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Monday, June 23, 2014

The Constitutional Disconnect Over Anwar al-Awlaki (part II)

Under the Freedom of Information Act, although the all-important reasoning behind the decision is still redacted, most of the memo associated with president Obama's order of the drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Muslim extremist and U.S. citizen, has been released.

We now know that it was a person named David Baron, then the acting head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Council. HE is the one who concluded that killing al-Awlaki would be legal for the U.S. government to carry out based on the conclusion that al-Awlaki's citizenship did not protect him from the use of force abroad. Mr. Barron was assisted by another lawyer for the Justice Department, a Mr. Martin Lederman. We only hear their names now because they are just a small part of the vast unelected nameless-faceless hive of bureaucracy that is writing law over the citizens of this country.

Now they are passing death sentences and we didn't even know it until now.

Neither of these people were judges. They were lawyers, lawyers attempting to justify the lawlessness of the actions of their President and their government.

Both the 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution address the right of a U.S. Citizen to the Due Process of law. In a nutshell: If an individual is facing the lose of his life, liberty or property, the law of the land requires that individual receive notice, representation, a hearing and most importantly, to be judged.

So there we have it. Mr. Baron, Mr. Lederman and Mr. Obama: Judge, Jury and Executioner. All done with the sweep of a pen. No hearing, no jury and no lawful judge.

Killing Anwar al-Awlaki going on three years ago was an unlawful act and has set a dangerous precedent for U.S. citizens tomorrow.

It is now PROVEN that our leaders had abandoned the founding principles of their Country, their Constitution and their Faith in a desperate attempt to reverse the the rise of opposition to and the impending collapse of our despotic and destabilizing interventions into the affairs of sovereign nations in the Middle East.

It has all proven to be false and useless in the long run.

(original text below - originally published March 5th, 2013)

"I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.” - Rand Paul

My copy of the U.S. Constitution makes no distinction where an American citizen may be whether it be on American soil or in Yemen, they are still entitled to the same protection under the law.

Everybody applauded when a drone strike killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American Citizen, in Yemen without any due process of law. Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry, all expressed praise for Obama’s drone strike on what actually turned out to be the U.S. Bill of Rights.

President Obama signed an order in 2010 that put al-Awlaki on the governments “Kill or Capture” list but the President had no Constitutional authority or legal precedent to sign such an order. He just ordered it and almost everybody in Congress, went along with it.

It was also said many times by the so called right wing television and radio wags that al-Awlaki had forfeited his rights under the Constitution by taking up arms against the United States. No he didn't, he couldn't. But the comfortably established, well paid and certainly well fed public face of American Conservative thought had NO PROBLEM with the killing of al-Awlaki and openly said so.

And here we are.

So with the announcement by The Government that these very same drones are going to be deployed right here in the good old US of A and whoa, NOW it’s a problem!

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, that figurehead for the Department of Justice, has sent a letter to U.S. Senator Rand Paul stating that he can see a legal justification where these drones could be brought to bear upon other American Citizens right here on U.S. soil. Well what did you expect?

But how can they do such a thing? We are American Citizens, what gives them the right? Gee, let’s think about that one, shall we?

You can't pick and choose which part of the Bill of Rights you wish to believe in and when you wish to believe in it. You take them as a whole or you take none of them. It's a document for all U.S. Citizens and not just a few. And good deeds, like nice speech, needs no Constitutional protection.

But that didn’t give pause to the people who are now suddenly outraged about the deployment of drones on the North American continent. They see no connection between the death of al-Awlaki and the possible use of drones in the U.S. for the very same reason.

It's this kind of Wrong Thinking that has fostered the erosion of our civil rights and emboldened Government to reach for more power. What if the government now declares a certain person or group of people to be in "Revolt"? Who shall be the next to forfeit their rights by opposing Government?

But don't worry; it can't happen here, right?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Iraq Is George W. Bush's Middle East War

Just like the first one, the second Iraq War was a war that should never have been fought.

And just like in the Vietnam War, we knew from the start of it that the locals were not going to fight. The only difference between Vietnam and Iraq was that the reports of the South Vietnamese' lack of stomach for their civil war with the north were suppressed and kept from the American people at the time and only came out long after. In Iraq the reports were public right away. 

