Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Why this Election Matters Hiding under the wall-to-wall coverage of the death of St. Ronny of Cocoa Puffs is a quite serious story, the pictures of Abu Ghraib have woken up the major print media of this country for the first time in the Bush Administration. Finally, the outright dishonesty and depravity of Bush's blatant torture policy are being exposed and the lies with it, per the Washington Post.
This week, thanks again to an independent press, we have begun to learn the deeply disturbing truth about the legal opinions that the Pentagon and the Justice Department seek to keep secret. According to copies leaked to several newspapers, they lay out a shocking and immoral set of justifications for torture. In a paper prepared last year under the direction of the Defense Department's chief counsel, and first disclosed by the Wall Street Journal, the president of the United States was declared empowered to disregard U.S. and international law and order the torture of foreign prisoners.
Calling Bush the "Chimperor" is more than just a clever nickname (who first called him that is unknown, but it wasn't me). But there is truth in its fashion. The attempt to enable a President to circumvent United States and International law is NOT the action of a Constitutional President, but the act of a Dictator. "L’État c’est Moi" is not an overt policy an American should be confortable with. As the Washington Post continues to say in its editorial:
There is no justification, legal or moral, for the judgments made by Mr. Bush's political appointees at the Justice and Defense departments. Theirs is the logic of criminal regimes, of dictatorships around the world that sanction torture on grounds of "national security." For decades the U.S. government has waged diplomatic campaigns against such outlaw governments -- from the military juntas in Argentina and Chile to the current autocracies in Islamic countries such as Algeria and Uzbekistan -- that claim torture is justified when used to combat terrorism.
In another story within the Paper (on F-ing page 3 because of the patron saint of telepromptery's demise) Mike Allen and Dana Priest report:
The August 2002 memo from the Justice Department concluded that laws outlawing torture do not bind Bush because of his constitutional authority to conduct a military campaign. "As Commander in Chief, the President has the constitutional authority to order interrogations of enemy combatants to gain intelligence information concerning the military plans of the enemy," said the memo, obtained by The Washington Post. Critics say that this misstates the law, and that it ignores key legal decisions, such as the landmark 1952 Supreme Court ruling in Youngstown Steel and Tube Co v. Sawyer, which said that the president, even in wartime, must abide by established U.S. laws.
In its bare essence, the election is whether in the name of the "War on Terror" the American Government remains, quintessentially American, or whether we just drop the pretense and move on to become Singapore. To vote for Bush, ratifies such conduct.
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