Constant's pations

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

Friday, June 30, 2006

4th Reich

It is time to choose.

* * *

If the US Congress decides to make rules that "permit" violations of Geneva, then that is serious.

Geneva requires the following:

- A method to review whether people are or are not reasonably being treated; and

- A method to ensure that the statutus of a prisoner is based on reality, not desire.

If the US Congress choose to create rules which defy Geneva, and keep people in limbo, then the message is clear: The US is not serious about waging lawful war.

It is a serious matter when Congress and members of the American legal community would assent to illegal war. Even if the US chooses to remove itself from Geneva, the Congress is incorrectly assuming that the US will forever win all land-air-sea battles.

If Congress chooses to make rules which permit anyone to be mistreated, then under the laws of war and reciprocity, Congress is exposing all US civilians to lawful retaliation.

The US Government, in defiance of the Constitution, cannot guarantee that its citizens will be safe, or that the Constitution will be preserved. Rather, by creating rules that permit uncivil conduct, the US Congress is fueling the very forces that threaten the US Constitution.

Congress, if it passes rules permitting uncivil conduct against anyone for whatever reason, is communicating clearly: "We assent to the fuel we are providing to those who one day may prevail over us, and impose terms of surrender. Those terms may not be pretty."

* * *

Recall the legacy of Nuremburg. It was the winning combatant that prevailed in the court room, deciding that the abrogated treaties remained in force.

If Congress chooses to abrogate treaty obligations that is one thing. But the American public must accept that Congress is making this choice freely on the naive assumption that Americans will forever prevail in all battlefield engagements, and never be in a position to be held accountable for abrogating any treaty.

The 3rd Reich, as does this US Government, assumed it could abrogate any treaty, and do what it wants. The Third Reich is over.

Nuremburg shows us that the defeated enemy can be held to account for abrogating a treaty, or making rules which permit uncivil conduct.

The lesson of Nuremburg is simple: If you abrogate a treaty that otherwise prevents uncivil conduct, then when you lose on the battlefield the winning army may impose consequences as if that treaty remained in full force.

* * *

The issue Americans must ask: Given the setbacks in Afghanistan and Iraq, can we be sure that the US citizens will never be forced to account for any illegal warfare?

Despite the reckless, negilgent prosecution of this war, no American can be sure this leadership will do what is lawful, prudent, or will fully protect the Constitution. They do abuse power, violate rights, and refuse to assent to the rule of law. The world notices. They continue to plan to impose civility where the American government chooses to do otherwise.

Hitler learned he was wrong. It remains to be seen whether this Congress will learn from history, or require defeat on the battlefield to impose civility. There is no magic shield to America that prevents the world from agreeing to organize, and impose terms of civility which this Congress refuses to enact.

To protect the Constitution, one cannot permit things which inspire those who have no choice but to destroy what permits uncivil conduct.

Protecting the Constitution means refusing to permit barbaric treatment, especially when the Congress can no longer guarantee to Americans they are on the right side of the law or history.