Bush Re-Ups War, Obstructs Accountability As Nation Twitters Over Palin

The country and the progressive blogosphere have long been suckers for Cheney/Rovian shiny object distractions. I am afraid that is happening as we speak. First off (and i will come back to this later in a separate post) all of the heat, passion an unity that was generated and consolidated by Los Dos Clintonos, Al Gore and then, mightily and masterfully, Barack Obama, is being dissipated by the wind of fixation on Sarah Palin.

But more importantly, critical and substantive things are going on that we need to be paying attention to. Eric Lichtblau in the NYT reminds us of a huge one this morning:

Tucked deep into a recent proposal from the Bush administration is a provision that has received almost no public attention, yet in many ways captures one of President Bush’s defining legacies: an affirmation that the United States is still at war with Al Qaeda.

The language, part of a proposal for hearing legal appeals from detainees at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, goes beyond political symbolism. Echoing a measure that Congress passed just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, it carries significant legal and public policy implications for Mr. Bush, and potentially his successor, to claim the imprimatur of Congress to use the tools of war, including detention, interrogation and surveillance, against the enemy, legal and political analysts say.

The proposal is also the latest step that the administration, in its waning months, has taken to make permanent important aspects of its “long war” against terrorism. From a new wiretapping law approved by Congress to a rewriting of intelligence procedures and F.B.I. investigative techniques, the administration is moving to institutionalize by law, regulation or order a wide variety of antiterrorism tactics. (Emphasis added)

In all the flurry and bustle of the conventions and Palin, not to mention back to school and Labor Day weekend for the nation, this could be lost in the flow. It must not be. This provision has all the potential implications, problems, and potential for abuse that the Authorization For Military Force (AUMF) had in 2001. And with a Cheney/Bush Administration still in power, and with their known predilection for abuse, this simply cannot be allowed.

This is but another callous and cynical play by the Administration to manipulate timing and political posture for craven gain. Cheney, Bush and the GOP enablers are going to parry this against the Democrats during election season and try to fearmonger them into approving it.

In the midst of an election season, the language represents a political challenge of sorts to the administration’s critics. While many Democrats say they are wary of Mr. Bush’s claims to presidential power, they may be even more nervous about casting a vote against a measure that affirms the country’s war against terrorism.

Mr. Bush “is trying to stir up again the politics of fear by reminding people of something they haven’t really forgotten: that we are engaged in serious armed conflict with Al Qaeda,” said Laurence H. Tribe, a constitutional scholar at Harvard and legal adviser to Mr. Obama.

Make no mistake, this is yet another critical cog in their efforts to cloud the waters and fog the field so that they cannot be effectively subjected to accountability for the crimes, both moral and statutory, they have perpetrated. I made the same warning about the "seemingly innocuous" extension of the Protect America Act; I make that warning again here. This "seemingly innocuous" reaffirmation of our battle against terrorism is not innocuous at all; it is diabolical and craven. I am not the only one who thinks so.

The language recalls a resolution, known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress on Sept. 14, 2001. It authorized the president to “use all necessary and appropriate force” against those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks to prevent future strikes. That authorization, still in effect, was initially viewed by many members of Congress who voted for it as the go-ahead for the administration to invade Afghanistan and overthrow the Taliban, which had given sanctuary to Mr. bin Laden.

But the military authorization became the secret legal basis for some of the administration’s most controversial legal tactics, including the wiretapping program, and that still gnaws at some members of Congress.

For Bush critics like Bruce Fein, a Justice Department official in the Reagan administration, the answer is simple: do not give the administration the wartime language it seeks.

“I do not believe that we are in a state of war whatsoever,” Mr. Fein said. “We have an odious opponent that the criminal justice system is able to identify and indict and convict. They’re not a goliath. Don’t treat them that way.”

Bruce Fein is right. Larry Tribe is right. I am right.

Not now. Not again. Never again. This too cute by a half "little reaffirmation" slipped into the mix during the sturm, drang and heat of presidential election season must not be allowed to slip through and pass into law. People always want to know what they can do post FISA, what are our issues; well, here is one. Make sure that the Cheney/Bush/GOP cabal, and their Hoyer/Pelosi/Blue Dog enablers do not screw the pooch yet again.

  1. skdadl says:

    Great post, bmaz.

    The rest of the world is wondering this too: Is the U.S. at war? With whom is the U.S. at war? Is there anywhere this is all written down so that we can understand? Who are your allies, against whom, at which place? Canada, eg, is your NATO ally in Afghanistan, but not your ally in Iraq. And there would be any number of permutations and combinations of that situation internationally.

