25 June 2007

more, more fodder on Cheney - part 2...

In the middle of reading part two, Pushing the Envelope on Presidential Power of the four-part Washington Post series on Vice-President Cheney's power in the Bush administration [Part One, 'A Different Understanding With the President'], I was struck as to how it reads like a Robert Ludlum novel. The intrigue, plotting, back-stabbing, and spying are a read comparable to Ludlum's books. If you haven't been reading it, you should, if just for the shear enjoyment of a spy story. Of course, the facts of the story may also just bring you to understand that this is really going on in our government, a republican form of democracy based on the paramount document espousing freedom.

Today's installment has two very interesting points. Well, it has a lot of them, but these are the two that struck me the most:
No longer was the vice president focused on procedural rights, such as access to lawyers and courts. The subject now was more elemental: How much suffering could U.S. personnel inflict on an enemy to make him talk? Cheney's lawyer feared that future prosecutors, with motives "difficult to predict," might bring criminal charges against interrogators or Bush administration officials.

"How much suffering could U.S. personnel inflict on an enemy to make him talk?"

Why would this even be a question for anyone? When I was in high school, the senior high school English/literature class I had dealt with thematic topics. The one that has stayed with me to this day is Man's inhumanity to man. The very idea that one person has less value than another is anathema to me. To inflict suffering for the purpose of forwarding a political agenda makes all of us less human not just less humane.

The second point:
...the president may authorize any interrogation method, even if it crosses the line into torture. U.S. and treaty laws forbidding any person to "commit torture," that passage stated, "do not apply" to the commander in chief, because Congress "may no more regulate the President's ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield."
I have to think about this one very hard. The Constitution puts the President of the United States above the law? Somehow I don't think that the framers of the Constitution had that accurately in mind. They had just ended a war against a tyrant and sought to limit the powers of the executive to avoid the establishment of a monarchical president.

I mean, come on. This should be a no-brainer for any one who has even a cursory understanding of U.S. Constitutional history. Hell, I remember my high school history and political science teachers making a big deal of it.

George Washington made a big deal of it. He was hesitant about becoming the first president. He disliked the adulation, though no president since has had an approval rating of 100%!

I have this disgust welling up in my gullet with what I'm reading in the Post's series. I also have a sadness that could easily push me. Most of all, I have anger that makes me want to open the window and -

that makes me feel better...

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