Archive for Friday, January 27, 2006

Broken trust

January 27, 2006


To the editor:

This president and his administration, notwithstanding his speech at Kansas State, have compromised the democratic coherence of this country in several ways.

1. The illegal and unwarranted war in Iraq has cost 2,200 American lives, and who knows how many Iraqi lives, mostly noncombatants (estimates vary from 30,000 to 100,000). The number of gravely wounded soldiers and civilians, lives broken forever, is incalculable.

2. In this country the number of people living in poverty - the working poor and unemployed - has increased by 5 million since 2000 and from 12.5 percent to 12.7 percent of the population. Likewise the number of people without health insurance has increased by a like amount (Census Bureau and Department of Health and Human Services). Conversely, the top 1 percent of income earners now has more disposable income than the bottom 100 million. That disparity can be expected to increase with the continuation of Bush's tax cuts for the well-to-do.

3. The warrantless eavesdropping on citizens, without approval of the Congress, flouts traditional presidential powers and the checks and balances between the three branches of government. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service found that the congressional resolution passed after 9-11 did not authorize such a program and said it was unlikely that any court would approve such a program. The president may have broken the law; he certainly has broken the trust between him and many ordinary citizens.

It may be time to use the tools of citizenship to protest.


b_asinbeer 12 years, 3 months ago

Sure you can trust can trust him with a federal budget that had a surplu.....wait, no. But, you can trust him to use war as a last, my bad. Seriously, you can trust him when it comes to protecting civil liberti....whoops! Ok, one last attempt, surely we've learned throughout his presidency that he can be trusted with being a unifier, not a divid....yikes!

Now that I think about it, the person writing the letter to the editor may have a valid point....

rtwngr 12 years, 3 months ago

  1. The invasion of Iraq was not illegal and neither is seeking out terrorists wherever they live and killing them.

  2. The poverty of our nation has more to do with the giant welfare state created by Lyndon Johnson than anything our president has done.

  3. How many "ordinary" citizens do you personally know that have been wiretapped? I would also venture that an "ordinary" citizen going about everyday affairs has nothing to fear from a wiretap.

  4. The top 1% wager earners in the country pay 95% of the income tax in the country.

"I hate Bush. Bush is bad. Bush has caused all of the world's problems. Blah, blah, blah."

Speakout 12 years, 3 months ago

I agree Defender. All the time we hear support for Bush but never facts. I have asked for the facts several times. And they missed a real good point. In Bush's speach at K-State, were there any plants in the audience who would "ask a question" in support of Bush like one from Iraq.

I personally know many Iraqis and I know of NOT ONE who supports the American Invasion of their country.

While I do not support terrorism, it has always been my policy to find the "ROOT" of the problem. Terrorism didn't just start because a bunch of guys hate America. There is a deeper reason. What is it?

Becky 12 years, 3 months ago

I am not a part of the far left. I am not a part of the far right. The decesions that Bush has made for the "saftey" of our country have brought us down a road that is embaressing.

Bruce Bertsch 12 years, 3 months ago

The "top 1% pay 95% of the income tax" is not factually acurate, its the top 10%, but both are statistically irrelevant. As a percentage of actual income, the heaviest tax burden falls on what we call the "middle class"; those who have an income of under $125k but more than the poverty level +30%. The top 1% do, however, own 80% of all of the wealth of the USA. That is not insignificant and tends to show that we are becoming more like Brazil than they like us.

It is significant that the two wealthiest individuals in the US, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have both called for TAX INCREASES on the wealthy to balance the budget and to lessen the gap between the haves and the have nots. I would defy anyone to call either of them "Liberals."

Jamesaust 12 years, 3 months ago

The ILLEGAL war in Iraq?

Perhaps the author would identify the law violated?

Wealth causes poverty? seems to me the poor and the wealthy are quite equal -- each owns 100% of their own money (until the government decides to steal some, which I note it does from both groups (unequally)).

I know I don't know enough about this secret program (and neither does the author) to determine that the President's action is illegal, although I'm at a loss as to what the theory would be that would make it legal. For it to be legal, either the law somehow would not apply to the facts, or neither the Congress that passed the law nor the President that signed it had the constitutional authority to do so. To be fair, however, it is far from clear that the President has acted unconstitutionally, which is different than illegally.

b_asinbeer 12 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

If this war isn't illegal (there was no UN resolution allowing it, neither the US nor Iraq's neighbors were under any significant threat, there was no declaration of war from Congress) can you name ANY circumstances in which ANY war would not be "legal?"