    It wounds me to read that this is part of yet another move against the detainees at GTMO (and elsewhere, I presume). Mukasey has made it very clear in his last couple of Senate appearances that the sky would fall if the detainees were brought back to the U.S. and given their full rights as human beings before the courts, which would inevitably mean that many would be freed, in the U.S., a development that Mukasey obviously believes should horrify everyone — that is one of the few topics on which the man seems able to summon up some passion.

    But as you and Lichtblau say, there is a deeper purpose to a proposal like this, and American citizens are potentially the targets. Bruce Fein is right; you are right; please win.

    • LabDancer says:

      “Canada, eg, is your NATO ally in Afghanistan, but not your ally in Iraq”

      And why exactly is that, eskimo skdadl? The Iraq War has been going on so long it may have been Trudeau for all I know who assumed the Canuckistanian nuanced position- but isn’t Reichsmeister Harpergruber a BFF of the Water Boy? I don’t understand the dynamics where Georgia sends in some troops, and even Iceland sends their best woman, but the New Royal Canadian Order has been able to sit out Iraq?

      • skdadl says:

        Wish I had a ROTFL icon for that question, LabDancer.

        You’re perfectly right about Harper. If he had been PM in 2002-03, we’d be in Iraq. Maher Arar would also still be in a Syrian hellhole, if still alive. Harper is a neo-lib who plays to a neo-con base — think Cheney wannabe. He’s also likely to call an election next week, so sympathize with us nervous campers.

        Pierre Trudeau died in September 2000. His funeral was a thing of great beauty, even if you were a critic, and I was. Our PM during the run-up to the Iraq invasion was one of Trudeau’s students, Jean Chretien, a street-fighting kind of guy (if you can imagine a street-fighter related to the richest families in the country), with an uncanny instinct for popular opinion, and he refused the war publicly while sending a ship to the Gulf in quiet support. The Liberals work that way.

        And if the Liberals mucked up our position on the detainees at the beginning, they would be getting Omar Khadr out of GTMO now, as Harper will not do.

  2. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    bmaz, I think you’ve nailed it.
    Keep hammering.

    Clearly, BushCheney have a plan.
    Someone is ‘executing’ on schedule.

    These are the same people who tried to terrorize James Comey when he was at DoJ, and who were willing to break into John Ashcroft’s hospital (intensive care) room to have a man recently under anaesthesia sign key documents.

    Here’s hoping Bob Barr helps Ron Paul verbally skewer the BushCheney claims to fight for anything other than bailing out Bear Stearns. Because if anyone ‘gets’ evil of this nature, it’s the Libertarians. Man, I hope they raise holy hell with their Congresscritters over this political feint.

  3. Leen says:

    Bruce Fein “I do not believe that we are in a state of war whatsoever,” Mr. Fein “We have an odious opponent that the criminal justice system is able to identify and indict and convict. They’re not a goliath. Don’t treat them that way.”

    Still afraid they may bomb Iran, they are being backed in a corner

    Will continue to focus on OBama’s push for UNITY. Watched those Rovian methods up close in Ohio the last three elections. Worried. But will continue to focus on registrations (have registered over 2200 people in the last three elections)will continue to encourage others to put in their much needed time,voting is not enough.

  4. masaccio says:

    This article from Friday is on point. It says that we are sending foreign fighters back to their home nations under restrictions. One is that the detainee can refuse, it says. Here is another:

    Unlike in Afghanistan, where many prisoners captured by American forces were sent to Guantánamo Bay in the first five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, prisoners captured by the United States in Iraq have never been sent to American detention centers outside Iraq, and until The New York Times began to conduct interviews for this article in July, military officials had not acknowledged that any had been repatriated.

    In this paragraph, like many others in the article, it is not clear that we are always referring to foreign fighters. In fact, it looks a lot like maybe not.

    Paging WilliamOckham.

    • bmaz says:

      I think that is right. This really is a critical little piece of the puzzle as to detainees; not only the ones you describe, but the ones at Gitmo too. The Bushies have a real problem brewing with the way the show trials have gone, and they also want to clamp down on the Habeas cases being litigated in DC District Court. Remember this little nugget from the post a couple of days ago:

      Judge fears secret Gitmo habeas hearings.

      A federal judge overseeing cases against dozens of Guantánamo Bay detainees said Wednesday that he fears the public — and the detainees themselves — will be locked out of the courtroom when evidence in the case is scrutinized for the first time.

      There is also, very significantly, the things Mukasey and the DOJ are doing that were discussed in the two FISA Redux posts. This little provision is critical to those efforts as well.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      Thanks for the pointer to that article. There are a number of interesting things in that article. As you point out, there are statements that are either poorly phrased by the reporters or deliberate obsfucation by their sources.

