Constant's pations

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Friday, January 12, 2007

US Public Oversight Plan of Transitionary US Government

These notes form the baseline to manage, transition, and oversee a New US Government. This approach will support a new US government whether it is with a New Constitution; or a new team brought into replace the President and Vice President when they are lawfully removed from office.

We use the 2001-2007 events, focusing on Iraq and Iran as the basis for questions, oversight, and issues.

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Oversight Plan


2007 US Government Oversight Plan

Creating a parallel government.

Creating a transition team to oversee lawful removal of Cheney and Bush.

Congress is being distracted from the more fundamental issues of a failed Presidency. US troop movements supporting combat operations in Iraq and Iran are a smokescreen to dissuade legal questions common to NSA, FISA, Rendition, and illegal violations of the Constitution.

These notes may be useful in gauging whether the US government is or is not responsive to concerns related to illegal warfare; and illegal use of force in Iraq and Iran; then applying those insights to whether Congress or the new US government is or is not effectively managing these issues.

___ How effectively does Congress generalize the lessons of the recurring issues 2001-2007?

___ Is Congress getting lost in the noise?

___ What efforts is there to see the common pattern?

___ Does Congress view the President's illegal activity as curable?


After having reviewed the discussions on the War Powers act, I wanted to share some thoughts.

Gates mentioned the war in Iran would be about four [4] wars, suggesting with the call up of special forces, the President might be positioning himself to support training of Iranian fighters inside Iraq. The President's accusations against Iran could be the cover for what the US is doing: Meddling in Iran.

As with Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan, the world response to this meddling would not be in the interests of the US. The world could be expected to take up arms against the United States.

Given the Iraqi visit to Syria, it’s not clear that the US and Iraq are on the same page on the "Syria-Iran" axis of evil argument the President presented on his surge.

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It's reasonable to expect surprising military responses. Iran in discussions with Venezuela could easily encourage world leaders to counter attack against the US.

It appears most likely the US government effort to block Congressional resolution on Iraq with a filibuster is linked with a concern the Congress could pass a concurrent resolution related to Iran under the war powers act.

If the US does attack Iran the backlash is likely to exceed US government expectations. The US government has enough trouble anticipating the reaction of Congress to a Presidential speech, and miscalculated the Kurdish response to the American seizure of the Iranian consulate attack in Iraq, which Russia calls illegal, and is eerily similar to the FBI raid on Congress.

As with 9-11, it's likely the world reaction to the US attack on Iraq would come with "nobody imagined this backlash" as Rice parroted. In truth, the Administration ignored the fair warnings.

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Lack of information about US public and foreign reaction raises doubts about the credibility of US intelligence on Iran. Members of Congress appear to have been aware of the Executive Memoranda related to Iran, raising questions whether they have or have not followed up on the Title 28 and Title 50 exception reports.

What is curious in light of the Vietnam experience, is the reluctance of the Congress to compel the President to show that the lessons have or have not been applied. I would appreciate the Govt Reform Committee to review the Powell Doctrine, and consider whether the Bush Administration has or has not credibly shown that the lessons of Vietnam have or have not been incorporated.

___ Where are the lessons learned from Vietnam on issues of oversight

___ How have the checks and balances and Presidential refusal to face reality been incorporated into the planning to invade Iran

___ How has the Administration ensured that the assumptions have been challenged

___ What is being done in Congress in 2007 to challenge the failed leadership and decision making models which did not serve us well during Vietnam and the Iran-Contra affair.

Supposedly these problems were resolved. I would like to see a discussion outlining how the President has or has not fully incorporated these lessons into his planning. Without a fair showing, I conclude the President's plans to attack Iran are military defective, illegal, not based on an imminent threat; and linked more with a smokescreen to distract Congress from impeachment-removal decisions.

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What appears to be happening with the Iraq-surge/Iran-invasion discussion is the incorrect approach to combat planning. War fighters, unlike weapon system managers, do not live in a simple world of budgets. Although budgets are the eternal limitation on things, the Pentagon appears to have taken a systems acquisition approach to combat: Starting with a set of static budget targets, and forced the variables to match the leadership's direction.

