Jun 202004
 

Curious George

In Bob Woodward?s book, Bush At War, Bush is quoted as saying, ?I?m the commander?see, I do not need to explain why I say things. That?s the interesting thing about being the president.? So George Bush and Dick Cheney have set about creating the most secret administration of all time. And when they do decide to provide information, it is more apt to be false than truthful.

I have always been a person who took pride in America and choked up at the playing of the National Anthem, or felt that swelling pride on hearing America The Beautiful. Today, I?m ashamed and frightened for what we are allowing the country to become. I honestly fear for the continuation of our democracy.

The Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft cabal has, time and again, demonstrated complete contempt for the Constitution and laws of our country. Yet the American people have become so lazy and disinterested, we give them free reign to take away our rights, and believe them when they tell us it is for our security and protection. Benjamin Franklin said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."?How have we gotten here? I can?t find a good answer.

Curious GeorgeFor some reason, we Americans (and the ?liberal? media) have given these two men a complete pass on truthfulness. Even before Bush?s election to his first office, his dishonesty and disregard for the law has been evident. Bush was on the Board of Directors and the audit committee for Harken in 1989-1990. In June 1990, he sold 22,140 Harken shares at $4.00 each in a private transaction. Eight days after the sale, Harken reported a $23.2 million loss, and the share price fell to $2.37. Was there insider trading?

Bush?s entire professional career has been on failure after another, yet the rich and powerful friends of his father have continually bailed out Bush, Jr. And now, Dubbya is assuring these friends and their favors are repaid, but not by Bush, by the American people.

Dick Cheney is no better. Halliburton hired him not for his business acumen, but for his Rolodex. That has paid off handsomely for Dick and his friends at Halliburton. Without a doubt, Cheney?s old company has been handsomely rewarded. Let?s face it, if, during the Clinton administration, some former employer of Al Gore had received an $87 billion no bid contract, the republicans in Congress would have had 10 investigations and 20 special prosecutors in place before the end of the week, with more to follow.

But Cheney too has shown his contempt for the law even before becoming Vice President. When Sam Donaldson questioned Dick Cheney on ABC?s ?This Week? during the campaign, he asked Cheney, ?I?m told, and correct me if I?m wrong, that Halliburton, through subsidiary companies, was actually trying to do business in Iraq?? Cheney replied, ?No. No. I had a firm policy that we wouldn?t do anything in Iraq, even?even arrangements that were supposedly legal. What we do with respect to Iran and Libya is done through foreign subsidiaries, totally in compliance with U.S. law?Iraq?s different, but we?ve not done any business in Iraq since the sanctions [were] imposed, and I had a standing policy that I wouldn?t do that.?

While there was no follow-up from Sam Donaldson, the statement by Cheney was, in fact, a big fat lie. Later, the New York Times, quoting Halliburton vice chairman, Donald Vaughn, reported that Halliburton?s subsidiary did have ?business relations? with Iraq. After the election the Washington Post received United Nations records showing that Halliburton?s subsidiaries sol over $73million in oil production and parts to Iraq. In fact, no other company sold more to Iraq during the period of the sanctions.

Cheney once advised a White House associate, ?Principle is okay up to a certain point, but principle doesn?t do any good if you lose.?

Curious GeorgeIn keeping with this philosophy, Bush and Cheney led the U.S. into the war with Iraq based on their hunches and personal desires. Day after day we learn more about how they twisted the intelligence and blatantly lied to Congress and the American people, but for some reason there is a decided lack of indignation by the American people.

Despite their oath to uphold the Constitution, with the cooperation of the Ashcorft Justice Department, they have thrown the Constitution out the window, and hoodwink Congress into passing the Patriot Act.

In his book, Worse Than Watergate, John Dean writes that there is knowledge of some five thousand Arab American and Muslim men that have been secretly detained under the various antiterrorism initiatives. Only five (5) out of this initial roundup have been charged, and only ONE has been convicted. ?Think about it,? says Dean, ?of the more than five thousand detained (that we know about), Ashcroft has found sufficient evidence to convict only a handful in the two plus years since 9/11.?

According to a study by the Inspector General of the U.S. Justice Department, there have been numerous beatings and episodes of mistreatment. Some 650 men, ranging from teenagers to seniors are imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba?without charges, without convictions, and without access to legal counsel.

The Bill of Rights of the U. S. Constitution has always been held to apply to all ?persons? in the United States regardless of citizenship status. History has shown time and again that what our government does to others today, it will do to Americans tomorrow. And, when our government refuses to extend basic human and legal rights to citizens of other nations, we are left with no standing to demand that other nations afford any rights or considerations to our citizens.

The way Bush and Cheney convinced America to go to war would have made even Richard Nixon blanch. It is becoming more clear every day that not one shred of truthful evidence was offered to support this war, and the fact is, what intelligence and evidence was offered was usually just made up or exaggerated with the full knowledge of the Bush Whitehouse.

