What kind of defense is this?

One of my favorite sci-fi series growing up was Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat. I'm not actually suggesting you go read it--it's not as good as I remember it--but the main character had an odd sense of morality. He justified his theft as providing a service to society--keeping the public thrilled, cops and insurance agents in their jobs, etc.--but he loathed killing. He considered it the ultimate immoral act, because it was too easy to drop into the never ending loop of the ends justifying the means.

I use this as an example because after reading this story, I have to ask "how many other people are in jail because the ends justified the means?"

BOSTON - A federal judge Thursday ordered the government to pay more than $101 million in the case of four men who spent decades in prison for a 1965 murder they didn't commit after the FBI withheld evidence of their innocence.

The judge called the government's defense that the FBI had no duty to get involved because it was a state case "absurd."

I'd say the defense is beyond absurd--it ought to be criminal.

This is why I cringe when I hear people make cases for actions that supposedly aspire to higher, loftier goals--because the person who's going to pay for those goals is never the one who's clamoring for it. It's never these guys who wind up bringing democracy to the Middle East. It's the guy who can't find a job outside the regular army, who can't go to college because the local schools have put in student caps so property owners can be told they're getting a tax cut.

These people may have been criminals in their own right--I certainly have no way of knowing--but they weren't guilty of the crimes they were charged with, and our chief law enforcement agency knew it and did nothing. And it doesn't matter that they were trying to take down the mob at the time--you don't do shit like that. The ends do not justify the means.

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