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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/4/10

Lawless Nation - the Executive Branch

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By Michael Collins
Part I of III


(Image by Imagined Reality)   Details   DMCA

WASHINGTON - Selected to run by the powerful and wealthy, promising the public one thing and by Imagined Reality

WASHINGTON - Selected to run by the powerful and wealthy, promising the public one thing and delivering another after elected, the President of the United States is the focus of a new political doctrine - the unitary executive. The office of the president has rapidly become a law unto itself over the past ten years. (Image)

Some time before February 2010, the President of the United States authorized the assassination of a U.S. citizen living overseas. The citizen was identified by the White House as a terrorist.

Unlike previous government programs to kill individuals overseas, this one wasn't a covert operation. The program was openly announced, without qualification. Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, discussed the plan in February at a congressional hearing. A few weeks later, John O. Brennan, the president's National Security Adviser, announced that the marked man was one of "dozens" of U.S. citizens put on the presidential death list because "they are very concerning to us."

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The principal of unfettered executive power, absent political and judicial restraint, was officially established. Executive power now supersedes established law.

We have come to the point where the president can openly designate a U.S. citizen as a terrorist removing all rights, including the right to life. The administration implied that this was for overseas targets only. But recall that the illegal wiretapping program was originally for overseas calls only. It rapidly spread to domestic surveillance as well.

We have laws that require investigations, indictments, and trials prior to applying any sentence, let alone the death penalty. Those laws were cast aside, replaced by executive fiat.

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Who spoke out against this assumption of executive prerogative? Very few. What is the next step?

Will terrorists designated by the executive branch be targeted for execution in what is now referred to as the homeland?

This open proclamation of lawlessness by the president was asserted and accepted without so much as a whimper by the other branches of government, political leaders, and the mainstream media.

War Making and other Lawlessness

The broadest premeditated program of lawlessness by the executive branch concerns war making. The U.S. has not declared a war since World War II when President Franklin D. Roosevelt gained congressional approval for declarations of war against Japan and Germany in December, 1941, then Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania in June, 1942.

The military efforts in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, for example, were all wars. Yet, with one exception, every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt committed the nation to war or the continuation of war without the required congressional declaration.

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The Constitution couldn't be more explicit. Only Congress has the power to declare war: "The Congress shall have power to " Declare war "" (Article I, Section 8). Calling a war by another name does not justify bypassing the requirement for congressional action. It's still a war. Yet the governing law, the U.S. Constitution, has been ignored time and again.

This is the ultimate lawlessness. It invokes the major efforts of people, material, and ongoing expenditures. These wars result in injuries, deaths, and destruction in the nations attacked and injury and death to U.S. citizens unlawfully committed. In addition, the wars fuel substantial ill will and hostility toward the United States.

Congress has been consulted, so to speak, about these wars. Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, for example, President Bush had to prove that Iraq was an imminent danger to the United States. The intelligence community produced a report that wrongly indicated that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But the only scenario listed for a Saddam Hussein attack on the U.S. was in the case that the U.S. attacked Iraq; the very act the president asked Congress to authorize due to an imminent danger that never existed.

In addition, the pretext for war, 9/11, was bolstered with hysterical fear-mongering that the non existent weapons of mass destruction would be used here. No credible finding was (or has been) made that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11 and George W. Bush has explicitly denied any connection.

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