Combat doesn't work that way. I would hope when program managers appear before the Committees that they well outline why their approach to combat budgeting is or is different than from what we've seen in OSD Acquisitions. It is not appropriate to look at the enemy as a static budget or Congress; rather, the correct approach is to look at the enemy as a dynamic. The enemy is not cooperative, yet the budgeting approach to combat appears to have taken priority: Fitting the estimates to fit the President's objectives, not in doing what is most in the interests of the American public, national security, and the Constitution.

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I am concerned with the convoluted thinking floating around DC on why there should not be an impeachment. The issue isn't whether there should or should not be impeachment, but the thinking and discussion behind those decisions or non-decisions. The same flawed arguments on impeachment are spilling over into the failure to aggressively challenge the statements on Iran.

Popularity and Constitutional challenges are irrelevant variables. The Framers intended for factions to clash. The DNC is not at risk of losing popularity -- The President's speech is not shifting the public perceptions.

I would encourage the DNC leadership to rise above partisanship, and consider your oath to the Constitution. This is not to suggest that you have been partisan; or that you have not been thinking about your oath. You will shortly be asked to vote on a state proclamation for impeachment. This is happening because the Congress is not doing what it should -- facing these issues.

Broadly speaking, I am concerned that the patterns of abuse we've seen with FISA, NSA, Rendition, and GTMO are surfacing with Iran and Iraq. The same legal and evidence games are being played. The problem is the failure to confront the issues with Iraq; and letting these bad habits continue with Iran. I would hope the Congressional leadership might distill the common problems with oversight 2001-2006, and see how these patterns are playing themselves out with Iran.

Just as there was fabricated evidence, faulty arguments, rushed timelines, and cursory diplomatic efforts on Iraq, the same is occurring with Iran. The way forward is to look at the issues not as a committee-focused set of variables; but the opposite: A pattern of conduct by one person, surrounded by a group of able lawyers willing to redefine reality to justify an agenda. Although the NeoCons have lost the November 2006 election, the entrenched thinking in the Republican Party continues.

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Going forward, it would be appropriate to look at the larger picture: To what extent this US government will or will not do its job; and whether there will be an oversight plan to effectively check this President. I would like to see, if possible, a bipartisan Congressional plan that would do the following:

____ Outline for Members of Congress and the public of what is planned to oversee the President on Iraq and Iran;

____ Outline the issues and questions for the public and Congressional oversight to monitor;

____ Discuss what will be done to evaluate the effectiveness of the US government to manage these recurring issues, as they surfaced with Iraq and Iran [GTMO, FISA, Rendition]

____ The plan for the Congress to rise above whether they are or are not a valid Constitutional player; and change the debate to issues of Presidential war crimes.

____ How this will be put into place, what will happen, and the options if these primary approaches do not work.

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Understandably, the above is not something that will immediately be developed. Rather, it is linked with the ongoing litigation issues which Mr. Fielding is aware, given his proximity with Verizon and the NSA issues.

The goal should be to outline with some precision the range of legal issues the American public will be confronting, the decision that will be made, and what We the People should watch for.

Without this plan, there is the perception that the US government is floundering, desperate, disorganized, and missing the big picture: The Constitution. Foreign fighters view the US government as being out of control. A remedy will be to send a clear signal that the oversight is competent based on reasonable questions, and an effort to check what is a disturbing fact pattern threatening our Constitutional system and the world.

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Popularity is something that the DNC leadership should be less concerned with. This does not mean that the leadership should disconnect itself from the will of the people. Rather, the aim of the NeoCons will be, regardless what the DNC leadership does, to blame the DNC for what happens with Iraq or Iran.

Absurdly, if the NeoCons have their way, but there is a disaster, their plan is to blame Congress for not stopping them. Conversely, if the DNC opposes, and the President's plans fail (which they most likely will), the plan is again to blame the DNC. Your political opponents have committed war crimes. Their aim is not to accept defeat, but to blame others, as they have always done.

The way forward is for the country to see and be reminded:

- Who started this war;

- A clear position that the AUMF is not the green light for illegal activity.

