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The Cost of War

Recent Books I have Read and Recommend

  • "John Adams" by David McCollough
  • "Traitor to His Class" by H.W. Brands
  • "FDR" by Jean Edward Smith
  • "Truman" by David McCollough
  • "Thomas Jefferson Passionate Pilgrim" by Alf J. Mapp, Jr.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Chicken has come Home to Roost!

Memos from Whitehouse lawyers, from the Office of Legal Counsel, justifying things unconscionable in a free society such as ours were released on Monday to the American people. Among the documents from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) is a 2001 memo declaring that in terrorism cases the military may conduct searches in the United States without a warrant if approved by the president. "We conclude that the president has ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States," wrote John Yoo, then a deputy assistant attorney general. "We further believe that the use of such military force generally is consistent with constitutional standards, and that it need not follow the exact procedures that govern law enforcement operations."

The ACLU has been trying for years to get these memos released but were blocked by the Bush administration who cited national security, attorney-client privilege and the need to protect the government's deliberative process. These memos were written after the September 11th 2001 attack on The World Trade Center buildings in New York City. They gave opinions that the president, in time of war, could pretty much do anything he wanted. They used the Constitution and opinions written in the "Federalist Papers," mostly by Alexander Hamilton, to defend their arguments. Now, history tells us that Hamilton was a true conservative, believing that people are inherently evil and need other people who are born into aristocracy, or by attaining wealth, adopted into aristocracy, to govern the commons as they see fit. So, I am not sure that Hamilton would be the best person to back up one's opinions on war powers of a president in a free society, but these lawyers were trying to justify their opinions as best they could. There are eight memos in all and the justice department has said there will be more forthcoming.

Senate Judiciary chair Pat Leahy has called for a commission to be setup to investigate these memos and the lawyers that wrote them and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said: "These memos appear to have given the Bush administration a legal blank check to trample on Americans' civil rights. We need to get to the bottom of what happened at O.L.C. and ensure it never happens again." I agree with Senator Whitehouse and applaud all efforts by the Obama administration to bring these memos out to the people for their education and judgment.

Some material in this post taken from article on written by Terry Frieden CNN Justice Producer

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