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Columnist
From sea to oily sea: Off with their heads!
By Chuck Goudie | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 6/21/2010 12:01 AM

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Rod Blagojevich is guilty.

So is Jon Burge, accused police torturer.

Let's just set up some TV cameras and parade them into the federal lockup right now!

And Drew Peterson, he's guilty, too. Forget about his trial next month on charges he killed his third wife. Keep him in prison!

Why should they be treated any differently than Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP?

Mr. Hayward, of course, is the buffoon atop BP, whose company's deep water oil wells have fouled the Gulf of Mexico.

After weeks of decided inaction by the administration and Congress, BP CEO Hayward has been marshaled to Washington, browbeaten and prosecuted by President Obama, convicted by a bulging-in-the-middle bandwagon of Congresscreatures and then castigated and castrated by bloggers, i-newsies and legit media.

From sea to oily sea, the sentence has been passed: Off with his head!

Mr. Hayward's apparent reduction in executive power by BP is the only merciful act there has been.

But where is the justice in all this?

What in the United States Constitution gives President Obama the right to summon a business executive to the White House and kick his behind? Where in the government's EPA regulations does it say "the president may act as judge and jury when dealing with any oil company that springs a leak in the ocean?"

What is it in federal forfeiture laws that permits a president to personally extract billions of dollars from any scoundrel, American or not, to pay for current and future environmental and business damages?

Please don't construe any of this as a vote of approval or support for BP (of which I have never been a shareholder,) its corporate methods or practices or the shameful, tragically comedic behavior of its tousled executives, especially Mr. Hayward.

If there is a cause of action, he and they should be charged, sued, prosecuted, fined and/or imprisoned after legal proceedings that would follow certain rules and allow a vigorous defense.

This country IS affording those basic rights to dozens of accused terrorists, foreigners just like the BP boss, including the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Whether you agree with the position or not, the U.S. government has followed the rules in indicting and preparing to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other declared foreign terrorists.

Can you imagine the hooting and howling from ACLU lawyers if a bleary-eyed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were to be trotted into the Oval Office and sucker-punched by Barack Obama? He would then be dragged to Capitol Hill in manacles and forced to endure the scowls and grandstanding by members of Congress.

Think of the outcry if a terrorist testifying before a Congressional subcommittee were to be told to just commit suicide, as Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, a Louisiana Republican, told BP's Hayward.

No, the kill-America terrorists will have their days in American courts as justice requires.

The hapless businessman will just have his day in hell, sentence imposed immediately.

Yesterday, as we fathers feasted on perhaps the final Gulf snapper that we'll ever savor, Hayward was roasted for his presence at a yachting race off the coast of England. How dare him! Let's hang him twice!

The yachting festival appearance by Hayward drew the ire of assistant White House Chief Prosecutor of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who concluded that it was "part of a long line of PR gaffes and mistakes."

Obviously the damage to Gulf waters is great and the level of mishandling - and possible misconduct - has been outrageous.

But that is why we have civil and criminal due process. Ironically, it is why we are able to celebrate next week's holiday on July Fourth.

The parades, feasts and fireworks are to remember our bloody war against Tony Hayward's homeland 240 years ago. It was a war to make sure we never again bowed to tyrants.

Today, the Rule of Law that underpinned our Revolution is coming undone.

• Chuck Goudie, whose column appears each Monday, is the chief investigative reporter at ABC 7 News in Chicago. The views in this column are his own and not those of WLS-TV. He can be reached by e-mail at chuckgoudie@gmail.com and followed at twitter.com/ChuckGoudie