      I’m looking at it closely…

      • masaccio says:

        WO, if you click on Mazzetti’s name, you can send him an e-mail, so I did that. I pointed him to your post, and noted that Rashul’s case looks like a violation of the Geneva Conventions and would present an Alstoetter problem. I asked if he knew if any Afghani or Iraqi nationals had been shipped out of the country. No response, but it is Saturday.

    • 4jkb4ia says:

      I was going to reassure Mary that I had seen that, because it is an important part of ducking responsibility for torture. If we simply abolish the prisons to hold these people, we can say, “We don’t torture,” but we are winking at whatever the Egyptians and the Saudis choose to do if we give up on promoting democracy in these places.

  5. LabDancer says:

    bmaz- Fein Tribe & bmaz. Catchy name. Might want to give ‘em a call.

    You & your firm have my support, of course, and FWIW of course as well.

    And this is a vital subject on which to contact one’s represenatatives in Congress, assuming their not Pod People, since at this late date, even a sole legislator [a Feingold, a Whitehouse – though in this case far more justly a Schumer or Feinstein] could do to shove this to the back of the drawer out of the reach of the katzenjammer kids, Water Boy & Boss D.

    This is pretty high up on the BCA agenda, but isn’t also symptomatic of this so-called lame duck stage of their Reign of Error & Terror? As McPodCreature’s handlers throw up more flack catchers live the runner-up to Ms Alaska, while all sentient responsible netrooters see this as part of a trend, I haven’t seen any of the top netroots websites focussing on the embedding of human & regulatory ticking time bombs into the infrastructure of the federal government, the way that Josh Marshall’s TPM crew got credit for pushing the Purge.

    Do you, or does anyone else who parks their opinions here, now of a focused central clearing house for this?

    I for one would certainly be interested in helping out on that sort of thing, because it hearkens back to a decade I spent in that area & since the Obama campaign never listens to me anyway, I’d like to put some this energy-from-frustration into lashing down the valuables to secure them from the Addington Plan now & after Obama might get sworn in [I note the alternative is even starting to both David Frum. Its worse than even we think.]

    [Small joke on contrasting styles in public discourse:

    Republicans push millions into a media campaign: THE SURGE IS WORKING!

    A lone Democrat in Congress mentions in passing to a DFH blogger hanging around in the hall: Hey, Murray, thanks for the tip. Your right: that the Purge seems to be working pretty well against the administration.

    Okay very small. I’m not thinking improv for career 5]

  6. RevBev says:

    Are there steps folks are recommending for the push back? Congress on vacation etc. Surely no one can want to empower these liars for any more power just as they are leaving office (we hope); what steps to get the word out, even more to oppose. The troops are too stretched, we are trying to get out of Iraq. How can we hold the line unti the whole operation can be reviewed by at team Not Cheney & Stupid? Thank you.

    • rosalind says:

      Surely no one can want to empower these liars for any more power just as they are leaving office (we hope)

      unfortunately, there is little evidence to back up that hope. for ms. nancy, our lady of the empty table, the personal is political, and she has worked herself up into an estatic fever dream over the personal power riches november may bring, discarding constitutional duties on the way to victory, sweet victory.

      don’t know how we penetrate that blockade, but i’m not going down without a fight.

      • bobschacht says:

        Maybe we all need to remember about the StrangeBedfellows coalition established with the help of Jane Hamsher & Glenn Greenwald.

        I also have hopes that Ron Paul’s Libertarian counterconvention will give the Repugs a major pain in the a**, and that they’ll have to respond.

        Bob in HI

  7. R.H. Green says:

    After finally geting a good night’s sleep, I mused with morning coffee, how and whether to address that mess that washed up Thurs nite, am somewhat miffed at you for your (percieved) part in it. I’ve considered just unplugging the keyboard when visiting the site. But before I do, I want to say how glad I am to have contributors like you to bring this kind of analysis to my attention. Essays like this one are not only an asset to this blog, but to the society as a whole. Keep it up. Thank you.

    • bmaz says:

      You know, I really did not see us as being that far apart Thursday night; to some extent, I think we were both stubbornly arguing from semantical and rhetorical postures that are/were somewhat mutually illusory. This blog tackles big and difficult things, the people that frequent it are all very sharp, and thusly, by nature, somewhat opinionated. Even Marcy and I flap at each other all the time over things; this is the nature of healthy analysis and discussion. But, ultimately, we are all fighting the same battle; that is why we are here. Argue passionately, know that others are too, take it all in and keep moving. Where you differ one day, the next is a new day. Stick around.

