Whenever I have gotten too depressed about what has happened to this country these past few years, it helps to recall that almost all the abuses of decency, justice and transparency under the Bush administration have been exposed by many decent, professional individuals within the government itself. For every Geoffrey Miller, there has been an Ian Fishback. For every David Addington, there has been a Jack Goldsmith. And there have been some surprises: three cheers for John Ashcroft, for example, a man I often derided, but whose integrity has shone brightly under the more exacting light of history.

Many of those resisting what has gone on have been conservatives in the best sense of the word: good public servants dedicated to the rule of law. I hate to cite Bill Clinton, but he did put it best: almost everything that's wrong with America can be fixed by what's right in America. Among these: the career military lawyers, the JAGs, and the military judges at Gitmo and elsewhere who have often fought the injustice and inhumanity sanctioned by Bush and Cheney under circumstances far more onerous than some well-paid blogger. Here's a quote Scott Horton found from a Gitmo judge, criticizing the kangaroo courts that Cheney and Rumsfeld constructed for terror suspects:

The members of al-Qaeda may or may not 'deserve' trials in a time-tested and jurisprudentially sound forum. However, the world-respected reputation of United States criminal courts has not been built nor maintained for the benefit of any evil person . . . The use of an established court system at this critical time should not be viewed as an action on behalf of accused terrorists, but rather as a representation to needed international partners that the course of our ship of state is steady, and properly charted for the rough waters ahead.

Know hope.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to