Constant's pations

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

Monday, September 18, 2006

Senator Graham: America Needs Investigations, Appropriation Holds

It is one thing to take principles stands on the law. Action includes investigations into war crimes, and Congressional holds on appropriations for illegal things.

Congress has other options they must use to protect the Rule of Law.

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Senator Graham,

You have been a JAG for 20 years and well understand the laws of war and Geneva Conventions. Thank you for principled stand in opposing the President’s Military Commission Bill which, as originally drafted, is unconstitutional and violates the Geneva Conventions. Also, you have rightfully encouraged Members of Congress to take note of the JAG concerns. Thank you for sending your Sept 2006 letter to Ms. Rice concerning her statements on prisoner treatment. I welcome your stand with other Republicans in opposing the President’s illegal procedures.

With this President, principled stands on alternative bills are insufficient. More must be done. There must be Congressional investigations into the known CIA violations of Geneva. I would hope that you and your colleagues on both sides of the aisle would soon start investigations into what still remains unclear: What type of violations of Geneva have there been at the CIA detention centers. Also, funding for illegal things must be shut down.

If Congress is not willing to assert the rule of law and prevent illegal violations of Geneva, it remains complicit in war crimes. If Congress is not willing to check the president with oversight, investigations, holds on appropriations, and legal action, then it is foolish to thwart those who fight American injustice on the battlefield.

Democracy isn’t something that is on a piece of paper, then ignored. It must be used to ensure rights are protected, power is not abused, and the Rule of Law prevails. If the American leadership is not willing to enforce the laws through all lawful options, Americans should not be surprised when our enemies grow stronger, more emboldened, and gather additional support to wage war against a system which refuses to assent to the Rule of Law.

Until the Republican leadership is willing to use all lawful tools at its disposal to enforce the law, and prevent the President from violating the law, I have little confidence principled opposition means much. The only lawful options the nation has to oppose the President is through the court and Congress.

Illegal use of power could be checked in two ways, through legal methods in the Court or through Congress; or, as a last resort, on the battlefield. Non-violence and legal procedures are preferred. It is a separate Matter whether Congress chooses to raise an army to lawfully subdue the President and bring the alleged war criminals to justice through the use of force; or whether the States may lawfully prosecute the President for violation of State criminal laws. These remain options.

Until the President responds to simple questions, Congress is on a weak legal footing in continuing to appropriate funds which the President appears to spend in violation of Article 1 Section 9. Until the President and the Executive Branch fully cooperate with the needed Congressional investigations into the illegal violations of Geneva, Congress should not appropriate funds to support the President’s illegal efforts, including all funds for DoJ, CIA, and DoD that are connected to the to-be-understood illegal activities.

Thank you for your public comments, bold stand, and your courage in implementing your lessons as a JAG. I hope that your enthusiasm and persistence will be a source of inspiration for others in Congress.