      • R.H. Green says:

        A new day indeed. I have an idea to stick out here, but first I want to wax off topic. You and I had no problem on Thurs. The mess that washed up was when I was personally attacked by someone I took to be your friend, and invited by you to weigh in on the discussion, as he had published an essay at FDL on the subject. I spent some time trying to make sense of things and how to compose a logical defense in a coherent, and brief, manner. I could not, and was reluctant to impose on this audience a lengthy rebutal; indeed I can see that what I said to skadl was not an appropriate topic to address in this forum, for this audience, hence the reference to attempting some self-discipline by putting the keyboard away from easy reach (timeout?). However today’s topic and the news of events in Minnesota show me clearly that I don’t have time to waste on “useless foam from the mouth”. There’s important work to do.

        Last nite I came across two things of interest. At Balkaniztion, there is a essay by Marty Lederman; in the comments that follow (I don’t know how to link such things) there is a comment posted by Mourad at 8:48 AM. He quotes an Engligh Justice of the Peace who has a blog (that link is provided there).

        He wrote:
        “Oh my America!
        As I type this I am watching Peter Ackroyd’s programme
        about the Thames, and I have just been stirred by a shot of the memorial at Runnymede, celebrating ‘Freedom Under the Law’.
        I have been a lifelong admirer of the American dream, one that has delivered freedom and properity to unprecedented number of people, and has in the last century unselfishly spent blood and treasure to liberate the Europe from which its ideals and principles spring in large part.
        That’s why Magna Carta struck such a chord. The barbarians who currently hold power in America have junked more than 200 years’ worth of freedom under the law in an obsession to avenge the unbearable hurt of 9/11. If the founding fathers could see what is being done in their name at Guantanamo, with its travesty of legal process, they would surely weep.
        The monument that moved me to write this was paid for by American lawyers. They owe it to their nation to redress the wrongs now being perpetrated.”

        Now I’m sure there are babarians in power in his country that need looking after, and there are few here that would agree that it was a desire to avenge the unbearable hurt of 9/11 that gave rise to the abuses of power here. Nevertheless, one can note that it was the organized effort by Pakistani lawyers, pressuring the Parliament to invoke impeachment proceedings that forced that dictator to resign, and rather quickly one might add.
        Another thing of interst from last night was a conversation on Bill Moyres’ show with two Pregressives. One argued that pushing Obama before the election is a mistake; better to get him elected first. But Katrina van Hueval argued the opposite; if he can get elected without having to commit, means he can ignore afterward.

        The idea I had after reading about the attack on “suspected” demonstrators, and some being defended by the president of The Lawyers Guild was, ” what an ideal group the do here what the Pakistani lawyers have done”. Anyone, like me, can join the ACLU; its a bunch of “civilians”, but an organization of professional lawyers making a highly publicized demand upon the congress, soon, not after the election could be just the catalyst to deal with the legislative agenda discussed in today’s essay here.

    • R.H. Green says:

      My remarks at 10 were for bmaz. Noon already, and still not up to speed today; must be those cognitive impairments.

  8. klynn says:

    A wise neighbor active in Ohio politics stated, “Dems need to stay alert, stay on task and do not need to waste time or energy on Palin. She is not the issue, just a means to an end. Stay the course and be strong in voice and in numbers on issues. Especially, national security. Too many signs of police state around us enacted by fear tactics of Republicans. This election is about liberty, preserving liberty — not pulverizing it for the sake of one party rule.”

    • CTuttle says:

      Yeppers, what a fiasco… ‘Conspiracy to Commit Riot’ is being utilized to arrest and detain protesters in the Twin Cities… Currently 6 are arrested and charged with laptops being confiscated… Reminds me of Maliki in Iraq or the Chinese…!

  9. AlbertFall says:

    There is no “war” on terror.

    There are fear mongering Republican politicians who want Dems to get twitchy with fear and give the Reps what they want.

    We saw in Obama’s speech that he has the ability to tell people that Republican bullshit is bullshit.

    Let’s hope he and the Dems do.

  10. perris says:

    The proposal is also the latest step that the administration, in its waning months, has taken to make permanent important aspects of its “long war” against terrorism. From a new wiretapping law approved by Congress to a rewriting of intelligence procedures and F.B.I. investigative techniques, the administration is moving to institutionalize by law, regulation or order a wide variety of antiterrorism tactics. (Emphasis added)

    the only purpose of this is to innoculate themselves against prosecution

    • bmaz says:

      That is one of the purposes of this, but far, far from the only purpose. Read the article and all the comments here, you will see the many facets behind this attempted measure.

