Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Hate The War

Today's snapshot mentions a debate at Columbia. Maria Recio's "Third-party debate's only confirmed participant: the moderator" (McClatchy Newspapers) informs that it's iffy with Cynthia McKinney saying she's doing another debate, Ralph Nader hedging and apparently no real desire for it. This will be noted in tomorrow's snapshot and unless there's some confirmation (from other than Columbia which, this afternoon, thought the debate was a go), we're not going to worry about highlighting. Turning to Iraq, Demetri Sevastopulo's "Accord paves way for US to leave Iraq by 2012" (Financial Times of London) explains why those who do not know the Constitution, shouldn't be allowed to cover certain subjects (and when he says "yesterday" he means Thursday):

The US and Iraq have reached agreement on a draft security accord that would pave the way for US combat troops to leave Iraq by the end of 2011, officials said yesterday.
Washington and Baghdad have sought agreement for months over a document to replace the soon-to-expire UN mandate that gives US forces authority to operate in Iraq.
Robert Gates, US defence secretary, yesterday began briefing politicians on Capitol Hill. The agreement still requires approval by the Iraqi parliament.
Democrats have previously criticised the administration of George W. Bush, the president, for not agreeing to submit any deal to Congress for approval. But Mr Gates had promised that he would consult with lawmakers on the accord.

Yes, Geoff did that song and dance for reporters and hopefully everyone's not as uninformed about the Constitution as Sevastopulo. (Geoff Morrell is who told the press Gates was speaking to a few members of Congress.)

Apparently, it's time for another civics lesson because, as we all know, reporters are nothing but glorified general studies majors. Article II, Section II addresses treaties and the pertinent section is below:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

Advice and Consent of the Senate. The meaning has never been in question. It has always been interpreted to mean a treaty is ratified by the Senate (or not ratified as the case may be). Poor little Demetri Sevastopulo comes off sounding as idiotic as Diane Sawyer in that infamous Dixie Chicks interview where she repeatedly badgered them about the "commander-in-chief." The Dixie Chicks are not and were not in the military. A president of the United States is not the commander-in-chief of the US. He or she is only the commander-in-chief of the military. Again, they're glorified general studies majors. Useless gas bags who think they know everything but rarely know anything. If that seems harsh, consider the gas they've released throughout 2008.

No, Demetri Sevastopulo, the Secretary of Defense choosing to tell some Congressional leaders (of his choosing) about the treaty is not Advice and Consent. You not only reveal your ignorance of the Constitution, you also review your ignorance of history.

From the US Senate's page on treaties:

The Constitution gives the Senate the power to approve, by a two-thirds vote, treaties made by the executive branch.
The Senate has rejected relatively few of the hundreds of treaties it has considered in its history. Many others, however, have died in committee or been withdrawn by the president rather than face defeat.
Some presidents have found it helpful to include senators in negotiating treaties in order to help pave the way for later Senate approval.
The requirement for a two-thirds vote ensures that a treaty will need bipartisan support to be approved.
The Senate may also amend a treaty or adopt various changes, which may lead the other nation, or nations, to further negotiate the treaty.
The president may also enter into executive agreements with foreign nations that are not subject to Senate approval.

Is it clear to you, Sevastopulo? Does that enter your general studies lame brain? Do you not grasp that what Gates is doing is attempting to provide cover for the White House to circumvent the Constitution and to get away with doing that because the PRESS IS FULL OF UNEDUCATED IDIOTS who never fail to flaunt their ignorance given the chance.

From the same Senate page:

In rejecting a treaty with the Wabash and Illinois Indians, the Senate in 1794, for the first time, exercised its right to refuse its consent to a treaty negotiated by the executive branch. In 1825, the Senate first rejected an international treaty, turning down, by a vote of 0 to 40, a convention with Colombia for the suppression of the slave trade. The Senate has rejected relatively few of the hundreds of treaties it has considered in its more than two-hundred-year history. Many others, however, have died in committee or been withdrawn by the president rather than face defeat.

The White House does not want the approval of the Senate. On a bipartisan basis, senators have called out this nonsense. We made a point to go over that in today's snapshot when I returned a friend's call (a reporter -- and, of course, my friends are exempted in the blanket comparison to general studies majors) and learned what Geoff stated at the Pentagon today. It is an attempt to make it appear that the White House is honoring the Constitution so that if the Senate objects (or members of the House for that matter, or any American who grasps the meaning of the Article II, Section II), it will look like whining. That's why Geoff needed the talking point to get into the news cycle. And thanks to idiots like Demetri Sevastopulo, it's in the news cycle not only without question, but with admiration.

This administration has done that repeatedly and they're hoping to do it again. When I returned the call and learned what Geoff had stated, it became important to use the snapshot today to review what the Senators had said in open hearings about the proposed treaty. The Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden made it very clear that calling it a SOFA did not make it so. Russ Feingold was very clear about what the Constitution allowed for and didn't allow. Hillary Clinton pointed out that Americans would find it very strange that not only was the Constitution not being followed but, in Iraq, their legislative body would approve (or not) the treaty while in the United States, the Senate's Constitutional role would be circumvented and ignored.

