by Walter Brasch
The chairman of the Republican National Committee may have begun an irreversible descent into a future as a fear-bound paranoid victim of functional amnesia, possibly caused by a hysterical post-traumatic event such as the overwhelming victory of Democrats in the 2008 election and the nation’s repudiation of Republican policies.
In a two-page vitriol-loaded letter dated “Friday morning”—he apparently was unable to remember the exact date—Robert M. (Mike) Duncan, RNC chairman, told Americans that the Democrats plan to “impose their radical leftist agenda on America,” and that Republicans “must work vigilantly to guard our country’s freedoms from the inevitable assault [by Democrats] they will face.” He didn’t mention that not one of Barack Obama’s proposed cabinet members nor any of the members of the current Congress is a “radical leftist.”
It’s really sad that Mike forgot that fear-mongering, obstruction of justice, reduction of public information, distrust and resentment of the worker, and curtailment of civil liberties—with the complicity of millions of Americans and much of the Democratic leadership who willingly crumpled under unremitting Neocon assaults—have been the base of the Bush–Cheney Administration and a Republican-dominated Congress for most of the past eight years. Perhaps I can shock what little memory Mike may have left in the hope that some of his brain cells may once again function.
It was the Republicans, not the Democrats, who systematically violated the Constitution, while screaming “The terrorists are coming! The terrorists are coming!” There isn’t enough space in one column to enumerate all the constitutional abuses, but here’s a starter package:
● The Bush–Cheney Administration, and their Republican supporters, stands convicted in federal courts of suppressing constitutional rights of free expression (First Amendment), unreasonable searches and the right of privacy (Fourth Amendment), right against self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment), due process (Sixth Amendment), of invoking reasonable bail and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment (Eighth Amendment), and the equal protection guarantee for both citizens and non-citizens (Fourteenth Amendment.) The conservative-leaning Supreme Court has also ruled that the Administration violated the habeas corpus clause (Article I, Section 9, Clause 2) of the Constitution, which guarantees the right of prisoners to challenge why they are incarcerated. That clause guarantees against arbitrary and capricious imprisonment.
● The acronym-happy Bush–Cheney Administration and not the Democrats created several programs—including MATRIX, TIPS, TIAP, TTIC, TALON, and CAPPS II, among others—to spy upon Americans, and curtail their constitutionally-mandated rights of due process and protections against invasion of privacy.
●Under a massive plan prepared in the White House, Americans have been arrested for peacefully protesting. Non-violent organizations, including Greenpeace, the Quakers and Veterans for Peace, were the subject of governmental spying and labeled as terrorist organizations.
● The Republicans, not the Democrats, accepted and encouraged the use of torture and kidnapping in violation of numerous international treaties.
● The President willfully and deliberately violated the Posse Comitatus Act that prohibits the military from enforcing civilian law.
But, wait, just as in a paid telemarketing pitch, there’s more from the RNC that we need to deconstruct:
“We will . . . continue to stand for . . . strong national security. . . .”
Perhaps it was too long ago for Mike to remember that the President and Attorney General early in 2001 refused to fund the FBI’s request for additional funds for counter-terrorism surveillance. A few months later, George W. Bush and his senior advisors didn’t pay much attention to a Presidential Daily Briefing report titled, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside U.S.” A month later, al-Qaeda attacked the United States.
During the next couple of years, the Bush–Cheney Administration launched a propaganda campaign to whip American frenzy into attacking Iraq, which not only had no ties to bin Laden and al-Qaeda but didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. Bush, Dick Cheney, and six other top officials lied 935 times about national security issues in the two years following 9/11, according to an analysis by the impartial Center for Public Integrity. During the past seven years, the President and Vice-President obstructed legal and legitimate investigations into the attacks of 9/11.
During the war in Iraq, which left Afghanistan, home of al-Qaeda, almost a minor afterthought, the Bush–Cheney Administration and their legions of supporters preached a doctrine of supporting the troops as a back-door way to get Americans to pledge loyalty to the Administration. But, it was this Administration that opposed pay raises for combat troops, and failed to provide adequate body and vehicle armor or adequate medical and psychological care.