Aren't warrantless searches unconstitutional? If not, what purpose does the 4th amendment serve?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

Hey rightthinker, when will we see any evidence of any actual thinking?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

I can see that thinking thing still has you stymed, RT, but keep at it, and maybe you'll get it.

"Iraq was in violation of numerous UNSC resolutions and international treaties, and had threatened both Kuwait and Syria after the Gulf War when it amassed troops on the borders of those neighbors."

And that equals authorization for a US invasion how?

"Bush, like his father in 1990, did go to Congress for authorization to use force against Iraq. "

That authorization came with a very slanted and dishonest briefing of a Congress all too willing to approve anything that made them seem "tough on terrorism, with the caveat that it be shown by BushCo to be a last resort. The obfuscation, fixing of intelligence and outright lying of BushCo in the lead up to the invasion show that it was anything but a last resort. It was all they had dreamed about for at least a decade.

"Your hero Bill Clinton never once extended that courtesy to Congress and he deployed our military more than 40 times."

Just because he's your obsession doesn't make him my hero. I think he was generally wrong in his use of force, but that can't be used as justification for BushCo to be even wronger in geometric proportions, although that makes up the bulk of all your posts.

b_asinbeer 12 years, 3 months ago

what's with all of my post removals today???? 2 already in one day? Looks like a conservative doesn't like my point of view. Didn't even say something derogatory.

cowgomoo 12 years, 3 months ago

I haven't posted very often, mainly I just lurk and read, but this LJW forum has gotten really old, really fast. I cannot fathom how so many people spend so much of their daily lives engaging in the same back and forth that can be summarized like this:

aack: You libs make me puke

spewl: Dubya is an idiot

aack: you and your ilk account for 57.75% of all greenhouse gas emmissions you *#^$& hypocrite

spewl: Show me the facts to suport that LIE!!!! moron.

aack: oh nice, resort to ad hominem when you can't retort with wit (look it up, ad hominem is really a word!) and by the way you idiot it's SUPPORT not SUPORT. What a roob.

aack: You libs make me puke

Everyone, do yourselves a favor and back away from the computer, spend time with your kids, read a book, clean the gutters...anything but this. Off to take my own advice.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

I agree with rightthinker that the issues of the day need to be discussed by average folks, and this is one place to do it.

But if you anyone does this expecting much more than entertainment from it, I think cowgomoo's admonition is a very healthy one.

Jamesaust 12 years, 3 months ago

Several questions have been asked, most of them good.

First, isn't UN authorization necessary for a war to be legal. No. While certainly UN authorization solidifies some amorphous inter-state morality of the resulting conflict (at least for some), military action does not need the UN's blessing to avoid being transformed into an illegal war. (Nor do I have any idea where anyone would get such an idea.)

Second, what war would then be illegal? (Excellent question, btw.) This is a different question that the legality of how war is waged (treatment of prisoners, civilians, etc.) When is one state criminal is engaging in war at all under international law? There are only two categories available to address this - custom and treaties (not mutually exclusive). There is very little custom against war itself, hence the constant warfare of history. Some treaty-restrictions do exist, primarily from the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the UN Charter. War, as an instrument of state policy, is illegal. Nations no longer wage war to annex territory or to gain wealth. An example of such an illegal war would be Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, or Japan's invasion of Manchuria in 1931. Also, the threat of force against the territoriality of another state or its independence is also illegal, most famously in the UN Charter. An example would be Iran's recent threat to destroy Israel, which among other things led to demands that Iran be expelled from the UN. Of course, by custom, this same principle stood behind the Nuremburg trials 1945-6 under "aggressive war."

