Wednesday, November 02, 2005


A Duet on Why The American Revolutionaries Really Wanted a King.

Written, Composed, Arranged, and Performed by Bushco Torture Point Man and The Senate's Crookedest Man: David Cole not only dissects John Yoo's "The Powers of War and Peace," he leaves any pretense of the author toward intellectual honor exsanguinating on the floor. John Yoo "had a hand in virtually every major legal decision involving the U.S. response to the attacks of September 11, and at every point, so far as we know, his advice was virtually always the same -- the president can do whatever the president wants." Torture? You bet, Mr. President. Now Yoo is trying to twist young minds at Berkeley (yes, that Berkeley) Law School to the unAmerican notion that, having won a war against a monarch and having been edified by Washington's example of eschewing power, the American Revolutionaries actually wanted a king who could wage war at will. Worst of all, he pretends to be adhering to "original intent" in doing so. Cole: "The problem for originalists who believe in a strong executive and are cynical about international law is that the framers held precisely the opposite views -- they were intensely wary of executive power, and as leaders of a new and vulnerable nation, they were eager to ensure that the mutual obligations they had negotiated with other countries would be honored and enforced." Now, the only reason Yoo is able to make the argument without being universally called a loon and a fool is that since World War II, Congress has abandoned the power it used to guard so zealously. Not surprisingly, what has emerged is a presidency that increasingly resembles a monarchy. Just as the Founders feared, the power to direct the nation's resources and energies into conflicts, the power to declare who is friend and who is foe, is one of the key elements of totalitarianism. With an Executive Branch grown as powerful and convoluted as it has, that power may not even be exercised by the president This week we learned that the National Security Agency, possibly acting on its own and without presidential intent, dragged the United States into war with Vietnam. Yet it was only because the president was able to make the key decisions without close consultation with Congress that the war became as deadly as it did. Now, John Yoo's crackpot revisionism is not worth the energy expended by David Cole, nor even the far lesser energy expended by me. But what is worth the energy is a story that Rawstory is bringing forward, but whose outlines have been well-known to anyone who follows these matters: First, the imperial assertion of power to limit Congressional oversight: "Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush issued an order to the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department, and his cabinet members that severely curtailed intelligence oversight by restricting classified information to just eight members of Congress," which, not surprisingly, evolved into a political tool to evade responsibility for bad decisions: "But what was said to be an effort to protect the United States became a tool by which the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Pat Roberts (R-KS) ensured there was no serious investigation into how the administration fixed the intelligence that took the United States to war in Iraq or the fabricated documents used as evidence to do so. " This included the coverup of the Niger documents, which the US Embassy had had for three months prior. But it gets worse. Roberts became an agent of disinformation for the White House, actively engaging in attacking the CIA. An alleged Democratic document is leaked to the press: "Fox News has obtained a document believed to have been written by the Democratic staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee that outlines a strategy for exposing what it calls "the administration's dubious motives" in the lead-up to the war in Iraq." But it gets worse. Roberts may have been actively involved in the Plame matter "On July 11, 2003 - five days after former ambassador Joseph Wilson writes an article for the New York Times challenging the White House claim of Niger uranium sales to Iraq, Roberts issues a statement: 'What now concerns me most," he remarks, "is what appears to be a campaign of press leaks by the CIA in an effort to discredit the President.'" ...In July 2004, Roberts and the Senate Intelligence Committee release their long-awaited WMD report which unsurprisingly places all blame on the CIA. Roberts uses the report as an additional platform on which to further attempt to discredit both Joseph and Valerie Wilson." Make no mistake. Down the road the Republicans are leading this country lies the death of liberty. This is the nation's moment of decision. Do Americans want freedom or a king?
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