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Church Committee vs. Nuremberg Trials: Why We Need Impeachment Now, Not Investigations Next Year

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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:09 PM
Original message
Church Committee vs. Nuremberg Trials: Why We Need Impeachment Now, Not Investigations Next Year
Edited on Wed Jul-23-08 04:22 PM by McCamy Taylor
Intro. If You Have a Time Capsule, We Can Send Bush and Cheney Back to Nuremberg 1945 and Save on the Cost of an Impeachment.

because the charges against the principle defendants during the trials of the Nazis are exactly the same as the criminals acts of our president and his VP.

For those of you who have read my ongoing series about Nuremberg and the need to Impeach Bush which started with Nuremberg, USA

and have wondered why I keep making this parallel, please read this.

On the opening day of the trial, the twenty-one indicted war trial defendants took their seats in the dock at the rear of the sage-green draped and dark paneled room. Behind them stood six American sentries with their backs against the wall. At 10 a.m., the marshal shouted, "Attention! All rise. The tribunal will now enter." The judges from the four countries walked through a door and took their seats at the bench. Sir Geoffrey Lawrence rapped his gavel. "This trial, which is now to begin," said Lawrence, "is unique in the annals of jurisprudence." The Major War Figures Trial was underway in Nuremberg.
The trial began with the reading of the indictments. The indictments concerned four counts. All defendants were indicted on at least two of the counts; several were indicted on all four counts. Count One, "conspiracy to wage aggressive war," addressed crimes committed before the war began. Count Two, "waging an aggressive war (or "crimes against peace"), addressed the undertaking of war in violation of international treaties and assurances. Count Three, "war crimes," addressed more traditional violations of the laws of war such as the killing or mistreatment of prisoners of war and the use of outlawed weapons.

Speaker Pelosi, can you please tell us why impeachment is off the table? Is it only because Bush and Cheney did not get to Count Four, genocide?

Four, "crimes against humanity," addressed crimes committed against Jews, ethnic minorities, the physically and mentally disabled, civilians in occupied countries, and other persons.

I think they might have gotten there in NOLA. Remember the people left to die on the rooftops and in the rising water? The Black people? Some of us will never forget.

I. Church Committee: What Do They Call It When You Do The Same Thing Over and Over Again, Expecting a Different Result?

Salon has a very scary story. It is frightening in two ways. First, we are told that the United States never really stopped its Nixonian abuses of intelligence power, except maybe for the four years that Jimmy Carter was in office. All the way back in 1981, our government was working on a great big spying network to keep track of troublemakers---like Latinos and antiwar types--- who could be rounded up just in case. This program relied on computers and bank records. In early 2001, Cheney and Addington, veterans of the Reagan-Bush era, added phone surveillance. After 9/11 they added a whole lot more to the package that operated under the sci-fi sounding name of Main Corp .

The piece is disturbing on another level, one that the author did not intend. It cites the 1975 Church Committee hearings which took place to investigate the many abuses of intelligence that occurred during the Nixon administration. You know, military spying on U.S. citizens, assassinations of foreign leaders, attempts to overthrow foreign governments, that kind of stuff. The Committee did a few important things---they made it illegal to kill a foreign leader, they set up the system of FISA courts so that U.S. intelligence agents had to get a warrant if they wanted to spy. But other than that, all they did was write a scary document.

No one was held accountable. In the end, the Church Committee was a great big public confessional in which the nation beat its breast and prayed to God for forgiveness---and then went right back to its old sinful ways.

And now, Salon assures us that it will be alright. Congress and the new Obama administration are going to do just what the Church Committee did.

Now, in the twilight of the Bush presidency, a movement is stirring in Washington for a sweeping new inquiry into White House malfeasance that would be modeled after the famous Church Committee congressional investigation of the 1970s.

If Salon was a British publication, I would assume that the piece was satire. What did the Church Committee give us? It gave us Reagan-Bush, Iran-Contra and the First Gulf War. It gave us Bush-Cheney and the closest thing we have had to a fascist dictatorship since John Adams. It gave us Big Brother. The Church Committee is like applying a Band-Aid when you just got your arm cut off by a chainsaw.

II. What Was Wrong With the Church Committee Approach?

Its simple. It did not limit the ability of the executive branch to abuse power. Its efforts to limit the intelligence community and to create greater openness were doomed to fail as long as there was one commander-in-chief who had the war time power to trump all the rules. When Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon, he sent the message that the office of the president was somehow holy or sacred. Nixons successor, Jimmy Carter was widely dubbed JC---Jesus Christ. The current front runner, Barack Obama is likened to the Messiah. Their jobs were/are to purify the office which has been tainted. Rarify the presidency again.

So that a future Republican president can start where Bush-Cheney left off

III. Why Only Impeachment Will Do: The Lesson of Nuremberg

The math is real simple, folks.

As long as people can say I was following orders and know that this excuse will provide them with a Get Out of Jail Free card, they will do anything. For money. For ideology. For thrills.

