Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made this politically illuminating response to the suggestions that the Guantanamo Bay prison camp be disbanded because of the abuse of prisoners there:
"The real problem is not Guantanamo Bay. The problem is that, to a large extent, we are in unexplored territory with this unconventional and complex struggle against extremism. Traditional doctrines covering criminals and military prisoners do not apply well enough."
As a matter of fact, there is nothing new about Rumsfeld's justification of lawlessness in "exceptional" situations.
On December 12, 1942, Hitler remarked, "Lawyers cannot understand that in exceptional times new laws become valid."
A few days before, on December 1, 1942, Hitler drummed out these words: "This has to be hammered into everyone's head, whatever leads to success is right in the conduct of anti-guerilla operations. That's the point of departure. If someone does something not exactly in accordance with regulations, but achieves complete success, or if someone is is faced with an emergency he can deal with in the most brutal way, he's entitled to use any measure that promises success. The goal must be the total annhilation of these gangs and the restoration of order."
Of course it is politically incorrect to compare Hitler with Rumsfeld or President Bush. The comparison to be made is not of persons, but of similar policies. The Anglo-Saxon-American neoconservative fraction dominating the United States derives its way of thinking from the "New Conservatives" of Germany. We have elsewhere traced the general approach of the Bush administration to certain tenets set forth by Carl Schmitt, the doctor of jurisprudence who justified Hitler's indefinite suspension of the Weimar constitution.
Lawlessness is the modus operandi of criminals, terrorists, and tyrants. Not only is the written law to be set aside in exigencies, the morality from which it evolves is dispensed with.
Other than the deployment of weapons and genitalia, and the ownership of the womb, the neoconservative fraction is in effect amoral. It is immoral as well if morality has anything to do with the greater good of society. That is why neoconservatives are referred to by students of history as "pseudoconservatives."