There is a huge chasm between what some Iraqi factions said they wanted and what they were willing to fight for. The United States started training the local defense force ten years ago and here they are; a group that has no will to defend its current government. This is also a reflection of how they view this government which was funded and set up by foreign hands and was more interested in favors and exclusion than building a new government. They certainly don’t feel a loyalty to it or are willing to die to defend it.

This is no surprise. Who didn't know that as soon as the United States stepped out for a cup of coffee, the whole country would go to the other side? All those young lives, all those resources earned by the American people and that were taken from their pockets to support the war and all this time WASTED. And we KNEW it from the beginning. This is the biggest sin of the crime of Iraq Wars: All that wishful thinking. 

Trying to pin this result on Obama is just rhetoric. Since the president didn't keep the money spigot on and "do what it takes" to continue to send our best to Iraq for ANOTHER ten years the inevitable failure in Iraq has been his doing? Even though it took him six years after he made his campaign promise to end the Iraq war, Obama did promise to end the Iraq war as a tenant of his first presidential campaign. The President was hammered for his delay and now he is being hammered for not continuing. You can't have it both ways even when the president is a flaming Marxist. 

This is the Industrial military complex coming to the fore to make their bought and paid for Republocrats in the government jump up and yell "Foul".

It is these long and wasteful wars; Afghanistan 10/2001 and Iraq 03/2003, wars never ending, that are the reason the Republican Party lost the White House and that the current regime is now is in control of the country. The GOP was all in on going into Iraq again and are the ones to blame for this and with everyone there at the time the blame should remain. 

We are a nation in denial

The Iraq Wars were not about winning, they were all about the money. If they were about winning, neither of them would have lasted more than two years and not three times longer than it took to fight WWII.

And talk about deceit. First there was the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that nobody actually believed had existed and, of course, were never found. Once Saddam Hussein’s regime had fallen it was then about “Nation Building” which is what we do after we knock down a country. But the country wasn't actually knocked down and City-States aren't made, they form organically over time. A long, long time. And since we were spending millions of dollars A DAY in Iraq, time was something we never really had.


This term has taken on new meaning among the warmongers in government. The people tied to the BIG Business of arms manufacture in the United States. We make the BEST, most sophisticated armaments in the world but if there is not war well, what the hell are they good for? Peace is bad for business.

So when someone asks: "Gee, why have we been fighting all these wars over the past number of decades since WW II?" All we ever get in response is the dismissive accusation “What are you, some kind of ISOLATIONIST?” "Hey Dick, this guy doesn't want to invade a foreign country, he must be some kind of Passivist or something!" "Nah, Dick says, He's just an Isolationist, just ignore him."

So an Isolationist these days is someone who doesn't want to intervene in the affairs of sovereign countries and if they don’t welcome our “help” then we send men with guns to MAKE them like it. This is a far cry from free trade and non-intervention that our founding fathers had wished for our nation.

The future of the Middle East
Once the United States military is out of the Middle East entirely, and this should happen one way or another, the Iraqis will have no choice but to resume shooting at each other. With no “Great Satan” to focus on, it stands to reason that the now radicalized and heavily armed and funded new Revolutionary Army will need a new one. They will have to find some other group to rail against since they are wholly unfit to lead a modern nation and after generations of conflict, now know of no other way to live or die. 

Perhaps they’ll finally look towards the House of Saud and the super-rich Arabs that have been pulling their strings for so long OR they can still just blame Israel.

What the United States should do now

Perhaps the United States will get now get serious about how we produce oil in this country, abandon the wasteful practices of subsidizing politically motivated and inefficient energy producing schemes and focus on making oil use more efficient and produce it locally. Solar and wind has its place but oil is the atom of industry and we should take this to heart and make it better rather than wasting resources on what we already know isn't going to be the mainstay of American Economic Power.

And we should leave the Middle East…to themselves.

This is what our policy should have been from the beginning. We would have been more popular world-wide, our economy richer and our children alive.

What should not have been in the first place looks to be coming to an end.