“War Exception”-Assassination by Accusation
Below is a post titled : “Death by Accusation.” The title probably should have been: Assassination by Accusation. The following is an addendum to that article by the same author. I’ve attached an excerpt, but the whole article is worth reading and considering.
Anyone with a clear understanding of conflict and war knows that military might with the inherent threat to annihilate the earth is no guarantee of victory. Yet America is going broke morally, ethically, legally, and financially by continuing to fight a war based upon lies and no legal, might I say legitimate constitutional
basis. War is about will. Illegitimate corruption degrades or disempowers the will. The so-called terrorists at 9/11 attacked an illegitimate government with the intent to attack this country at its weakest point — WILL.
The fact is, America’s response was and is “by the numbers.” This issue defines our destruction – the sickness from within. Here’s what Mr. Greenwald says:
BY GLENN GREENWALD
Far beyond the specific injustices of assassinating Americans without trials, the real significance, the real danger, is that we continue to be frightened into radically altering our system of government. In Slateyesterday, Dahlia Lithwick encapsulated this problem perfectly; her whole article should be read, but this excerpt is superb:
America has slid back again into its own special brand of terrorism-derangement syndrome. Each time this condition recurs, it presents with more acute and puzzling symptoms. . . .
Moreover, each time Republicans go to their terrorism crazy-place, they go just a little bit farther than they did the last time, so that things that made us feel safe last year make us feel vulnerable today. . . . In short, what was once tough on terror is now soft on terror. And each time the Republicans move their own crazy-place goal posts, the Obama administration moves right along with them. . . .
We’re terrified when a terror attack happens, and we’re also terrified when it’s thwarted. We’re terrified when we give terrorists trials, and we’re terrified when we warehouse them at Guantanamo without trials. If a terrorist cooperates without being tortured we complain about how much more he would have cooperated if he hadn’t been read his rights. No matter how tough we’ve been on terror, we will never feel safe enough to ask for fewer safeguards. . . .
But here’s the paradox: It’s not a terrorist’s time bomb that’s ticking. It’s us. Since 9/11, we have become ever more willing to suspend basic protections and more contemptuous of American traditions and institutions. The failed Christmas bombing and its political aftermath have revealed that the terrorists have changed very little in the eight-plus years since the World Trade Center fell. What’s changing — what’s slowly ticking its way down to zero — is our own certainty that we can never be safe enough and our own confidence in the rule of law.
This descent has certainly not reversed itself — it has not really even slowed — with the election of a President who repeatedly vowed to reject this mentality. Just consider what Al Gore said in his truly excellent 2006 speech decrying the “Constitutional crisis” under the Bush presidency:
Can it be true that any president really has such powers under our Constitution?
If the answer is yes, then under the theory by which these acts are committed, are there any acts that can on their face be prohibited?
If the president has the inherent authority to eavesdrop on American citizens without a warrant, imprison American citizens on his own declaration, kidnap and torture, then what can’t he do?
Here we are, almost four years later with a new party in power, and the President’s top intelligence official announces — without any real controversy — that the President claims the power to assassinate American citizens with no charges, no trials, no judicial oversight of any kind. The claimed power isn’t “inherent” — it’s based on alleged Congressional approval — but it’s safeguard-free and due-process-free just the same. As Gore asked of less severe policies in 2006, if the President can do that, “then what can’t he do?” As long as we stay petrified of the Terrorists and wholly submissive whenever the word “war” is uttered, the answer will continue to be: “nothing.” We’ll have Presidents now and then who are marginally more restrained than others — as the current President is marginally more restrained than the prior one — but what Lithwick calls our “willingness to suspend basic protections and become more contemptuous of American traditions and institutions” will continue unabated.
In the real world, America has already lost the “war” by becoming what it is fighting.
ADDENDUM :: Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Democracy Now interviewed Rep. Dennis Kucinich and blogger and attorney Glenn Greenwald. Dennis Kucinich affirms the legal protections granted all American citizens and wants to know by what authority The President of the United States can murder an American citizen on his say-so alone. Dennis Kucinich’s most distressing comment regarding legal justification had to do with presidential declarations “declaring three states of national emergency,” “one relating to 9/11, another one relating to the war on terror, and a third one relating to Iran.”
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, Congress has the authority, under a joint resolution, to challenge any presidential directive. It’s not widely known, Amy, but there are at least three states of national emergency that we’re operating under right now by presidential declaration: one relating to 9/11, another one relating to the war on terror, and a third one relating to Iran. You know, this idea of being governed by an edict, of being locked into this war on terror, poses all kinds of challenges to our Constitution. I take an oath to defend the Constitution. And when I see in the Fifth Amendment where it says that no one should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, I want to know what’s the constitutional basis for suspending this provision for anyone, even for a moment, because if this is—if this, in any sense, can be set aside, then we are on a slippery slope to anti-democracy.
Kucinich points out why this should be important to all American citizens no matter where they live:
***** And what’s happened is that the Constitution is being vitiated here. The idea that people are—have—if their life is in jeopardy, legally have due process of law, is thrown out the window.
And, Amy, when you consider that there are people who are claiming there are many terrorist cells in the United States, it doesn’t take too much of a stretch to imagine that this policy could easily be transferred to citizens in this country. That doesn’t—that only compounds what I think is a slow and steady detachment from core constitutional principles. And once that happens, we have a country then that loses its memory and its soul, with respect to being disconnected from those core constitutional principles which are the basis of freedom in our society.
If you consider the possibility that this, the destruction of America’s soul, was the real target on 9/11, then you would have admit they’ve rather successful.