The President appears to assert that Iran is or is not doing something. Given the reckless disregard for reality, the President has a higher burden to justify confidence in his 10 Jan 2007 assertions about what Iran may or may not be doing. The error is for the Congress to, as was done with the Patriot Act and FISA, to accept the President's assertions of reality as the starting point. His aim is not to legally or illegally do things -- but to assert power, regardless the law. This conduct is no different that what we've seen with the NSA, FISA, Rendition efforts.

Fatal to the President's defense are two key points:

1. The Geneva Conventions, when affirmed with Hamdan, compelled the President to change his position on the prisoners in Europe. The reaction of the President shows the President knew, or should have known, that the original treatment was illegal; if the requirements had no bearing on the President, he would not have changed. Changing the prisoner location is a fatal admission that the President recognizes he cannot ignore the law.

2. The President has been assenting to Iraqi rules on engagement, while ignoring the US Congress. The President cannot credibly argue that "during wartime" some rules constrain him. Regardless whether the rules are or are not real, the President is implicitly arguing that, as commander in chief, the issue isn't whether his hands are tied, but whether the President agrees or disagrees with what are ministerial requirements. Signing statements are clear intentions to not fully assert his oath.

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One problem has been the President’s habit of getting Members of Congress to do his thinking for him. As the absurdity surfaces, people throw their hands to the air saying, "Well he's the decider" and "remember those singing statements" and "what about the Unitary theory of government." Each of these assertions, when contrasted with the President's conduct, is not supportable.

The time is now to make adverse inferences.

___ The President does not have a plan to change despite losing Control of Congress;

___ The pattern of conduct 2001-2006 will not change unless Congress makes him change;

____ The President will use legal excuses and non-sense to assert a reality disconnected from facts;

___ The time is to end the President's input, and have Congress openly debate these issues, denying the DoJ Staff input to the process.

The appropriate forum is an impeachment review; and a trial in the Senate where the Senators are forced to be silent.

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I view the Senate effort to block a Congressional resolution on the Iraq surge plan as linked with legal arguments of the DOJ to prevent Congress from passing a resolution calling for the President to remove troops within X-days from Iraq.

It appears the DoJ Staff and White House are working with the GOP Republicans not only on the filibuster to block a proclamation, but that these planning actions are directly related to legal concerns under the war powers act.

The President cannot credibly convince passive observers that his military options are reckless -- no convincing is required. Rather, the military plans appear to be linked, and argued, not because of recklessness, but because of active knowledge of the legal problems he faces.

Whether the President does or does not invade Iran is s4econdary to the more likely smokescreen. I would hope that Members of Congress can take a broad view of the issues. Yes, the war in Iraq needs to end; and the war in Iran should not start. Our goal isn't to tie the hands of a President who refuses to be bound; but to show the world the evidence that Congress has exhausted all reasonable options to tie an uncooperative President.

The legacy will be something the NeoCons point to. This does not mean that impeachment is off the table; it only means that care should be taken to ensure all legal options are exhausted, unlike the President's approach with Saddman and Iran.

Popularity should be removed from the concern. The GOP hopes to employ a two-sided argument arguing that Iran is meddling; while asking us to ignore the contribution Iran has made in Afghanistan; arguing Iran is taking advantage of a power vacuum, while ignoring the vacuum caused by American incompetence.

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Congress has a duty to show the world that Article 1 Section 9 concerns -- that of spending money for illegal things -- are issues Congress takes seriously. Congress cannot be swayed by "support the troops"-arguments when combat operations are illegal. The President does not have power to wage illegal war in Iraq.

It would be helpful if the GOP Members of Congress would notify the Speaker when they were notified by the President; and the relationship the GoP Leaders' notification on the President's Executive Orders on Iran. I would hate to think the GOP leaders have not transferred all information they have to the New Speaker related to their knowledge the President asserted he was complying with the notification procedures, only if in passing.

Congress has a responsibility to end illegal activity, especially when discussing issues of the US government seizing assets from a consulate flying the Iranian flag. If there s evidence of wrong doing, as the Russians assert, that information should be brought to the attention of the Security Council. The Administration has the burden to explain why, if it is accusing Iran of doing something wrong, why illegal methods are being used to obtain what amounts to meaningless information.

If Congress refuses to end illegal warfare, foreign fighters and objects of those attacks may consider Congress complicit in not stopping illegal warfare, and a legitimate military target.

