Thursday, January 05, 2006
I Suppose That Depends On What the Definition of "the Law of the Land" Is
The Vice President appeared at the Heritage Foundation yesterday, and shamelessly announced the following, presumably with a straight face:
But, but, but, Marty that's just it - as you know better than anyone - BushCheney is the Law of the Land. So from their view there is no lie.
Irony is lost in all of Cheney's statements. Hard to say what scenario might be worse: that Cheney doesn't believe what he says and cynically says it anyway. Or he believes every word.
In the affirmative view, and apart from addressing the question of veracity of the VP cited by ML, above, the best I could allot the administration as a field in which to explain would be that stern zone of an anxious congress; which is to say: I would allow that the administration was so freightened that it grabbed for the resources immediately available to counter the event at 9-11, namely all the ungentlemanly things Marty cites, egregiously illegal policies and execution of those policies. So, while, yes, this is abuse beyond framing, there needs to be a middle zone upon which the administration can correct course, and then emerge still leading.
One of the eloquent underpinnings of totalitarian command is its efficiency until its moral corruption utterly wrecks the entire edifice. So, yes, we need to halt the four-year disregard for the FISA process; and the president must hear from brilliant jurists and legal scholars that it is time to return the executive scimitar to scabbard sufficiently to let constitutional law restore order to the land. The universities are always the first to recognize the disruptiveness. Vast masses of citizens understand little about how much is vitiated already. I have suggested to sundry advisors a sociologic view of what precipitated the chaos into which breach a unilateralist executive easily could step. Yet, politics is mere approximation and calculation. Let us hope the current crisis among constitutional scholars will generate the impetus for developing safeguards in the many areas which need shoring up as the backwash of the lawless measures employed ebbs. JB does us all a favor to sustain this thoughtful dialog.
"Our duty to uphold the law of the land admits no exceptions in wartime."
My rereadrereadreread alarm stuck here.
This is no lie.
This is easily deconstructible, obfuscative, weasel-wording that reveals precisely wot is up.
He said, "He said, "We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them.""
Our principles. No lie there either. Impossible to dispute.
"Geneva principles"... are simply inapposite.
Right out there, face up on the table.
That's the meat of it, as far as I can discern.
If all it takes is to say you've never broken a law to get away with doing so, what boundry is too tall to leap? If you have in your mind a notion of those laws and principles which supercede others, how easy would it be to simply point out that the 12th and 22nd amendments are superceded by the need to protect the citizenry in a 'crisis' or time of war? To me, its not that big a deal that DC can make such statements with a straight face, after all he's a successfull politician - that's what he does.
The itch in my mind is the blunt nature of the rational being used to bend the constitution by the current executive. Statements such as 'It's my job', 'Everything I can do to protect', 'save lives', and so forth look to be mottos so effective in their ability to selectively diminish the value of our laws and principles that not much can counter them.
Two Comments --
1) Also of interest...
Christopher S. Kelley, RETHINKING PRESIDENTIAL POWER - THE UNITARY EXECUTIVE AND THE GEORGE W. BUSH PRESIDENCY, paper prepared for the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association (April 2005); available *HERE*.
(Dr. Kelley did his PhD disertation on this topic.)
2) I strongly concur with your observations concerning Geneva Common Article 3, and you've zeroed in on an important point here that I've tried to bring out in my amicus efforts IRT the Guantanamo detainees.
The 2002.02.07 Bush memo on "Humane Treatment of Taliban and al Qaeda Detainees" states:
"I hereby reaffirm the order previously issued by the secretary of defense to the United States Armed Forces requiring that the detainees be treated humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva."
That assertion is an obvious fraud. Military necessity has an exact meaning in the law of war - here's the entry from the DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms:
"military necessity (DOD, NATO) The principle whereby a belligerent has the right to apply any measures which are required to bring about the successful conclusion of a military operation and which are not forbidden by the laws of war."
But the laws of war absolutely forbid attacks on persons or places who are out of action / undefended -- no such attack could ever be lawful. Hence, the Bush memo is literally saying that we will obey Geneva except when we violate Geneva.
Further the word necessity has a meaning, both in ordinary usage and in law, and that meaning is NOT "whatever someone thinks is a good idea. There is a distinction between prudence and necessity, and the only real necessity here is to remove these criminals from the offices they have disgraced forthwith and see to it that every last one of them is prosecuted to the full exent of the law for their CRIMES.
PS: Keep up the great work Marty!
The waterboard is used in US POW training. If it can be used there, its probably not torture. I went through it and it scared the S**t out of me, but better to learn there and be better prepared in real combat..........
Skippy-san, if that's true, it proves nothing. If you signed up for the military, you're not a prisoner, and you're not subject to "POW training" every single day for some unknown number of months or years. Similarly, there are things that some perfectly happy people here in San Francisco like to do to each other by mutual consent that, if you were kidnapped and subjected to against your will, would damn well be torture.Post a Comment