As much as I respect Colin Powell, his pre-war performance before the United Nations was shocking in the amount of disinformation he provided. Let?s itemize, shall we:

  • Satellite photos of ?decontamination vehicles? turned out to be water trucks.
  • The three damning audio taped conversations had one that was incorrectly translated and the other two were not verifiable.
  • The ?classified? documents found at the home of a nuclear scientist turned out to from the 1980s.
    The rocket launchers and biological warheads purportedly hidden in palm groves have never been found.
  • Powell claimed that no U-2 flights were possible and that Iraqi scientists were too frightened to talk, yet two weeks after his speechU-2s were flying over Iraq, and by early March 2003, twelve Iraqi scientists had spoken freely with U.N. Inspectors.
  • His estimated 25,000 liters of anthrax have never been found, and three weeks before his performance, U.N. Inspectors were given soil samples and witness statements verifying destruction.
    The most famous image was the videotape of an Iraqi F-1 Mirage jet spraying ?simulated anthrax.? Powell claimed that four tank
    s were missing. U.N. Inspectors say the video pre-dated the 1991 Gulf War, and the Mirage and the tanks were destroyed.
  • When Secretary Powell claimed that Iraq had produced four tons of VX nerve gas, he neglected to mention that most if of it was destroyed under U.N. Supervision. Also, British Officials say it would have degraded by 2002.
  • Powell claimed Iraq had 500 tons of chemical agents, but not one gallon has been found.
    U.N. inspectors had found no evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program as claimed by Powell, and we?ve yet to find anything to support the claim.
  • His own State Department and the U.S. Energy Department had, prior to Powell?s U.N. presentation, dismissed his claim that aluminum tubes purchased by Iraq were for uranium enrichment.
  • The U.N. had previously determined that magnets claimed by Powell to be for uranium enrichment were not of sufficient size and weight to be used for that purpose.

This is a great deal of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons that was supposed to have existed. I fail to see how we have been unable to locate any of it?but don?t be surprised if some doesn?t start showing up just before the election.

So how did we get here?

Public Law 107-243 is the legislation passed by Congress authorizing military action in Iraq. Section 2 (b) (1) and (2) requires that either before or not later than 48 hours after commencing such action, the President provide a determination to Congress that (1) further diplomatic means alone would not resolve the ?continuing threat? (meaning WMD) and (2) the military action was part of the overall response to terrorism, including dealing with those involved in ?the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Curious GeorgeBush sent his ?determination? to Congress on March 18, 2003. The law, as constituted, included an unusual number of declarations at the beginning (All the wishful ?whereas? statements that really have no meaning. Legal scholars call these clauses ?precatory? ? words of entreaty, desire, wish, and hope, with no other meaning.). Bush co-opted all of those as his determination, and declared them to be ?Congressional Findings.??

Subsequently, Bush has conceded that Saddam had no connection with 9/11?yet he continues to claim a connection between Al Quaeda and Iraq. And now, his main reason is, because he says so. Frankly, its clear that Bush lead this country to war on the basis of misleading the American people and Congress. In his book, John Dean raises this to a constitutional level. According to Dean:

?If, in fact, the President did issue false and misleading statements, engage in deception and concealment concerning a matter of such great importance to the country as the conduct of war in which thousands and thousands of Americans were killed, irrespective of how Americans now view that war, and then, in fact he has committed an offense for which he is accountable.?

Dean goes on to paraphrase James Iredell, one of the Framers of the Constitution, as having stated the proposition that the President must certainly be punishable for giving false information to the Senate. He is to regulate all intercourse with foreign powers, and it is his duty to impart to the Senate every material intelligence he receives. If it should appear that he has not given them full information, but has concealed important intelligence which he ought to have communicated, and by that means induced them to enter into measures injurious to the country in which they would not have consented to had the true state of things been disclosed to them, in this case I ask whether an impeachment for a misdemeanor would lie. Thomas Jefferson said about power and honesty, "An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens."

Cheney and Bush both talk frequently about their need to ?strengthen? the presidency even further. They believe the country’s founders planned for a strong presidency.?Nothing could be further from the truth. If they actually believe this, Americans have an even greater reason to worry about this cabal. In the May 22, 2002 New York Times, White House counsel Alberto Gonzales said, ?the framers of the Constitution, I think, intended there to be a strong presidency in order to carry out certain functions, and [President Bush] feels an obligation to leave the office in better shape than when he came in.? The actual fact is, the Framers? intention was the exact opposite. The President didn?t even have a staff until 1857. Remember, the founders were rebelling against a monarchy. The last thing? they intended was to invest extensive powers in a single individual or institution. Remember the system of checks and balances from your junior high civics class?

In 1848, President Lincoln said, ?The Founding Fathers resolved that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression [war] upon us.?

Curious GeorgeThe Bush Cheney administration, along with the lies its perpetrates on the world, is also doing its best to wrap itself in?a cloak of secrecy unparalleled in U.S. History. Patrick Henry warned, ?The liberties of the people never were nor ever will be secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.? A century and a half later when Woodrow Wilson advised that ?the only truly self-governing people is that people which discusses and interrogates its administration."

In his book, Dean says, ?It appears that Bush and Cheney will keep Americans in the dark about dilemmas facing democracy in times of catastrophic crisis; they will dumb the nation down through their official silence. So when the moment comes and terrorists surprise America with an even greater spirit-shattering attack than 9/11, Bush and Cheney will simply push aside the Constitution they have sworn to uphold, inflame public passions with tough talk to rally support (as television news runs endless loops of whatever the disaster, as if no one has seen it, while sensationalizing the event with the 24/7 coverage the terrorists so crave), and take this country to a place it has only been once. For eleven weeks during the outset of the Civil War, President Lincoln became what scholars have euphemistically called a constitutional dictator. But with terrorism it will likely not be so brief.?

Bush once quipped, ?If this were a dictatorship, it?d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I?m the dictator.?? Thomas Jefferson famously admonished: ?When the government fears the people, there is liberty; when the people fear the government, there is tyranny.?

I can only fear our current government.

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