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Work is underway to create a parallel US government, one that will assist with the transition from the Bush-Cheney control to something else. Whether that government is something under this Constitution or a New Constitution is irrelevant.

New Cabinet Offices will need to be selected while the Members of Congress are doing their committee work. This will be a challenging and dynamic time. I would hope the leadership prepares the Members of Congress for these multiple requirements, above and beyond the removal-conviction decisions; but the dual responsibly to managing government affairs in Congress while preparing to transition to assume the duties of the New President's cabinet and Executive Branch oversight.

The key message for the public is that there is a team in place that has been working this issue; and is ready to go with minimal warm-up time once the President and Vice President have been lawfully removed from Office.

Members of Congress should remain focused on the general problems of the President's abuse of power; and work with Constituents to outline solutions to these generalized problems. I appreciate the interest there is in various issues, however I would like to see more open discussion in Congress to resolve the problem of Presidential oversight, regardless which party does or does not Control Congress.

If Congress refuses to implement institutional reforms, above and beyond simple statutory changes, the alternative is to create a New Constitution which would compel these changes, and impose more meaningful oversight, regardless which party may or may not Control the government. If Congress fails to resolve these legal issues, We the People are fully prepared to outline and present the New Constitution. It has been written. Congress is denied the power to review this document.

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The current leadership appears to be insulated, and of concern are the plans to expand combat operations, as Hitler and Napoleon did in Russia, into Iran. These plans do not appear to be well developed. Whether these efforts are or are not propaganda ploys are secondary to the perceived risk that the conduct is more of the same: Assertion of power without legal foundation.

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Congress needs to send a signal that it has exhausted all options. The goal of Congress should be to put the attention on the President and ignore the NeoCon criticisms over the DNC oversight on Iraq and Iran.

Congress needs to transition from appropriations and "support of troops"-debate to issues of war crimes against the President and Vice President. The key message is that opposition is not the problem, but the President's flawed plans and incompetent leadership cannot be cured.

War crimes trials are needed. The GOP Senators are silent because they know the President is in a no-win situation, not just with Iraq, but with the oversight. Note closely the inconsistency between the Gates comments [Vague] and General Odium [precision]. Gates' comments are more credible and the General appears to be providing non-credible statements. He could be impeached as a witness based on these inconsistent statements.

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Note closely the accusations and labels being applied to Maliki government in Iraq: they are about the US Administration: "Borrowed time," "Last chance" and "catastrophe." The intended audience is the GOP faithful. the Goal of the NeoCons is to shift attention from the problems in the Republican Party, and pretend these failures are something that Iraq should solve. The correct approach is to remind the Republicans that they need to solve these issues in house.

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One pattern the Administration is using is the prompting a crisis, then using others reaction to that abuse of power as a basis to continue abuse. The problem is when the US cannot better manage the situation, as we've seen in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia than those they've supposedly said could not do the job. The same faulty argument applies to Iran: The Administration has no credible plan to provide a better option. Their legacy of planning is absurd as evidenced by Afghanistan, Katrina, and Iraq.

Taken to the extreme, the world will likely unite against the US, not because they hate America, but because they dare to do what the American colonists did in 1776: They've had enough, and are going to stand up for themselves. Iran has discussed options with Venezuela; and we judge combat forces in Cuba and Venezuela are prepared to support Iran if the US attacks.

The US is isolated and does not have enough resources to go after this many targets. If sufficiently isolated, there is a concern the US government will not survive. Backup options are needed to maintain civil order and governance while the American continent transitions from the current governance system to its replacement.

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Gates is not sure about the benchmarks or timetables. This is another way of saying there is no plan.

Secretary Gates when asked about the Iraq plan, mentioned DoD personnel would self report the progress along the milestones. This is not appropriate. Outside auditors are needed. DoD is not in position to credibly report status; Flag Officers have been ignored on their troop requirements. Congress needs an outside look, and cannot rely on the DoD self reports whether Iraq and the US are or are not meeting the benchmarks.

There is no prospect the US Administration will self report. DoD is not interested in providing bad information. Congress should not rely on media sources or courtesies, but make these a legal deliverable under penalty of perjury.

