's presidency but show that the American justice system is in good shape:
On Friday, I still thought Strauss-Kahn was guilty. Today, I don't…
The unraveling of the Strauss-Kahn prosecution is a victory for justice, because investigators found ways to check the accuser's credibility. Other accusers will pass such tests. This one didn't. What the c
ollapse of this case proves is that it's possible to distinguish true rape accusations from false ones—and that the government, having staked its reputation on an accuser's credibility, diligently investigated her and disclosed her lies. The system worked.
None of this would have been possible without the layers of electronic surveillance and record-keeping—card keys, phone taps, tax returns, public housing forms, bank and billing data—that pervade our lives. We often complain that these devices and databases impinge on our freedom. Today, they have given a man his freedom. And they have given all of us hope that even when only two people were in the room, we can find ways to ascertain who's telling the truth.
Over at National Review's The Corner, Victor Davis Hanson argues that even if the maid's testimony of a forced sexual encounter is shown to be a tissue of lies,
what bothered most observers still remains:
First, we were given a rare glimpse of the otherwise discreet lifestyle of an aristocratic socialist, and we learned that the life he practices in no way approximates the ideology of equality of result that he embraces. Second, European lectures about power imbalances, the corrupting influence of money and privilege, etc., do not exactly square with quickie sexual acts — even if mutually consensual, or paid for — in a luxury hotel room with a randomly met West African immigrant maid.
Third, we assume that the most powerful men on the planet, whether governors of New York and California, the president of the United States, or the head of the International Monetary Fund, have an obligation not to let their private lives intrude into their public ones, by reckless sexual behavior of the sort that lessens respect for the office and questions their judgement to such a degree that it affects the lives of those they are pledged to serve.
If the preponderance of evidence in the accuser's past soon undermines her credibility to such an extent that her word cannot be used against Strauss-Kahn, then we will still be left with a controversy. It will simply be a matter, not of legality, but of Strauss-Kahn's judgement, morality, and hypocrisy — as is usually the case in high-profile sexual scandals.
VDH's point goes to DSK's highest-profile preemptive defender, of course, BHL (AKA Bernard Henri-Levy), who dismissed out of hand the testimony of a mere "chambermaid" and a French journalist who accused DSK of attacking her when she was 22 years old. At best, DSK will have to cop to either paying for sex or, as Hanson points out, "that a young maid he just met was quite willing, in ad hoc fashion in a few minutes between work, to have sex with an older, plump foreign stranger." Either reality puts the lie to the idea that, as defender-of-Polanski BHL waxed like a Brazilian supermodel, that his pal was "…charming, seductive, yes, certainly; a friend to women and, first of all, to his own woman, naturally."