Third (running out of space), are warrantless searches unconstitutional? Yes, if they are "unreasonable" and the government wishes to introduce the results of the search as evidence in a criminal prosecution. The question would be here: are searches made to protect national security unreasonable? Maybe, maybe not. Whatever one may think of this Administration, there isn't any evidence that these searches have been done for anything other than a proper purpose. And of course the government's purpose is not criminal prosecution but prior restraint of an aggressive attack. (Whether they are legal in their process, however, is the question where the action is. While process sounds boring, its what protects bad actors seeking bad purposes from invoking the precedent of good actors seeking good purposes. Hint: process is where the gold is buried in this story.)

bisky1 12 years, 3 months ago

hey plumber: yeah, and halliburton too, and what about new orleans and outsourcing jobs and kyoto and putting the nsa cameras in every american household and and stealing two elections in a row. phew boy now that i've said that can i be smart too?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

BushCo Gulf War, part I, (or is that Reagan/BushCo, part II? hard to keep count) did receive a stamp of approval from the UN. As with anything in law, precedent is important, and one that has been under the process of establishment is the requirement of a Security Council Resolution for a war to be "legal." In this last go-round, most of the rest of world didn't see war as necessary or desirable. BushCo Jr, chafed at such a restriction on their freedom to wage war whenever and wherever, and have been doing all they could to bypass or even destroy any independent effectiveness of the UN since taking office.

What constitutes annexation? There is no doubt that the primary reason for this invasion was Iraq's oil, and its proximity to even more oil in Iran and Saudi Arabia. One result of this war is that the US and the corporations that run it will gain or retain control of the flow of oil throughout the region. We may not be annexing their sand, but we are certainly annexing the oil that lies beneath it.

This administration has shown absolutely no ability to avoid the slippery slope of abusing any leeway to do warrantless searches. The 4th Amendment was designed particularily with leaders like this in mind.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

I think Dubya is a lovable buffoon who has unfortunately been given access to some very dangerous buttons.

The oil-for-food program had its many problems, but Saddam got much more from illegal oil sales, and multinational oil companies were neck deep in that.

Ember 12 years, 3 months ago

I suppose that it would be useless to point out that the President, any President, can declare war for 90 days without so much as a 'by your leave' from Congress. This is one of the executive powers contained within the separation of powers as outlined in the constitution. Exercising this power is by no means illegal, just very rarely done.

I suppose it would be equally useless to mention that the U.N. is nothing more than a political party, on a world-wide basis, and one that is monumentally ignored since they refuse to back up a single resolution that they issue with anything even approaching force. At the absolute most, they will issue sanctions that are about as useless as tying a tractor trailor axle around your feet before attempting to swim across the English Channel.

Repeatedly, once hte use of force has been deemed necessary by the U.N., the U.S. has taken the brunt of the offensive actions, and the brunt of the casualties. For laying down our lives just to appease their (the U.N.) bruised sense of self, we are basically spit on by nearly every single country that is a member of the U.N. at nearly every turn, and practically every single vote that the U.S. takes part in.

But, regardless of how many issues one might point out, once hte jaws of blind loathing are locked, you almost have to kill the dog to get it to let go and behave itself. It's a pointless argument, forced by dual natures to continue swirling around each other. I'm just wondering when the bowl will empty itself and we can start over again.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

The constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, and the President the power to execute a war. Subsequent Supreme Court rulings have recognized the power of the President to act in emergency situations, but that hardly applies to vanity wars such as the one in Iraq.

The UN has no standing army. It has absolutely no power to enforce anything, and with the US controlling a majority of the world's military power, it's not likely to get enforcement powers anytime soon.

There may be a few minor exceptions, but the US never takes part in UN actions that haven't been taken at the behest of and in the interest of the US (corporate power structure.)

The loathing is nowhere blinder, nor the jaws locked tighter, than that whipped up by cynical, power-hungry and greedy regimes in the US.

Ember 12 years, 3 months ago

Were you content with Saddam Hussein being in power in Iraq, given his repeated declarations of aggression against such states as Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Turkey?

We never directly sold Iraq chemical or biological weapons. None of the crates that were shipped over there contained canisters of phosgene gas, or ricin, or anthrax. They did, however, contain technology that while having an authentic use in hospitals and legitimate research, were also capable, and widely known, for being able to reconstitute various chemicals and biological agents into the previously mentioned weapons.

The man in charge of Iraq was sorely unfettered when it came to whom he could and could not talk to, despite our No-Fly zones and repeated removal of aggressive military units from those areas. Saddam has never been the quickest runner on the field, so to speak, so convincing him that you wanted to use weapon 'x' against Israel, for example, would have received a great deal of support from him.

The man funded, literally and financially, terrorism in Palestine. This fact cannot be disputed in the least, as several hundreds of seized documents show direct payment to several families that had a member commit an act of terrorism against Israel and died in the process.

