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Willful ignorance of the obvious.

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Two stories in the national news illustrate how ignoring George Bush's crimes allows him to get away with them and how falsely conceding that his crimes are a fiat accompli allows his crimes to be established as irreversible and that somehow, we must deal with his crimes instead of just straightforwardly prosecuting him for them.

An article in the Washington Post:

"US military reports from the scene of the Sept. 16 shooting incident involving the security firm Blackwater USA indicate that its guards opened fire without provocation and used excessive force against Iraqi civilians."

The article fails to put the incident in context by not mentioning the precedent set by George Bush, who had his armed men "open fire without provocation and used excessive force against Iraqi civilians."  The fact that George Bush attacked Iraq in March of 2003 without provocation and did exactly the same thing that Blackwater did, but on a much larger scale, which set the pattern for Blackwater's behavior toward Iraqis, is ignored.  Not mentioned.  Nothing about it.

The faulting of Blackwater for only doing what George Bush started doing and is doing, the shooting without provocation and use of excessive force against iraqi civilians, this failure of the Washington Post to report the full story that would put it in perspective and context is exemplified by the answer to my question to the reader advocate of my local paper.  I asked him if George Bush were to say, "This is President George Bush speaking to you from Mars," would the reporters in attendance report that Bush was, in fact, sitting at his desk in the Oval Office when he made that statement.

His answer was inexplicable.  He said, "Oh, gee, Ed, that's a tough one," and went on to explain that the reporters' only obligation is to report what George Bush said.  According to him and the news media generally, they have no obligation to report facts that contradict George Bush.  This willful ignorance of the obvious is why George Bush is still President and why he's able to continue his Iraq war as long as he wants.  As long as the news media will only quote George Bush for the sensationalism of headline grabs without reporting that they know for a fact that he's lying, they're not reporting all of the facts that they know, which of course, is not telling the truth.

An article in the Christian Science Monitor:

"Restore habeas, restore security."  The article is by William H. Neukom, President of the American Bar Association, who is, presumably, a lawyer.  The title of the article is a rhetorical fallacy called begging the question, where a supposed fact is implied in the phrase.  It falsely implies that habeas corpus has been removed and must be restored without any evidence that habeas corpus has been removed.  Neukom's willful ignoring of the obvious fact that habeas corpus has not been removed from the Constitution leaves the false impression on the gullible that George Bush has done it.  His failure to state all of the facts doesn't tell the truth.

Neukom writes that, "After the Supreme Court ruled that enemy combatants could file habeas claims in federal courts, Congress last year passed the Military Commissions Act, which prohibits courts from hearing such cases."

Neukom conceding that George Bush has removed habeas corpus is incorrect.  I just reviewed Article l, Section 9 of the Constitution, and guess what?  It's still there.  That's right, Neukom's wrong, it hasn't been removed.  "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."  Article V says that habeas corpus will be in the Constitution until two thirds of both houses propose an amendment or two thirds of state legislatures call a convention proposing an amendment and when ratified by three fourths of the legislatures.  Article VI says that the Constitution shall be the supreme law of the land.  It is the supreme law of the land until it is constitutionally, and only constitutionally, amended.  And, it hasn't been.  It doesn't say anything about George Bush amending it on his say so.

None of these provisions have been inacted.  Mr. Neukom is in error when he implies that George Bush has removed habeas corpus.  This implies that Bush has the power to amend the Constitution however he wants.  As you can see from the above, he doesn't.  Only Congress with the state legislatures can amend it.  I can see that if Neukom has not read the Constitution, he would make this gross error of giving Bush implicit powers that he does not have.  An act of Congress does not and can not remove anything from the Constitution.  A simple reading of the Constitution will prove this.

Bush's Military Commissions Act says, essentially, that George Bush can appoint whoever he wants to military commissions to try defendants and that he can make up his own rules and procedures for the commissions to follow.  It also specifically excludes defendants from using habeas corpus by petition to a court of law.

There are several things wrong with the Military Commissions Act, not only the several violations of the Constitution.  The military is a part of the executive branch, which has no courts.  It's tiresome to have to repeat the lessons to Congress and Mr Neukom that we learned in high school civics that the government is composed of the legislative, executive and judicial branches, and that courts come under the judicial branch, not the executive.  The Supreme Court has already ruled that defendants can file habeas corpus petitions in court.  The executive branch has no courts.  George Bush says he's going to try civilian defendants in a military court.  That's being arrested, charged and tried exclusively ty the executive branch.  There's no judicial process, no right to your day in court.  It's like being arrested by the cops, taken downtown to the police station and being tried by a tribunal made up of cops appointed by the chief of police, who makes up the rules and procedures on the admission of evidence and testimony as he goes along.  You're being tried by the same people who arrested you, ignoring the requirement for the separation of powers.  That's what's happening with the defendants at Guantanamo.  And, it's what will happen to you and me if Bush has his way.

The military occupying powers in Germany in 1945, as the only ruling authority, since there was no government and no courts, set up the Nuremberg Military Tribunal to try war criminals.  We have a government, a judicial system, a Congress and an executive branch.  George Bush is trying supposed "enemy combatants," not war criminals.  He's trying them as if he were the sole occupying power of the United States and he is the only government authority.  Mr. Bush was careful to classify the defendants as enemy combatants and not war criminals, because should his Military Commissions have been tasked with trying war criminals, Mr. Bush would be first on the docket. 

The thing I have strong objections to is people such as Neukom who willingly concede to George Bush the power to violate the Constitution by saying that we must undo what he has done.  Well, he hasn't actually done it and implying that he has gives him credit for having done the impossible.  The fact is that Bush cannot remove habeas corpus.  I will only concede that habeas corpus has been removed from the Constitution when the provisions of Article V have been met.  And, they haven't.

Even though the people of the United States were foolish enough to elect George Bush as President, I sincerely hope that they are not foolish enough to remove the foundation of the law protecting them from an all powerful government and that habeas corpus will endure.  Falsely saying that George Bush has removed it is the first step down that slippery slope that allows it to be removed, not by George Bush, but by saying, "Well, George Bush removed it, there's nothing we can do."  Actually, George Bush didn't remove it and what must be said, over and over, is that, contrary to Mr. Neukom and the news media, it has not been removed.

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Ed Martin is an ordinary person who is recovering from being badly over-educated. Born in the middle of the Great Depression, he is not affiliated with nor a member of any political, social or religious organization. He is especially interested in (more...)
 
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