  11. SmileySam says:

    Back on June 21 I wrote about this new AUMF after Mukaseys speech that first let us know what was coming. It didn’t get much attention at that time either. I’m sure many people are saying to themselves that the Dems would never make the same mistake, but they thought that about FISA just a month of 2 ago. Remember?
    After Mukasey’s first speech about this AUMF CQPolitics reported this;

    Mukasey said the bill should provide procedures for protecting sensitive national security information and should bar habeas proceedings from delaying military commission trials for detainees, the first of which began today at Guantanamo Bay.

    Mukasey said the bill should explicitly state that the United States remains in armed conflict with the Taliban and al Qaeda and can detain enemy combatants for the duration of the conflict. ( His stated reason for a new AUMF) He said the bill also should state that habeas proceedings should be handled by the federal court in Washington.

    You can read that diary and find a few links to the stories of that time over a dkos. http://www.dailykos.com/story/…..601/554691

  12. JohnLopresti says:

    Drones mistakenly bomb wrong building. Civilians perish. High resolution video shows corpses to drone pilot. Drone co-pilot monitors GIS, GPS, gunner’s mate. New hires often 18 years old, maybe good at video games, maybe drone software still beta product. Air Force says collateral damage to civilians causing reassessment of current design of drone controls. Pilot and co-pilot live in Southwest US; drone joystick controls are at a console in a mobile home or even a portable truck container, parked on a US Air Base somewhere. Pilot commutes to work. Drives home thinking about software and television live images of dying civilians. I wonder if resolution is sufficient to do biometrics, to identify sufficiently accurately from drone cameras to ascertain whether casualty actually was the intended individual who was known based on humint to be a Taliban or AlQaida. It seems more accurate and economical than sending a cruise missle to the Chinese embassy by mistake, but still is proving too error prone for the air force to continue, ostensibly.

    A congressional floor session arguing about a putative Bush neo-AUMF resolution might prove a salubrious effort, but one Bush would be unlikely to relish, given the past six months’ polemics since the primary election season opened last winter. Rather, I see Cheney letting Addington concoct a signing statement containing all the myths, a weak instrument at that juncture given the next president’s right to revoke and supersede the signing statement. It may be rule by fiat, but it is only fiat; and it remains to be seen how engaged the next congress will be. I have prescinded from bashing Pelosi, as I think she has dealt with a lot of fear mongers who cherish bellicosity, and her druthers are to govern in peace and fairly. She has been behind the scenes in state politics, but only that, never a boisterous voice of the party, ever low key, and constructive. Maybe history will judge her better, but I give her credit for her sanguine desire to assure there is a ship of state, rather than dicta from a ’situation’ room.

    OT: As we remain in the interregnum between Democratic Party and Republican Party conventions these few days, for those still in the mood, and of historical bent, here is a link to a folk humor review penned by a lady who served as a reporter at the Republican convention which resembled the Brooks Brothers rebellion in 1964, then she attended the convention which nominated Mondale; her perspective is human interest. Her current polity seems only libertarian rather than personally involved in the current election cycle.

  13. Leen says:

    ot I have a huge favor to ask. Sidney Blumenthal is over at the home FDL. I really respect Sidneys work and have a question for him. I am unable to post over there I was banned last fall for bringing up the I/P issue and arguing with the moderator over there(was respectful, but he or she pulled the trump card because I would not back down).

    Anyway anyone willing to copy and post this for me?

    Sidney in your article “A Good Generals Revenge” you reported that John Bolton may have been spying on Colin Powell via the NSA. During the John Bolton nomination hearings I clearly remember when Senators Biden, Kennedy, Dodd, Lincoln Chaffee and a few others were demanding those NSA intercepts that “allegedly” had to do with this “alleged” wiretapping of Powell and possibly others. This group of Senators were so pissed I thought they were going to jump over the Senate tables and give Bolton an ass whooping Has the White House ever turned over those intercepts? Could you explain this situation for us?

  14. jackie says:

    If Palin withdraws and McCain withdraws due to ‘Health reasons’ What happens?
    If they cancel Repug convention due to Gustav? what happens to Repug nominee process?
    If Gustav hit US hard (more storms close behind) and all gulf oil fields shut down What happens?
    Will Bush/Darth use all this’ to declare ‘State of Emergency’ and suspend the whole election process?
    Storm-Troopers already in St Paul, Blackwater on-route to NO etc, Where else?
    With many folks evacuating ( and if these storms hit big expect even more to leave Gulf states) What happens re; voting and the election?

