Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Towards a monarchical President

Glenn Greenwald has a post up today about Cheney aide David Addington salivating at the prospect of another terrorist attack on US soil because it will allow he and ideological compatriots to get rid of that pesky FISA law which prevents the federal government from spying on US citizens without a warrant.

I thought it might be proper to point out that Addington was part of the staff that developed the Congressional minority report in 1987 which stated that sometimes the President can utilize his "monarchical notions of prerogative that will permit him to exceed the laws."

These folks are that bad, and yet, as Greenwald points out, Congress gives them pretty much everything they want.

Perhaps most infuriating is the fact that, as it turns out, violating these laws in secret was not even necessary -- because Congress was, and still is, more than happy to legalize whatever they wanted to do. Almost immediately after the Supreme Court finally imposed some mild limitations on the President's detention and interrogation powers -- first in Hamdi, then in Hamdan -- Congress, as Goldsmith says, "promptly passed a law that gave him everything he asked for, authorizing many aspects of the military commissions that the Supreme Court had struck down."

And the terrorist bomb about which David Addington was fantasizing in order to get rid of FISA was equally unnecessary, since the Democratic Congress, in the face of the types of threats Goldsmith recounts Addington routinely made -- "the blood of the hundred thousand people who die in the next attack will be on your hands" -- just eviscerated the crux of FISA's protections by law. Hence, what began as the administration's illegal and secret abuses have become the legally sanctioned policies of the United States.
Like Chalmers Johnson said, we're a boat on the Niagra River and we're headed for a fall unless something changes.

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