Thursday, July 27, 2006


Too Late for Empire

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For all its wealth and dreams of military domination over the past half-century, the US has misunderstood the nature of power and so has become "the fool of history". Its story is not one of success followed by crisis, but of a deep failure; nor is it a tale of a successful empire now in crisis, but of a failed empire, now in disarray. Redemption could lie in learning the limitations on the use of force. - Jonathan Schell
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From Asia Times comes this fascinating and informed article about the truths of America and its government, its failures and its oppresion. Below is a small portion quoted, that points the way to much else that is wrong. For those of you that are looking for another opinion besides your own, this is excellent information.
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President George W Bush sent US troops into Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but they weren't there.
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He said Saddam Hussein's regime had given help to al-Qaeda, but it had not.
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He therefore took the nation to war on the basis of falsehoods.
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His administration says the torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and elsewhere has been the work of a few bad apples in the military, whereas in fact abuses were sanctioned at the highest levels of the executive branch in secret memos.
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His administration lambastes leakers, but its own officials illegally leaked the name of a Central Intelligence Agency operative, Valerie Plame, to discredit her husband politically.
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He flatly stated to the public that all wiretaps of Americans were ordered pursuant to court warrants, whereas in fact he was authorizing and repeatedly reauthorizing warrantless wiretaps. These wiretaps violated a specific law of Congress forbidding them.
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His administration has asserted a right to imprison Americans as well as foreigners indefinitely without the habeas corpus hearings required by law. Wars of aggression, torture, domestic spying and arbitrary arrest are the hallmarks of dictatorship, yet Congress, run by the president's party, has refused to conduct full investigations into either the false WMD claims, or the abuses and torture, or the warrantless wiretaps, or the imprisonment without habeas corpus.
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When Congress passed a bill forbidding torture and the president signed it, he added a "signing statement" implying a right to disregard its provisions when they conflicted with his interpretation of his powers.
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The president's secret legal memos justifying the abuses and torture are based on a conception of the powers of the executive that gives him carte blanche to disregard specific statutes as well as international law in the exercise of self-granted powers to the commander-in-chief nowhere mentioned in the constitution.
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If accepted, these claims would fundamentally alter the structure of the US government, upsetting the system of checks and balances and nullifying fundamental liberties, including guarantees in the Fourth Amendment to the constitution against unreasonable searches and seizures and guarantees of due process. As such, they embody apparent failures of the president to carry out his oath to "preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States".


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