    • rxbusa says:

      I worry that the proposal that is the topic of this thread is the lever they will use to somehow suspend elections or otherwise avoid relinquishing power. but then maybe my tinfoil hat is on too tight.

  15. freepatriot says:

    does george really wanna talk about osama right now ???

    I thought george didn’t really worry about osama anymore

    now, right before an election to choose george’s replacement, we need reminding that osama is an enemy ???

    kinda looks like george has been saving osama to use as a political tool for the election

    did you get that ???

    cuz if Ameica starts thinking that george let osama go so george could use osama as a campaign prop …

    that campaign prop is a murderer

    does george really wanna share a stage with osama right now

    bring it on you stupid fuck …




    george bush allowed osama bin laden to escape from tora bora so that george bush could use osama bin laden as a campaign prop

    is that the debate george really wants to have right now ??? cuz I’ll shout it from the roof tops till they haul me away. and then scream it at the judge …

    Barack Obama has already bitchslapped mcsame about this

    is this a gift or WHAT ???

  16. Leen says:

    Hugh is kicking it up over at the Salon with Sidney Blumenthal. Even Sidney is making excuses for the Democrats not pushing the impeachment issue. Odd how anyone but especially someone like Sidney could compare the severity of the crime of Cllinton lying under oath about a BJ and the Intellgence snowjob that has resulted in the destruction of a country and millions of people


    Wonder what Sidney thinks about John Deans suggestion that we should be focused on the impeachment of lower level officials, Addington, Bolton, Feith, Wolfowitz so that they can not roll back into any future regimes

  17. kspena says:

    IIRC, Philip Sands said in one of his interviews that the UK did not declare a ‘war’ on terrorism. Instead they chose to treat events within the judicial system as crimes. The UK tried to talk bush out of ‘declaring war’, but bush was hell bent on war. According to Sands, bush wouldn’t listen or take seriously the consequences of declaring war.

  18. yonodeler says:

    The more Bush can amplify comprehensive intelligence programs—the domestic programs being the most troubling—the harder he’ll make it for Obama to roll back any of the programs, and the closer he’ll come to establishing a state of de facto immunity encompassing intelligence agencies and their contractors and executive branch officers who interact with them.

  19. MarkH says:

    “… it carries significant legal and public policy implications for Mr. Bush, and potentially his successor, to claim the imprimatur of Congress to use the tools of war, including detention, interrogation and surveillance, against the enemy, …” — Lichtblau (in the NYT article)

    The Republican controlled Congress did as much as they could to force Democratic senators who might become candidates for the presidency to sign onto the Bush plan to make it impossible for them to oppose him in the 2004 election. This is where Kerry flip-flopped and where Clinton & Edwards signed on.

    The Republicans also tried to give Bush as much power as possible by using expansive language they knew Democrats (mostly) had to accept.

    Allowing the President to determine who was/is “the enemy” is one of those techniques. Not specifying where the war would be fought also left that question open. That ‘the enemy’ would NOT be American citizens could be assumed, but that too leaves the question open.

    Democrats offered amendments to limit this authority, but the Republicans held together and handed Bush a dictatorship so long as his term lasts. It’s in light of this that many say he isn’t violating the law, despite his egregiously poor judgment in how to use the military. For this they all deserve to be kicked out of office.

    One could quibble over whether the NSA, CIA and other national security apparati are ‘the military’, but I think you’d lose in a court of law.

    One key thing though is that this never gave the president MORE power than he already had to defend America. It was ALWAYS ALWAYS meant to be a political tool.

    What I wonder about is whether the Resolution/Law had/has a time limit. I remember Senator Robert Byrd asking Sec. of Def. Gates a question during a hearing: “By what authority are we in Iraq?” and Gates answered, “I don’t know.” That’s rather astounding, don’t you think? Does Bush realize he’s violating law because the sun has set on the Iraq AUMF?

    One thing that amazes me is how unified the Republicans have been behind Bush. They have handed him amazing power — power the public certainly didn’t intend to hand over. But, they’re disposable flunkies within the Republican party system. To them their purpose has been purely one of abusing the power of their position and then allowing themselves to be thrown out. That’s also what John Yoo has done and Monica Goodling and many others.

    The entire Republican party is a criminal organization.