Ryan Crocker, Ambassador to Iraq, and various members of the State Dept have repeatedly gone to Congress this year and stated that the treaty wouldn't be submitted to the Senate. That is circumventing the Constitution. If you're too stupid to grasp that you don't know Constitutional issues, you're too stupid to cover treaties and your outlet needs to reassign you. I have no sympathy for anyone who can't pick up the phone long enough to find out the basic facts before going goo-goo-gaa-gaa over the administration's latest power grab. Of course, if they sought out the help they so sorely need, they probably wouldn't go goo-goo-gaa-gaa when someone attempts to circumvent the Highest Law of the Land.

It's not just that I don't have time for your stupidity, it's that America can't afford your stupidity. The Iraq War is illegal for a number of reasons. Domestically, it is illegal because the 2002 authorization by Congress included conditions that must be met (and Congress members thought it would be put to another vote should war be declared). Those conditionals were never met. The Iraq War started out illegal and Bully Boy wants to go out of office making it more illegal by ignoring the Constitution (breaking the law, actually) and tying the hands of his successor -- whomever it may be -- to his failed policies.

If attempting to grasp the Constitution or paying attention to Congressional hearings is too much for the lazy and stupid in the press (the same press that has enabled all of Bully Boy's illegal actions for the last eight years), they could have checked for public statements in columns. US House Reps Bill Delahunt and Rosa DeLauro penned "The Wrong Partnership for Iraq" (Washington Post) and it was published July 8th:

First, the editorial failed to recognize congressional obligations, imposed by the Constitution, on governing the use of our armed forces. The Post argued that barring a "formal commitment to defend Iraq from external aggression," congressional approval of the agreement is not required. Yet constitutional scholars testifying before the oversight subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have stated that "the authority to fight" that the administration seeks from Iraq does indeed require congressional approval. Requiring international legal approval of combat is what makes this agreement anything but what the administration incorrectly calls it: a "status of forces agreement."
The U.N. mandate provides the last legal thread of domestic U.S. authority for combat because "enforcing relevant U.N. resolutions" was one of the two activities cited by the 2002 vote in Congress authorizing the use of force against Iraq (the other being to dispose of the threat posed by
Saddam Hussein). If the U.N. mandate expires on Dec. 31, so does domestic authority for our troops to fight, along with their immunity from Iraqi prosecution. This is precisely the "legal vacuum" that constitutional scholars Bruce Ackerman and Oona Hathaway detailed in an April 5 op-ed, " The War's Expiration Date," on

Read the entire column. It offers reality, history and facts. You know, all the things absent from Demetri Sevastopulo's 'reporting.' ('Reporting' that boils down to, the Pentagon said it, so it's taaah-ruuuuee!)

Iraq fell off the radar as All Things Media Big and Small decided their true role was in electing a president and anything else could just wait. The treaty can't be allowed to slide through and that should be clear to Barack supporters, McCain supporters, Ralph supporters, Cynthia supporters, Bob Barr supporters, Chuck Baldwin supporters. Whomever becomes president will have their hands tied by the treaty. As Joe Biden pointed out in April, the State Dept can say it is 'non-binding' but that's not how Iraqis see it. Meaning that even if the next president wants to break the illegal treaty that Bully Boy wants to push through, doing so will be seen as a huge slap in the face to Iraqis (if they approve the treaty). That's going to be a huge obstacle for the next president. So regardless of whom you're supporting (or if you're not planning to vote), the issue of the treaty should matter to you and, yes, it damn well matters whether or not reporters can get their facts right.

Community members get it so let's turn to Barack supporters. You want Barack in the White House. You want Barack to lead the country. If Bully Boy pushes this treaty through, Barack is bound by it unless he breaks it. If he breaks it, he's at risk of offending the Iraqis. If he breaks it and anything goes wrong, for the rest of our lives, we will hear from the right, for years and years to come, Barack lost the Iraq War. We'll hear that if only Barack had honored the treaty, the Iraq War would have had a noble end. The White House wants to push through because they want a fall person for the Iraq War.

That's why Delahunt and DeLauro argue for the United Nations mandate being briefly extended. (The UN mandate expires December 31st. It did not authorize the illegal war. The Iraq War had already started before the mandate existed. The mandate legalizes the occupation.)

Bully Boy is a lame duck president due out in a matter of months. He should not be allowed to push through a treaty without the advise and consent of the Senate. He's trying to save his own ass. (No, it can't be, but has Bully Boy ever grasped that before?) Without the Senate pouring over the treaty and debating it (and recommending changes if they are so inclined) before approving or disproving, Bully Boy's able to put an anchor around the neck of the next president. So Barack supporters should be as outraged as everyone else. Do you really want the man who started the illegal war to dictate the terms of ending the illegal war to your candidate?

The press needs to do their job. Part of doing their job is grasping when they don't know what the hell they're covering. Demetri Sevastopulo may demonstrate that ignorance is bliss, but it's bliss for Sevastopulo only. For those who believe in the Constitution, Sevastopulo's ignorance is appalling.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4180. Tonight? 4185. Just Foreign Policy lists 1,273,378 as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war . . . same number they listed last week and the Thursday before. Imagine that, three weeks where no Iraqis have died! (Yes, the dying has continued. It's only the counter that has stopped.)

mcclatchy newspapers
maria recio
demestri sevastopulo
the washington postbill delahuntrosa delauro