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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Presidential Power

Considering all the hubbub over President Bush having the NSA spy on some American communications with foreign terrorists, I thought it would be appropriate to do a little research into the matter and see exactly what the President do in the given situation and why. Here is what I found.

The President is the top commander of our military, and as such has the right to make military decisions. Anyone familiar with the military knows that the military does not necessarily operate under the Constitution, but falls under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. All military rights are also outlined there, and they closely resemble the Constitutional rights soldiers give up when we sign up to become government property, but they are not the same. It is also widely acknowledged that the US Constitution does not apply to the enemy when we are actively engaged in a war.

Given what I have just stated, we are forced to examine who, exactly, was being spied on. The monitored communications were exclusively between foreign terrorists, and their agents inside the US. Under the existing laws of warfare, that makes them all enemy combatants, and places them outside the US Constitution and into the military realm. Furthermore, since terrorists do not perform the requisite activities to fall under the protection of the Geneva Convention, they and their supporters lack even that rudimentary protection. Given all of this we are able to do far more than just listen to some phone calls the foreign terrorists make.

Also, just so nobody can miss this essential fact: the ones being spied on were the foreign terrorists! The fact that their communications were with US residents/citizens does not protect the foreign terrorists from being spied on.

Furthermore, even outside of the capacity of Commander in Chief, the President actually has some very broad extralegal powers. Some widely accepted examples are pardons, where the President overrules the rule of law and actually undermines justice in favor of mercy or political favors, and the Executive Order, which is a law issued by the President that utterly bypasses the Congressional process of lawmaking. The Executive Order has other uses as well, like sending the military in to provide disaster relief without first being asked by the State Governor, like so many on both the right and the left were demanding after Katrina hit. What almost all of them failed to realize is that such an action, while within the President’s power, violates the law, and the US Constitution itself. So it seems that there is a sort of selectivity in regards to which extralegal powers the left WANTS the President to exercise.

Further proof of this is found in the Oath of Office for the President. It is unique among the oaths of office made at the federal level because it does not swear to uphold the law. Rather, it swears to execute the Office of the President, which many Constitutional scholars say is a reference to the Founder’s intent that the President hold extralegal powers out of necessity.

Does this give the President Carte Blanch to do whatever he pleases and forget the law? Obviously not, as the Nixon debacle proved when he spied on political opponents and obstructed justice, and as the impeachment of Bill Clinton proved when he too obstructed justice. It does, however, and history has proven, give the President al of the authority he needs to spy on the enemy when we are at war.

So get over it libs. The President did the right thing by spying on those foreign terrorists. And as far as I am concerned, the refusal to acknowledge the fact that foreigners were the primary target of the spying in favor of “American Rights” is silly, short sighted, purely political, bad for America, and borderline treason. Must you make it as easy as possible for our enemies to murder us on our soil?

11 Comments:

  • Daniel: The monitored communications were exclusively between foreign terrorists, and their agents inside the US.

    Really? You know this for a fact? You know of all the communications the NSA monitors and you can say with certainty that they have never monitored anyone who is not a terrorist or one of their agents? Please provide some evidence to back up this claim.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 3:23 PM  

  • No offense Daniel, but I know what your response is going to be. However, this must be said:

    The ACLU, PETA, and Greenpeace are in contact with terrorists?

    And your response will be one of two:

    "Why, they're dirty liberal commie pinkos so OF COURSE they are in contact with the terrorists!"

    "Obviously the President had reasonable doubt to investigate these organizations."

    Seeing that you are an intelligent person, I hope you choose the second response. At least we can debate that one; the first is nothing but bigoted and misguided hatred.

    By Blogger Son of Lilith, at 3:43 PM  

  • Apparently there is some confusion here, at least, I hope it's confusion because the alternative is rather ugly.

    The monitored communications that such a big deal are being made over are wiretaps on calls between foriegn terrorists and US citizens. I do not pretend to know what all of the NSA's monitoring activities are, and I am only referring to the ones libs are currently howling about. To infer anything beyond this narrow subject is ludicrous and distracts from the isssue.

    I have a third response to M. Brandon Robbins' question. Group by group.

    The ACLU has demostrated it's interest in helping terrorists by waging a constant battle in the US court ssytem to have these slime granted "rights" that neither the US Constitution, nor the Geneva Convention grants them. This is known as solidarity and is a suspect thing at best.

    PETA is currently financing at least one domestic terrorist, and is paying for him to go to various universities and teach people how to firebomb places that are considered out of alignment with PETA's philosophy on the treatment of animals.

    Greenpeace has long been suspected of involvement in the environmental terrorist movement, but to my knowledge there is no known concrete proof of their involvement, and as such there is very little chance of getting a warrant to investigate this suspicion.