  20. Leen says:

    Was so disspointed that Sidney Blumenthal thought that if the Democrats had attempted to hold the Bush administration accountable for their very serious crimes would be considered “vengeful partisanship”

    Hugh tried to stay on this critical issue with Sidney but he blew the seriousness of the Bush administrations crimes off. I really respect Sidney’s reporting but WTF how can Sidney consider holding Bushco accountable for lying our nation into a war, millions dead, injured, illegal wiretapping, undermining the Dept of Justice, outing Plame, illegal wiretapping, did I mention torture. If the Democrats had been very very serious about this in 2006 and really began to take their job of oversight seriously (hello Senator Rockefeller) how can Blumenthal consider accountability “vengeful partisanship”?

    No one asked Blumenthal about the impeachment of lower level officials as John Dean has suggested. Addington etc. Why would anyone consider Accountability “vengeful partisanship”?

    Hugh August 30th, 2008 at 2:38 pm 27
    In response to Sidney Blumenthal @ 19
    On impeachment: I have always thought this was a distraction and miscue. As everyone can see, it will not happen. It was never going to happen. And if it did it would paradoxically overshadow the administration’s shortcomings by becoming the only show in town and making the Democrats seem like vengeful partisans, like the Republicans who staged the Clinton impeachment. In any case, it’s a non-starter.

    I love the circular reasoning involved here. Democrats are too weak and cowardly to impeach the worst President in our history. (Face it if Bush is not to be impeached what is the point of having impeachment at all?) Therefore impeachment will not happen. Since it will not happen, the Democrats should be let off the hook for not doing it.

    BTW do you really see no difference between a blowjob and the willful destruction of our Constitution? And “vengeful partisans”? When is the defense of the Constitution a matter of vengeance and partisanship? And is the idea that a potential media portrayal trumps the oath that Democratic officeholders took to uphold and defend the Constitution? Is this what we have come to? If it is, again I ask why should we care whether those who trash our rights are called Republicans or Democrats?

  21. yonodeler says:

    DHS would be an ever-bigger operator in the surveillance universe George W. Bush wants. How many ways is Chertoff trying to take care of “the homeland”?

    We’ll see how DHS does next week on the Gulf Coast. I’d like to think they will perform well, that all needed lessons had been learned; I’d like to, but grounds for confidence are lacking. Non-terrorism disaster preparedness and reaction planning suffer when DHS has readiness for all crimes and all eventualities as its objective, and spends large sums in the effort to develop seamless multi-program access to everyone’s personal data, which access DHS executive officers purport to be a requirement for carrying out the agency’s mission.

  22. Mary says:

    Drive by – I’m glad you’ve got this up, bmaz. I’m in too much of a funk to have much to say. I do remember that, back in the “good old” days, when Dems were still trying to pretend that they were doing something about the war other than using it as political fuel, someone suggested repealing the AUMF (I think it may well have been Clinton) and/or passing some other clarifying resolutions.

    Right now, they have a bloodstained collage of “adjustments” they’ve made with really no gameplan or concept other than to cover up their crimes. To let children be disappeared and tortured with no recriminations. To use the wag of a flag to silence victims finally and forever. But before they leave office, they want to put in place a more broadly based desecration.

    While I agree with Fein that the criminal justice system could be utilized adequately, the truth is, I’m not adamantly opposed to a military model (I think it is a much inferior approach, but not unworkable)

    The problem isn’t that they (the Dems in Congress, the criminals at DOJ, the depraved monstrosities they both work to protect) have elected a military model. It’s that they have pretended to elect a military model to implement something quite different.

    It’s a not a matter of military law v. civilian law, it’s a matter of law v. murder; process v. torture, battlefields v. airport and homes and universities. It’s an American 11 yo child disappeared in Afghanistan. A taxi driver tied and beaten so severely on his legs, by so many, with such vicious lawlessness, that his legs would need to be amputated if he had lived, but since he was “legally” tied so that his choices were to tortuously try to stand on pulpified flesh and bone or allow the pressure from his “stress position” to suffocate him slowly and agonizingly. And ery time he summoned any sweat and tear filled effort to make those bludgeoned limbs hold any weight, the “legal choice” of the loyal Bushies came into play, and someone would come in and laughingly batter those limbs once again. And again. Until the efforts failed and the breath stopped.

    That’s really the question – and it’s been answered, hasn’t it? You can point to law over and over, but it doesn’t matter what cases are lost, does it? No matter how you read any case, the loyal Bushies have never really lost, not ever. They each go home at night, they each hug their children, knock back a whiskey, pat themselves on the back that they have the inner decency to deny a woman with an ectopic pregnancy an abortion while the people whose souls and minds they’ve helped destroy never cross their mind.

    The nation has followed the lead of the Dems in Congress, the “lawyers” for the Administration, and the infotainment industry offerings, whether on CNN or 24, the series. And so no one is going to do anything.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      Mary, I do hold out hope that an Obama Presidency/Dem Congress would do good work, but only if it were possible to do a substantial sweep. Otherwise, no chance.

