“The Law is King” – Blumenthal
by Patrick Lang (bio below)
“But let’s just say, in 10 years or a few years, a president is elected who doesn’t want to do those things, but you’ve given him this kind of power. What happens then?”
“Well,” Cheney replied, “it will be up to him whether or not he uses it.”
Quoting Above the VP to CNN’s Dana Bash on Air Force Two (CNN Transcript, Dec. 20, 2005)
Cheney’s idea of the head of state invested with absolute power is a venerable one. Bush’s presidency is the latest experiment to achieve it. Yoo’s memos are the founding documents. But the idea lacks an American pedigree.
The original commentary on it appeared in a pamphlet published in 1776, “Common Sense,” written by Tom Paine:
“But where says some is the King of America? I’ll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve as monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the crown at the conclusion of the ceremony be demolished, and scattered among the people whose right it is.” Paine
By Sidney Blumenthal for Salon magazine
by Patrick Lang (bio below)
“BASH: You talked about the fact that you briefed Congress voluntarily, that you do have a review process. But let’s just say, in ten years or a few years, a president is elected who doesn’t want to do those things, but you’ve given him this kind of power. What happens then?
CHENEY: Well, it will be up to him whether or not he us it.
BASH: Does it concern you that somebody you met you wouldn’t necessarily trust with that kind of power.
CHENEY: The fact is the law is the law. The Constitution is there. It’s been adhered to and followed in this case. And you know, when you go to war, when you’re attacked on your homeland, when you lose 3,000 people in a couple of hours one morning, and you’re faced with a possibility that same organization might try to attack the United States with even a deadlier weapon, perhaps nuclear weapon if they could get their hands on it, or a biological agent, you have to actively go after the terrorists.
Now, after 9/11, the 9/11 Commission that criticized everybody in the government because you couldn’t connect the dots. Now we’re connecting the dots and they’re still complaining. So seems to me you can’t have it both ways.
The fact of the matter is this is a good solid program. It has saved thousands of lives. We’re doing exactly the right thing. We’re doing it in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the United States. And it ought to be supported.
This is not about violating civil liberties because we’re not. This is about defending the country against further terrorist attacks. That’s exactly what we’re sworn to do.”
Again quoting Above the VP in Pakistan and to CNN’s Dana Bash on Air Force Two (CNN Transcript, Dec. 20, 2005)
I remember that the VP’s oath has to do with defending the constitution against all enemies “foreign and domestic.”
So, I guess the question should be: “Who is an enemy of the constitution?”
Col. Patrick W. Lang (Ret.), a highly decorated retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces, served as “Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, South Asia and Terrorism” for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and was later the first Director of the Defense Humint Service. Col. Lang was the first Professor of the Arabic Language at the United States Military Academy at West Point. For his service in the DIA, he was awarded the “Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive.” He is a frequent commentator on television and radio, including MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann (interview), CNN and Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room (interview), PBS’s Newshour, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” (interview), and more .
Personal Blog: Sic Semper Tyrannis 2005 || Bio || CV
Recommended Books || More BooTrib Posts
Novel: The Butcher’s Cleaver (download free by chapter, PDF format)
“Drinking the Kool-Aid,” Middle East Policy Council Journal, Vol. XI, Summer 2004, No. 2