Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Impeachment: Bush appoints Rice SecDef without Senate approval

Andrew Johnson was impeached for making unlawful appointments.

Bush's appointing Rice -- Secretary of State -- as "lead" in combat zones -- in effect, making her SecDef -- is no different.

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Yes, I know Bush hasn't actually appointed Rice as SecDef -- but if you look at the missions assigned to State, he's essentially done that. I'm forecasting another mess like Katrina.

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It appears Bush is relying on Rice's NSC-leadership role, but transferring that authority from both the NSC and DoD to State.

We judge the changed roles, missions, oversight, and responsibilities have not been sufficiently coordinated with Congress.

Beware the name change -- Bush no different than Johnson.

without authority of law, while the Senate of the United States was then and there in session, he did appoint one Lorenzo Thomas to be Secretary for the Department of War, ad interim, without the advice and consent of the Senate, and with intent to violate the Constitution of the United States, no vacancy having happened in said office of Secretary for the Department of War during the recess of the Senate Article III

Put this on your impeachment list.

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Look at this function, which would require State to coordinate with intelligence, military, and other units:

[The transfer of authority would] enable Washington to assist foreign governments in preventing their territory from being used as a safe haven for "terrorists, organized crime groups" or others who posed a threat to the United States. More
This essentially puts State in a position of gathering intelligence, analyzing threats, and ensuring plans are in place to mitigate these threats.

  • Isn't that what DoD is supposed to be doing?

  • What happened to the NSC -- what happened to the Joint Staff?


    * * *

    US moving form pre-emptive war to pre-emptive nation building:
    In addition, the United States would work with other countries and organizations to anticipate state failure and "avoid it whenever possible," said the statement.

  • How many military units will State be in charge of to prevent a nation from collapsing?

  • Will State lead efforts against nations like Syria, Iran, and others when there is information [gleaned by abuse, torture -- regardless the reliability] that there might be an imminent collapse of social stability?

  • What if the UN Security Council "refuses to act on imminent-nation-c0llapse" -- Does this mean the US will "go it alone" and "do the right thing" [regardless the legality of that intervention] to avoid the "spillover" into a neighbor?

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    The idea of a General Staff within the Pentagon is to act as a central clearing house, planning center.

    Melanie Anderton, a spokeswoman for that department, said the goal was to improve coordination across U.S. government agencies when a crisis arose and to map out strategy beforehand.

    "Where we will focus is on conflict and trying to avoid conflicts and finding ways to help a country transition out of conflict," Anderton told Reuters.

  • Does State plan on creating-duplicating the DoD's Joint Staff?

  • The previous problem -- between DoD and State -- was a "fight" over roles and responsibilities; how will shifting the role, but not the Joint Staff, solve this problem?

  • How will State possibly oversee the planning/intelligence efforts in DoD and CIA unless those resources are brought under state?

  • In the wake of 9-11, "the problem" [arguably, excuse] was that there was no centralized intelligence mechanism over CIA, DoD, and FBI. How will shifting the analysis, assessment, and planning role from DoD-CIA-FBI-Joint Staff to State address this issue -- how will the "problems of coordination" [arguably entrenched within the NSC, where Rice was] we saw in re 9-11 possibly be solved by keeping the same NSC-leadership [which failed] in charge of the same efforts?

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    How does State envision using CIA assets or Special Forces in troubled, crisis zones:

    Projects her office was currently working on included trouble zones Sudan and Haiti where teams were drawing up strategic plans on how to cope with crises in those countries.

  • Will State exercise command over special forces units deployed to gather intelligence?

  • Will State exercise control over CIA assets on the ground to gather information, conduct interrogations, or engage in unconventional warfare, or liaison with the local area intelligence efforts?

  • How would State have handled the pre-Iraq-invasion planning; why would we expect anything different with this new arrangement?

  • One of the problems with the pre-invasion planning wasn't that there was no planning -- but that the White House failed to heed the experts who stated clearly what the risks were and what needed to be done. How will this new arrangement address the White House-NSC problem of ignoring information and ensuring that the needed plan is in place?

  • Rice as NSC leader was in a position to affect the pre-Iraq-invasion planning. It appears the same players that refused to heed the warnings from CIA and State have simply moved from the White House to the same organizations which were ignored, failed, and sidelined. Why would we believe Rice, in her new role as Secretary of State, will be able to accomplish this function more effectively --

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    One of the problems in re Katrina was the poor link between resources and the leadership. It appears as though the Senate has not been given chance to discuss this change. Bluntly, Federal resources were not effectively coordinated.

    It appears the same problem is brewing with this new arrangement. But rather than isolate the problem -- ineffective command and control of resources outside the department -- to the United States, the new change is likely to affect multiple locations.

  • What inputs does the Senate have on this new arrangement?

  • How does the Senate view the lessons of Katrina in light of this arrangement?

  • How will the findings of the Congressional Homeland Security Committees feed into the planning, oversight, and monitoring of State's new role?

  • Does the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committee concurs with the changes?

  • How effectively has the Executive discussed the changes with both the Senate Armed Services, House Armed Services, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the House Foreign Relations Committee?

    * * *

    Take a look at the powers Bush has transferred from SecDef to State:

  • Organization: Applying NSC leadership role to State, still acting as oversight over State, CIA, USAID

    The Secretary of State shall coordinate and lead integrated United States Government efforts, involving all U.S. Departments and Agencies with relevant capabilities, to prepare, plan for, and conduct stabilization and reconstruction activities.

  • Envisions US military action

    Depending on the situation, these operations can be conducted with or without U.S. military engagement.

  • President, as Commander in Chief, defers oversight and coordinating responsibility from NSC/President to State:

    When the U.S. military is involved, the Secretary of State shall coordinate such efforts with the Secretary of Defense to ensure harmonization
    with any planned or ongoing U.S. military operations across the spectrum of

  • Envisions a coordinating role above and beyond military resources

    The United States shall work with other countries and organizations, to anticipate state failure, avoid it whenever possible, and respond quickly and effectively when necessary and appropriate to promote peace, security, development, democratic practices, market economies, and the rule of law.