There needs to be an oversight plan on these benchmarks, and apply that oversight to Iraq. Just as Congress may in 2007 wish it had done more on the eve of the Iraq invasion, in 2007 Congress must apply those lessons and outline a plan to pre-empt the prospect of phony requirements in re Iran.

They way forward is to keep the impeachment threat on the table; and modernize the AUMF in terms of the war powers act. As with FISA, the DoJ Staff appears to support twisting reality to back-into the legal justifications required under the war powers; then, as now, the lesson for Congress was to challenge the assumptions as they unfolded. Regardless why this was or was not done, it needs to be done; the NeoCon approach is to portend this review is irrelevant. It is needed and part of understanding the legal defenses this President continues to assert across the spectrum.

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Blowback and backlash

As evidenced by the Kurdish response to the raid in Iraq, the US has little comprehension of the world position on these legal and military issues. The US Administration cannot correctly read the concerns in Congress; there is no prospect the HUMINT in re Iran is any better, especially when open source information has been rejected.

____ Where is the evidence warranting an attack?

____ How much work will Members of Congress spend on Iran issues that might be better spent on broader impeachment related issues?

____ Even if Iran were invade, what evidence does the Administration have that the pro-democracy forces have better support than any insurgent in Iraq?

Iran's "power" is a function of the US loss of credibility. The US is not credibly targeting a "threat," but the natural consequence of the US losing its once unchallenged world position. Foreign fighters know this and are emboldened to support more non-American options to stabilize the situation.

We judge the Iran-related efforts to be a smokescreen. Although combat may occur, the larger objective appears less with national security concerns, but with a desire to muddy the Congressional oversight waters.

If the President does, as is expected, invade Iran, the Congress should use this as the catalyst to confront the President along the full legal spectrum. POTUS has miscalculated, as did Hitler in Russia, about the risks in Iraq; the basis for his actions are legally tenuous. Even if he has a bonafide strike package, there’s little information suggesting the targets are ones which the IAEA would support as imminent threats. These strike packages are evidence of war crimes.

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There is one curious flaw with the NeoCon Argument on Iran. Notice the disconnect:

A. First they argue, when dismissing Iran's offer to help in Iraq, "Iraq can't do anything."

B. Then they change, asserting that Iran is meddling and a threat.

___ How can Iran occupy two positions at the same time: Both able to influence, but unable to influence?

___ If Iran were to have power, why is that assertion of power, as evidenced by the Iranian cooperating with the US in Afghanistan, necessarily a bad thing?

___ If the US position is weakened, would it not make sense to welcome a stabilizing force?

The US position is based on the same convoluted thinking in re Iraq, asking that one set of the populace accept one argument for action; while making the opposite argument to discredit those who advocate non-military options. Iran cannot be a threat to America when it occupies the position of "having no ability to help"; implicitly, that means Iran cannot be a threat. The Administration cannot have it both ways unless Congress remains silent and does not put this inconsistent on the table, and force the Administration to explain its inconsistent position.

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There is no evidence Iran is a threat. The US Administration talks about a threat, but has no evidence. Iran and the US approaches are a curious contrast:

- Iran is not invading countries, the US is.
- Iran is not waging illegal warfare, the US is.

Iran is cooperating in Afghanistan to go after militants.

___ Where is the evidence that the Iranian motivations are bad?

Where there are no clear answers on what is going on with Iran, there's less confidence the US has a clear plan of what to do with Iran.

___ How is the US going to impalement any plan with Iran, when it can't create a compelling plan for the Iraqi-US troop escalation in Baghdad?

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Inadequate plans can't be rewarded with continued support. The President's claim that "failure" in Iraq might result in something is meaningless. Those speculative consequences are today's reality: Foreign fighters are emboldened by the failure of force; and the excessive force.

The US cannot credibly argue there is a power vacuum in Iraq. Civil war opponents, by their very existence, means there is no power vacuum, but something to ensure there is no vacuum. The real issue is the US does not favor democratic results when the combatants choose outcomes contrary to the ambiguous US interests.