    Finally, I am going to repeat THE MONITORED CALLS IN QUESTION WERE SPECIFICALLY BETWEEN KNOWN FOREIGN TERRORISTS AND PERSONS IN THE US! No more distractions from the real issue here please.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 3:59 PM  

  • Your fears were well founded, m. brandon, Daniel went for the first response, despite your admonition.

    Daniel: THE MONITORED CALLS IN QUESTION WERE SPECIFICALLY BETWEEN KNOWN FOREIGN TERRORISTS AND PERSONS IN THE US! No more distractions from the real issue here please.

    Ah yes, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 5:37 PM  

  • The President most certainly does not have any "extra-legal" powers; no American does. Further, the President's power to enact Executive Orders is constrained by existing law and the Constitution. The President cannot, under any circumstances, issue an Executive Order that countermands established law.

    The President's role as Commander in Chief does not grant him any authority over civilian personnel, nor does it give him the power to ignore the law or the Constitution.

    Further, you have no way of knowing that only foreign terrorists were being spied on. And even if they were, they were calling U.S. citizens, which means a warrant was required. It doesn't matter if the President finds the law inconvenient; he has no power to ignore it. He is tasked to uphold the Constitution and if he's not up to the job, Bush should feel free to resign.

    Finally, if the NSA was only spying on "foreign terrorists", then why not get a warrant? Further, why did Bush oppose expanding FISA in 2002 to cover just what he's doing now? And why did Alberto Gonzalez lie under oath in front of the Senate when asked by Senator Feingold about this very thing during Gonzalez' confirmation battle? Answer: Bush has authorized spying that he knows will not pass judicial or Congressional muster. It's the only possible answer, other than gross incompetence.

    The President never, ever has the power to ignore either the law or the Constitution. Ever. Anyone who says otherwise is simply ignorant of basic civics.

    But, hey, if you conservatives are so terrified of Al-Qaida that you'll surrender your basic freedoms and civil rights, go right ahead. Personally, I don't like helping the terrorists win, but I guess it's a matter of what ever helps you sleep better at night. I guess Bin Ladin won't need to destroy our way of life; Bush and the conservatives are happy to do that for him.

    By Blogger Samurai Sam, at 7:15 PM  

  • that's what i don't understand, why he didn't just go get congressional consent. Noone's fighting him on stopping terrorism, it's just archaic to think world domination is the only way. The process is there for a reason and for a good reason. If it was being used for proper intentions then why even eat the bad publicity, why not just do it right?

    By Anonymous MalignantVanilla, at 10:33 PM  

  • Sam,

    What you have said suggests that you believe that Foreigners engaging in acts of war against the United States are immune to basic military investigation as long as they are actively conspiring with American Citizens. What a convenient shield you are willing to offer them.

    As for why the President didn't get a warrant from the Congress . . . he doesn't need one to spy on foreigners, and he especially doesn't need one o spy on enemy combatants. On top of that, to seek such a warrant risks compromising the security neccessary to keep the basic secrecy required to succesfully engage in such an operation. Let's face it, the government leaks like a sieve.

    CJB,

    You are so derisive, and yet you choose to ignore the facts presented. What I have stated is both fair and true, without stepping beyond the bounds of what has been fully and duly proven. I made no blanket assumptions, engaged in no name-calling, and presented the facts. It gets tiresome when you continue to argue unfounded opinions and hide your refusal to acknowledge facts behind sarcasm that does nothing effective. For one who has spoken at length about the importance of facts and proof in the past you seem remarkably unconcerned with them when they oppose your personal opinions and bias. I find that to be quite hyppocritical.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 10:45 PM  

  • why he didn't just go get congressional consent

    Because that's the most leak-happy place on the face of the earth.

    I personally don't see a problem with what he did - the Democrats would have just ignored this if a Democrat did something similar. Hey!- Wait a minute...

    By Blogger Rebekah, at 1:24 PM  

  • "What you have said suggests that you believe that Foreigners engaging in acts of war against the United States are immune to basic military investigation as long as they are actively conspiring with American Citizens."

    I think what Sam said was that no US citizen, the president included, is above the law. Do we agree on this notion?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 12:12 PM  

  • Dan,

    At one point, I think that that President even thought that same thing :

    "Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."

    President Bush said that April 20, 2004. Apparently he was either lying or changed his mind to believe that he no longer needed to get those court orders.

    That text is directly from http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/
    2004/04/20040420-2.html

    By Anonymous paul, at 3:39 PM  

  • Okay, so I can agree with THAT president Bush, but not the President Bush we heard a coupla days ago. You reckon he's been kidnapped and replaced by terrorists?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 3:56 PM  

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