Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Precedential Prerogatives
    Presidents set precedents. Bush II set one by invoking a proleptic pinchbeck threat to start a great big shooting war. The U.S., he said, could attack anyone anywhere who might one day pose a danger. No proof was required. The president’s assertion was enough. That gave us debacle without honor in Iraq.
    Obama banked that precedent and added new ones. In Libya, where he imposed what is so far chaos as a replacement for dictatorship, the president said that he could attack any country without even consulting Congress, let alone acknowledging its constitutional war-making power.  Today we're trotting hotly through Syria (on the same side as Al Qaeda!) with barely a peep from press or populace. 

     Of lethal concern to our citizenry is Obama’s Yemen doctrine in which he proclaimed the right to kill Americans simply on his own word. For the time being that word is “terrorism” and/or “national security.” With the precedent of extra-judicial homicide now established, who can say that trigger words like “radical,” “extremist” and “dangerous” will not follow?      Imagine a news story a month or a year from now that reads: Members of a secretive federal task force killed four Occupy protestors in a raid on a Brooklyn apartment. A Justice Department spokesperson said the four radicals posed an “imminent threat to national security, the nature of which can not be disclosed.”
    Or: Five members of the executive board of a union on strike against a manufacturing company in this small Ohio town disappeared four days ago. The local authorities referred questions to the FBI, which refused any comment. A reporter investigating the disappearances returned home to find his apartment ransacked, his computer missing, and his dog poisoned.
    Or: A peppery leftist blogger died in a hit-and-run incident this evening as he strolled home from a local park. Police report no witnesses or evidence at the scene. Any further investigation, they said, would be pointless.
    It is genuinely amazing that, 797 years after the Magna Carta was drawn and 225 years since the U.S Constitution was adopted, I hear well-educated liberals accepting the notion that a ruler, in this case Barack Obama, should have the thumbs down power of life and death over the ruled. It is as if those documents did not exist, that the divine right of kings still obtained, and that George Washington and his fellow extremists should not have bothered.
    Since we’re at war, the Attorney General says that means we can forego due process and kill our enemies, including Americans, by drone process. Sounds reasonable, reply the liberal backers of the adminstration. No matter to them that the war is undeclared, nebulous and open-ended. It is enough for them that the leader intone a word or two to obtain license to violate any law of God or man.    
    Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama has now got us fighting in more wars in more places than at any time since World War II. And even back then, the White House still believed in trying Nazis before hanging them. We’re hearing a lot about Romney eating up companies but little about Obama devouring countries.