  23. plunger says:

    Here’s a great HD quality video of Sarah Palin, in heels, drinking coffee – purportedly seven months pregnant:


    Watch the whole thing and see if you can spot the pregnant woman. Perhaps she was selected over Lieberman for the Israeli flag affixed to her office window (see image on landing page).

    The baby was her daughter’s.

  24. plunger says:

    Watch as the two “off shore drilling” candidates twist in the wind when the aerial footage of oil slicks in the gulf start to roll-in after Gustav passes through.

  25. klynn says:


    I think the raids are an effort to push citizens into full riot in order for the WH to invoke Martial Law.

    Hmmm, what could that do to an election?

  26. klynn says:


    Sent you two emails. The second has an attachment about the Dublin, Ohio Obama-Biden event.

    Enjoy reading about it. It was another WOW!

  27. DrDick says:

    Great post. I was talking about this yesterday. This has me very worried. It is the kind of thing you push through if you are planning to declare marshal law should the elections go against you.

  28. perris says:

    what will become of our country even if obama is elected?

    these new ‘extensions” aren’t to secure presidential power if we are to believe the election will unseat this administration

    (it might not, he can still declare martial law and suspend the constitution any time he wants

    this is about inoculating themselves from future charges

  29. bmaz says:

    Appears unlikely to make it out of committee in House or Senate. After Boumediene and Parhat though, the Administration has problems; they would would dearly love to get this slammed through somehow or another.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, marcy correctly pointed out earlier that it is not actually a news dump, the facts have been around a while; it is an important story though and I am glad Lichtblau did the story. There will be a lot of this kind of stuff being inserted and ingrained into the laws and administrative system to try to preclude accountability.

      • ratfood says:

        The Bush junta will be in full CYA mode right up until January. Cheney’s shadow government is probably working on it around the clock.

  30. cinnamonape says:

    bmaz- I agree with you fully that we need to be especially vigilant at times when the MSM will seek to ignore these well interred efforts to permanentize the Unconstitutional actions of this Administration. I think the progressive blogosphere is about the only place that these actions can be unveiled.

    At the same time it is also important to realize that presumably insignificant “social” events are going to play a critical part in winning our battles. I suspect it is hardwired (or at least strongly disposed) in our heritage as H. sapiens to regard “gossip items” as substitutes for deeper discussions on policy. Recall how the country got quite sidetracked on issues relating to a former Presidents inability to control his sexual urges…and despite the nation generally thinking Clinton did a good job, impacted the results of the following election.

    Palin is, indeed, “a means to an end”. And I think that one has to be very careful about allowing the other Party (and their willing myrmidons in the MSM) to frame her as some sort of corruption-fighting young female version of John “Maverick” McCain. To achieve victory one has to be vigilant about what the “ends” that the right-wing wants to achieve…but also one needs to undercut their “means” to achieve those ends. Palin is a desperate effort to re-invigorate the fundamentalist wing of the Republican Party. The fact that she is a Creationist, with strong ties to organizations that want to ban not only abortion in cases of rape and incest, but also restrict most contraceptive methods…these points need to be strongly made. Her inexperience, and the fact that she is going to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency (and likely nominee in 2012) if McCain is elected, is something that can really mobilize progressive women once they are made aware of her background.

    While I worry that the approaches some have resorted to (ie. questioning the circumstances of her sons birth) may be a Rovian double-switch (ala the Bush Military records), there will hopefully be a debate between Biden and Palin on many of these issues.

  31. cinnamonape says:

    Seems that the wiki editors could find out. This isn’t a new phenomenon.
    Congressional staff edit wiki entries

    Clearly someone involved closely with Palin made the changes. The question is “who”?

    In addition, I noticed that the Photo section of Palin’s Official Alaskan Gubernatorial website expunged a whole lot of photos (and perhaps other materials). It seems someone thought that certain images and associations that helped her image in Alaska were not apropos on a national stage. Many of these images have been mirrored on other sites, soi they couldn’t expunge her complete history of associations with “weird groups” and undertaking acts that many in the rest of the US would find “very odd”.

  32. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Apologize if this is redundant, but Sandy Levinson at Jack Balkin’s place posted two excellent take-downs on the Palin nomination and those reluctant to criticize it. Another irresponsible strewing of shiny objects to distract the masses in hopes of gaining temporary advantage, continuing the running of the GOP by its electioneers.

    Do any Goopers need skill in actually running government? Nope. They all already know how to empty the cookie jar and scare mom to death if she refuses to make more.