Democratic thinking

Articles on democracy in the independent online media

January 07, 2006

Americans for democracy?

So it is with the stunning revelation that the White House has ordered the illegal, warrantless wiretapping of American citizens in brazen defiance of federal law and the U.S. Constitution.
If allowed to stand, Bush's actions will have taken the United States a long way down the road to military dictatorship. Indeed, that's essentially what his legalistic enablers, starting with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Vice President Cheney, argue: that in wartime, the commander in chief can take any action he deems appropriate to protect the nation - bypassing Congress and the courts to assert the primacy of the presidency until declaring victory in the "war on terror."
As terrorism is not an enemy, but a tactic - a vile, cowardly tactic, but, by definition, not subject to being defeated - the metaphorical war against it could last indefinitely. And as long as it lasts, the commander in chief rules by fiat. Our constitutional rights exist at his sufferance.

If the president, any president, can unilaterally declare the Fourth Amendment (forbidding unreasonable search and seizure) null and void, why not the First Amendment protecting a free press? Why not the Second Amendment? We can't let terrorists have guns, can we?
Far-fetched? Today, maybe. Tomorrow, maybe not. This drugstore cowboy won't be president forever, you know. Anyway, I take it to be roughly those things Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam war veteran, meant when he emphasized that: "I took an oath of office to the Constitution. I didn't take an oath of office to my party or to my president."

Full article.

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