Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Call It What It Is -- Witch-Hunts

President Obama flip-flopped yesterday. He had promised there would be no legal actions taken on the previous administration, but to satisfy the fever-swamp on the Left he has reversed himself. To be fair, he has left the decision as to who should be prosecuted in the hands of Attorney General Eric Holder, but that does not give us much hope on this issue. Joseph McCarthy did something very much like this back in the 1950s, and while his witch-hunt was more than warranted, and hardly involved actual prosecution this one will, and it is unconstitutional on it's face:

President Barack Obama turned heads Tuesday by abruptly warming to the idea of a war-on-terror “truth commission” and by opening the door to prosecution of Bush administration lawyers and senior officials. ...

For weeks, White House aides have been deflecting questions about a commission by saying the president wanted to look forward, not backwards. So Obama took reporters by surprise when he suddenly signaled openness to a commission during an Oval Office press availability with King Abdullah of Jordan.

“If and when there needs to be a fuller accounting of what took place during this period, I think for Congress to examine ways that it can be done in a bipartisan fashion, outside of the typical hearing process that can sometimes break down and break entirely along party lines, ... that would probably be a more sensible approach to take,” Obama said in response to a question. ...

Gibbs faced a barrage of far more skeptical questions from reporters about Obama’s statement that while he has promised not to prosecute Central Intelligence Agency interrogators who relied on official legal advice, that amnesty does not extend to those who drafted the legal opinions authorizing the harsh interrogation tactics.

“I would say that that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws, and I don't want to prejudge that. I think that there are a host of very complicated issues involved there,” the president said.

Let me remind readers why this is unprecedented, and make no mistake it is unconstitutional:

"The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States ..."

On September 18, 2001 Congress passed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists. It was enacted in the wake of the September 11th attacks, and authorized our invasion of Afghanistan. On December 16, 2002 Congress passed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. What these two resolutions mean is that at that time, and continuing today, we went to war. We are at war. The president is the commander-in-chief and when he issues orders those orders are to be followed. The president consults with his advisers, both legal and policy advisers, to ensure he is taking the right and legal course of action.

What Eric Holder is being asked to consider is whether or not the advisers broke the law. As I said above this is unprecedented because in 232 years a current administration has NEVER gone after a preceding administration. It has always been determined by constitutional scholars that those who serve at the behest of the president, especially in wartime, that those people are absolved from prosecution unless they actually break a law.

Waterboarding has never been made illegal in the United States, and it is not as if Congress has never had the opportunity to do this. Andrew McCarthy said as much yesterday in an interview conducted by Hugh Hewitt. He even cited that the issue was discussed by the Congress with the Military Commissions Act of 2006 but that the Congress "ducked it" then. So how can one be prosecuted for something that is, in fact, legal? That would be akin to someone being prosecuted for owning a firearm when owning one is quite legal.

The unconstitutionality comes in the fact that these people carried out the commander-in-chief's orders. When this nation goes to war, the president is afforded an considerable degree of leeway. While there may be critics of this argument that pull out the Nazis-claimed-they-were-just-following-orders straw man, the Nazis were committing war crimes. The Bush administration, and it's officials and advisers, were not. Nothing that they did could be considered a war crime.

There will be those that get all huffy and puffy over the various lies peddled by groups like ANSWER or Human Rights Watch, both of which have claimed the Bush administration committed war crimes, but there is no proof of them occurring. In fact, the most recent prosecution to take place was with the Haditha Marines. The charges on all but one Marine were dropped. The lone exception is Staff Sgt Frank Wuterich, whose trial has been postponed. And that, by the way, was the last war crimes allegation leveled by the fever-swamp on the Left. All others that they have crowed about have been refuted. They claim that our enhanced interrogation techniques are cruel and abusive to the detainees. But they fail to understand that people like John Yoo, a well-respected lawyer, constitutional scholar, and one of the men who helped fashion the Bush administration's interrogation techniques legality, abided not only by enacted US law and the Constitution, but by the Geneva Convention as well. The administration fashioned a policy that was legal and just.

The fever-swamp believes that the detainees we have taken as prisoners deserve extra rights akin to our own. They do not. I understand that the United States Supreme Court has ruled otherwise, but they are wrong. In each of their decisions regarding detainees, the high court has extended to the detainees rights that have never been bestowed on an enemy combatant in this nation's history. It is as dangerous a precedent as these prosecutions of Bush administration officials that the attorney general will make a decision on.

This should not be allowed to happen. The Supreme Court needs to come out, deny the attorney general and the White House the power to do this, and cite the reason why. It is a violation of Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution. It is questioning -- virtually trumping -- the powers enumerated and guaranteed to the President of the United States in wartime. If allowed to proceed, not only will this precedent make those powers questionable, but it would allow subsequent administrations to conduct their own witch-hunts on perceived illegalities. This is not what the Framers envisioned. It is 100% contrary to their thoughts. President Barack Obama, in commissioning Attorney General Eric Holder to decide who will be prosecuted, is directly violating the Constitution, and the Supreme Court needs to act.



Anonymous Cannoneer No. 4 said...

If the Obama regime successfully prosecutes and imprisons anybody from the Bush administration, that's pretty much the end of the Republic. The Obama regime will never be able to safely relinquish power after that, lest the same thing be done to them.

What anglophones once called "The Loyal Opposition" will truly become "The Chief Enemies," and American politics will become a very bloddy blodd sport indeed.

April 22, 2009 at 11:59 AM  

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