“If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.” – George W. Bush, Transition of Power: President-Elect Bush Meets With Congressional Leaders on Capitol Hill. Aired December 18, 2000 – 12:00 p.m. ET
Finally, maybe, people are beginning to see that President Bush has overstepped his bounds. The recent wiretapping scandal has brought both parties down around his ears, and the American people are slowly realizing what sort of person they elected.
Absolutely amazing analysis over at Bruce Schneier’s blog. Excerpts below, but you really should read his whole piece, as well as the copious linkouts to other stories.
In defending this secret spying on Americans, Bush said that he relied on his constitutional powers (Article 2) and the joint resolution passed by Congress after 9/11 that led to the war in Iraq. This rationale was spelled out in a memo written by John Yoo, a White House attorney, less than two weeks after the attacks of 9/11. It’s a dense read and a terrifying piece of legal contortionism, but it basically says that the president has unlimited powers to fight terrorism. He can spy on anyone, arrest anyone, and kidnap anyone and ship him to another country … merely on the suspicion that he might be a terrorist. And according to the memo, this power lasts until there is no more terrorism in the world.
Yoo then says: “The terrorist incidents of September 11, 2001, were surely far graver a threat to the national security of the United States than the 1998 attacks. … The President’s power to respond militarily to the later attacks must be correspondingly broader.”
This is novel reasoning. It’s as if the police would have greater powers when investigating a murder than a burglary.
This is indefinite dictatorial power. And I don’t use that term lightly; the very definition of a dictatorship is a system that puts a ruler above the law. In the weeks after 9/11, while America and the world were grieving, Bush built a legal rationale for a dictatorship. Then he immediately started using it to avoid the law.
Indeed. Just a few years ago, the American people decided that we would impeach a president because he lied under oath about a blowjob. Why aren’t we impeaching Bush for directly ignoring the Constitution of the United States?