Monday, May 8, 2006

Query for Dem Sens: What Happens When the Military, Not Civilians, Decides Which Wars to Fight?

Glenn Greenwald has a good post pointing out which "Democrats" are providing cover to the Administration for nominating a sitting general to head the CIA. This proves you don't need to be (a) any kind of political scientist or historian, or (b) attuned to the will of your constituents to be in Congress.

PoliSci 201: No one is stupid enough to attack the United States openly. Even bin Laden initially denied responsibility for 9-11. This means that modern wars are instigated not in response to an enemy's overt action but through murkier intelligence operations: we learn through intelligence that someone has attacked or is planning to attack us, the President sells the war to Congress by selectively disclosing cherrypicked intelligence, Congress falls for it, we go to war.

Shorter: He who controls the intel, controls the military.

In America, civilians are supposed to control the military. The military doesn't get to decide which wars it wants to fight; it obeys civilian orders. That's part of the Founders' genius.

It's fine for an ex-general to hold high office: Dwight Eisenhower and Colin Powell didn't violate the principle I've enunciated, because they weren't in uniform when they held their positions in the civilian government.

But General Hayden is a sitting officer, responsible to the President. He cannot serve two masters. He cannot tell the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, for example, things the President tells him not to. Sitting officers have no discretion to disobey lawful orders, and under military law, "lawful orders" has a very, very, very broad definition.

Hayden's confirmation to the CIA will mean that (a) the President will, even more than he has previously, cut Congress utterly out of the intelligence loop, and (b) the military will effectively be in charge of justifying its own wars, cutting even the President out of the loop he's trying to create.

Any Senat0r who doesn't understand that doesn't deserve to hold office, and is no loss to the Democratic Party. Dianne Feinstein? Jane Harman? Hello?

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2 comments:

lucretia said...

Thersites2: I especially like the part of this post, the 2nd para. about wars come about not through enemy's overt action, etc. Only of course under Bush, his administration makes up the enemy's plans against us, and then justifies preemptive war. This has taken us back centuries to tribal warfare.

Control of intelligence is the denominator---at least that's been the point so far with the US. Only the intelligence is not even fabricated, it's simply the latest lie. I remember Bush's smorgasboourd of reasons to attack Iraq: each speech came up with another reason to attack Iraq: it was so damm obvious, I could not see how he could fool anybody. And Cheney harangued at the time; We KNOW there are weapons of mass destruction there. Know? How about some proof for the American people? Let's face it our people don't need proof now--just say "don't forget 9/11", and they hustle in line.

Having a sitting military officer as head of CIA indicates this admin. dedicated as it is to imperalism finds this choice to be useful in admonishing the American people,should they dare to equivocate, that the military KNOWS the next 'enemy' is going to attack us--hello Iran. It will go through don't worry, especially under Jeb Bush if not before, simply because this facist junta means it. It will be for oil only especially control of the oil dollar, not for nuclear.

Anonymous said...

I come from Nixon's old congressional district and as God is my Fuhrer believe that:

We are in a state of constitutional crisis. For Rumsfeld to lobby on intelligence reform and now have military acts off the books means that the "linchpin" of the constitution, the taxing and spending powers of
Congress, of raising standing armies, has now been violated. My Congressman David Dreier now has no way to effect neither my Liberty nor my Republic.

Our constitution was specifically designed to avoid this combination of the President's office with the Defense Department; that the King shall not have his own standing army to send willy-nilly to wherever he
thinks he has the pleasure too. That is why I can never believe the neo-cons or Alitos et al., claims to absolute presidential power as Commander-and-Chief even during war. The claim of inherent power of the president has already been settled under Nixon's attempt during the so-called Vietnam War. As Nixon’s assistant attorney general Rehnquist made the argument of inherent power to wiretap the White Panther Party without a warrant – during a war. This power, which was claimed to be held, under the President’s Oath of Office, was rejected by the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision against suspending all or parts of the Constitution. Because this was Rehnquist’s argument as assistant attorney general he had to recuse himself from his very first decision after being appointed to the Supreme Court and rightly so. And guess what? America was still standing in the morning after this and Nixon's resignation avoiding his impeachment. This is in spite of a average of 6 bombings a day, 86 killed policemen, and a record 33,604 thousand injuries between the fall of 1969 and spring of 1970 by our own citizens protesting over the illegal invasion of Cambodia.

Unfortunately, Rehnquist conveniently ignores this when he reviews his history of the power of the President during war. He brings up WWI and WWII in this review. But, for some reason, he completely skips how his “inherent” argument on presidential power was slapped down by the Supreme Court during the undeclared, illegal and immoral so-called Vietnam War. This is bald face intellectual dishonesty, if not outright historical revisionism, that completely belies the important decision on the necessity of War - not to mention the young lives thrown willy-nilly into harm's way. And so much for a responsible versus an irresponsible debates Mr. Bush. That is why I completely reject the neo-con's medieval thesis that constitutional government is too weak to survive in a difficult world and that we should defer to a sole sovereign power since 9/11. We have become weaker since taking on this post 9/11 repeat of Rehnquist's "in terrorem" position. (I would like to read his memo on the subject of presidential power and the invasion of Cambodia but alas that memo has disappeared, nowhere to be found on the Internet. The persuasive force of his ideas no longer count I can only suppose). I only fear that our new Supreme Court justices Roberts and Alito will take what was a tragedy we survived and turn a repeated claim of 18th century inherent power into a farce that destroys the sheet anchor of our Republic - our precious Constitution – along with the Bill of Rights.

Censure is indeed warranted and so is impeachment. Nixon would have approved!

Confirming a criminal sitting military officer will only consolidate the combination of the Presidents office with the Department of Defense to be run by our Military-King.

I am Citizen Michael John Keenan