That is supporting terrorism. There should be no ifs, ands, or buts about it, although there are bound to be a few that disagree with ice-cold, titanium-hard truth.

For that, and that alone, Saddam needed to be removed from power. His personal dislike for the Al Quaeda would not have permanently kept him from financing a catastrophic attack agianst the United States. He placed a bounty on the heads of American soldiers.

I guess we should just put him back in power, say 'I'm sorry', and just let him do whatever he wants. It's so obivous that he did nothing at all to warrent such a cold, heartless invasion of his homeland.

Few hundred thousand Kurds, and easily the same amount, if not more, Iranian citizens is a mere pittance. Nothing to concern ourselves about.

We used much the same philosophy with Hitler, with the appeasement concept. We see how well that worked out, now didn't we? I guess we just didn't go about it the right way and we could have succeeded in appeasing Saddam by giving him Kuwait. It was, after all, part of Iraq before the British divided the country.

So was parts of Turkey, Iran, Syria and Jordan, but that's just a minor detail. Such a non issue.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

The area is seriously screwed up, no doubt.

But this little adventure will end up costing us at least a trillion dollars. That's one million million dollars, more than 3 thousand dollars per man, woman and child in this country, and more the 40 thousand dollars for everyone in Iraq. For that kind of money, it seems to me we could have found a better way to solve this problem than we what got.

But as they say, when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. What will we smash next?

Jamesaust 12 years, 3 months ago

"Subsequent Supreme Court rulings have recognized the power of the President to act in emergency situations, but that hardly applies to vanity wars such as the one in Iraq."

I'm not sure what constitutional treatise you are working from.

Military action without a declaration of war dates to the origin of the nation. Indeed, such actions outstrip declared wars something like 100-1. The Supreme Court is not necessary "to recognize" powers already inherent in the constitution; indeed, the judiciary by its own admission is distinctly unqualified to better judge such matters than the political branches of government. Presidents do not need anyone's permission to take military action that in their SOLE judgment is necessary. Occasionally, Presidents seek the explicit endorsement of Congress, as with Iraq, but such is not a constitutional necessity (although it is politically smart - how desperate Democrats have been to attempt to find "lies" in the run-up to this war as a means to wiggle free from their endorsement of it). Congress in exercise of its own war powers can cut off funding for military action or even disband the military any time it wants (it does not so want). "Vanity wars" (whatever you might mean by that) seem to the most common military conflict in American history.

You may not approve of military action in Iraq. Fair enough as there is no shortage of things to complain about. But please do not make up bogus objections like "illegal" war.

Ember 12 years, 3 months ago

I admit that I would have liked another option, but it is the option that best suited the circumstances and involved people.

I don't like the fact that civilians have died, or that American soldiers have died, but it IS part of the job description that when you get tapped, you go where you are told to go, and that is the end of it.

Diplomacy was really not working all that well, considering that Saddam was having no problems at all in circumventing the embargos and outfitting his palaces with gold toilet seats and other such extreme luxuries while his people hovered just above starvation in many, many places.

The end result will be worth the costs, since Iraq is basically in the center of all the lands in that area, so it will be a nice focal point for mellowing the rest of the area out slightly.

Options are really nice things to have, but sometimes, brute force is the only that gets the job done. Saddam, to use your metaphor, needed to get nailed in a bad way.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

With a trillion plus bucks to spend, the options are nearly infinite. They chose to use that treasure to smash Iraq and betray the US soldiers who had entrusted their lives to the clearly bad judgement of this administration.

Ember 12 years, 3 months ago

The U.S. soldiers were in no way betrayed.

It states right in the contract, in the first half of it, that you, at any time, can and will be deployed into an armed conflict if the need arises. It's not like they rewrote the contract midstream, or tried to hide that fact from anyone.

Says the same thing in the reservist's contracts as well.

As for smashing Iraq, it was already basically dismantled. It's not like we destroyed mile after mile for no more reason than to see the pretty colors.

The U.N. only has clout with those that basically follow the rules already. Has any sanction passed by the U.N. accomplished anything but keep the secretaries there busy typing and filing? Didn't accomplish jack in Somalia, or Bosnia, or Iraq. Doesn't seem to be deterring Iran, and North Korea basically told the U.N. exactly where to store and in what position.

Yeah, they have a lot of clout... with paper manufacturers.

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