The US wants a strong dictator that it can manage and does not care about democracy. These are just excuses for the NeoCons to meddle. The rank and file may believe this propaganda, but the US is not serious about a concern with a power vacuum in Iraq -- they are concerned that the US weakened position, non-US forces will naturally fill that vacuum. This was foreseeable when US forces were stretched, and plans in 2002 were known to not account for the possibility of insurgency, resistance, or civil war, natural consequences of decapitating a government. The same occurred in Somalia in Jan 2007; and in Afghanistan. The same should be expected with Iran.

There is no risk of a power vacuum, but the more likely outcome that the required stabilizing forces will be no different than those the US removes, merely less organized and unable to contain the US-led chaos.

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The similarities between Iraq and Iran -- as a case study in convoluted arguments -- is noteworthy.

As with Iraq, the Administration is using the lack of support as evidence of it being correct. Congress needs to engage in oversight, applying the lessons of Iraq to Iran and challenge these assumptions early, not after the illegal activity expands.

DNC leaders should not be concerned with negative public reaction fro impeaching or removing the President. The greater risk to the DNC is, in the wake of inaction, a third party emerges which casts an eternal shadow on the GOP and DNC parties for their collective decision not to assert their oath.

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Disingenuous Diplomacy

The Secretary of State has argued that all diplomatic options with Iran have been exhausted. This is absurd. Iran is not required to negotiate on something that it is allowed to do: Develop nuclear power. This absurd argument was used in Iraq, and creating a non-sense story to pretend Iran is failing, when it is the US that is out of control. There is no reason for Iran to agree on a false issue, especially when it is the US that is in the wrong.

Artificial Timelines

As with Iraq, the US Administration approach to Iran is based on an artificial timeline. Without getting outside views, the Iraq plan provided a disaster; the same is occurring with the Iran planning.

Members of Congress should ask combat marketers to appear before Congress:

___ What is the basis for your strike packages?

___ What information are you relying on to justify these targets?

___ How was this information coordinated with the IAEA?

___ If the US knows the Iranians are doing something illegal at these locations, why hasn't that information been presented to the UN Security Council?

The answers are the same with Iraq: There are no legitimate military targets, nor any evidence of an imminent threat. CIA and DIA analysts have been gagged; and the US Congress is not asking the pointed questions it claims it "should have asked" if only it had "more information."

The list of information is long: The pattern of abuse spanning FISA, NSA, Rendition, and the other issues is the same. Congress needs to look at the general patterns of abuses and apply them to the surge and Iran invasion plans. The answers come back to the same person: The President. Iraq and Iran are a symptom of the same problem -- An incompetent President who, arguably, is mentally incapable of continuing as Commander in Chief.

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Common lessons: Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan

1. Removing the head of state will not solve the problem, but create a mess, and bring instability.

2. The US has no credible plan based on what is most likely going to happen.

3. The failed planning teams involved with Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan are involved with the Iranian planning efforts.

4. The US government is perceived as being out of control, illegal, reckless, and needs to be controlled.

If Congress does not engage in aggressive oversight -- including impeachment-removal -- foreign fighters will perceive that there is only one option to lawfully end the American government abuse of power: To launch direct combat operations against the US Capital, interests, and other targets. The world outnumbers the US.

If Congress doesn't wake up, foreign fighters are prepared to bring the battle to the Nation's Capital. They may legally do this under the laws of war. American is not under siege, but is being targeted because all legal options to end the US abuse of power is not working. You may wish to ask Negroponte why he was fired and the reasons he opposed the illegal expansion of the NSA surveillance; and ask him about the pre Sept 2001 monitoring: It was illegal and disconnected from the event which had not yet happened -- 9-11.

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The US plan to expand combat operations in Iraq and Iran are consistent with the public goals of foreign fighters: To stretch US combat forces, leaving them vulnerable. The US is bleeding in Iraq. The imminent expansion and stretch into Iran is not a solution, but will invite Iran's allies, including Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua to support combat operations on the North American continent. These are not imminent threats, but lawful efforts by Iran to respond to the illegal American use of force in and over Iran.

The Iran-Iraq escalation is not new. It is intensifying as the Administration faces greater pressures to find distractions from a war crimes trial. The US leadership is not competent as a planning entity; and makes excuses to use foreseeable opposition as an excuse to expand illegal activity. This is a management and oversight problem which the President is not willing to cure. He should be lawfully removed from office, and the GOP Members of the Senate understand the problem: The President.