As long as one individual can give any order and say I am above the law as long as I declare a national emergency or state of war, then there will always be someone to give that order.

The Constitution provides for true emergencies and true wars as an all important just in case . That is why Congress is empowered to chastise any president who abuses the just in case authority. Because they all do it. Even Democrats. Wilson attacked the Wobblies. FDR persecuted Japanese Americans. Republicans just do it to worse extremes. Since we need the just in case , Congress has to be there to slap the hand of any president who gets greedy.

An investigation next year will not slap anyones hand. W. will be off playing golf everyday and giving speeches for $10million a pop every night. Cheney will be back at Haliburton making more bad investments, that they will tolerate because of all the no bids contracts he obtained during the war. And the next pair of GOP stooges that corporate America selects to become Big Brother and Big Brothers Little Helper will salute and say Yes, sir! when they receive the call, because they will know that the job entails plenty of financial opportunity and no risks whatsoever, since Congress will not punish a president, even if he tramples on the U.S. Constitution, uses it to wipe his ass and then sets it on fire so that he can light a joint with it all while telling another whopper about why we need to invade an itsy-bitsy country that just happens to owe his biggest campaign supporter a whole lot of money.

Being an ex-president is a very attractive job, folks, especially if you were a corporate lackey ex-president. The only thing that might minimize the desirability of this position is if you left office so disgraced that no one would play golf with you, much less pay money to hear you speak.

IV. The Moral of the Story: The President Is Above the Law to Keep Corporations Above the Law

Corporate America wants the office of the president to be above the law, because then his favored corporations are above the law. Look closely at the Bush administration policy of legislation by administrative decree---it benefits his business buddies. His war crimes have all been planned to aid corporations, especially Big Oil. Bush invokes terrorism safety to keep people from finding out about safety violations and pollution and all kinds of issues that affect corporations.

This is why Congress is reluctant to reduce the power of the presidency. Congress is also indebted to corporations.

That is why we are having to fight tooth and nail to get a Democratic Congress to Impeach the two biggest war criminals this side of Nuremberg. Because Exxon--and David Rockefeller--- like having a monarch rather than a president.

V. Bonus. From Tom Paine's The Rights of Man or That Was Not Intended as How-To Book, You Treasonous Federalist Bastards!

In his conclusion to the first part of The Rights of Man Tom Paine describes the British system of government as it was during the American and French Revolutions.

The two modes of the Government which prevail in the world, are --

First, Government by election and representation.

Secondly, Government by hereditary succession.

The former is generally known by the name of republic; the latter by that of monarchy and aristocracy.

Those two distinct and opposite forms erect themselves on the two distinct and opposite bases of Reason and Ignorance. As the exercise of Government requires talents and abilities, and as talents and abilities cannot have hereditary descent, it is evident that hereditary succession requires a belief from man to which his reason cannot subscribe, and which can only be established upon his ignorance; and the more ignorant any country is, the better it is fitted for this species of Government.

On the contrary, Government, in a well-constituted republic, requires no belief from man beyond what his reason can give. He sees the rationale of the whole system, its origin and its operation; and as it is best supported when best understood, the human faculties act with boldness, and acquire, under this form of government, a gigantic manliness.

As, therefore, each of those forms acts on a different base, the one moving freely by the aid of reason, the other by ignorance; we have next to consider, what it is that gives motion to that species of Government which is called mixed Government, or, as it is sometimes ludicrously styled, a Government of this, that and t' other.

The moving power in this species of Government is, of necessity, Corruption. However imperfect election and representation may be in mixed Governments, they still give exercise to a greater portion of reason than is convenient to the hereditary Part; and therefore it becomes necessary to buy the reason up. A mixed Government is an imperfect everything, cementing and soldering the discordant parts together by corruption, to act as a whole. Mr. Burke appears highly disgusted that France, since she had resolved on a revolution, did not adopt what he calls "A British Constitution"; and the regretful manner in which he expresses himself on this occasion implies a suspicion that the British Constitution needed something to keep its defects in countenance.

In mixed Governments there is no responsibility: the parts cover each other till responsibility is lost; and the corruption which moves the machine, contrives at the same time its own escape. When it is laid down as a maxim, that a King can do no wrong, it places him in a state of similar security with that of idiots and persons insane, and responsibility is out of the question with respect to himself. It then descends upon the Minister, who shelters himself under a majority in Parliament, which, by places, pensions, and corruption, he can always command; and that majority justifies itself by the same authority with which it protects the Minister. In this rotatory motion, responsibility is thrown off from the parts, and from the whole.

When there is a Part in a Government which can do no wrong, it implies that it does nothing; and is only the machine of another power, by whose advice and direction it acts. What is supposed to be the King in the mixed Governments, is the Cabinet; and as the Cabinet is always a part of the Parliament, and the members justifying in one character what they advise and act in another, a mixed Government becomes a continual enigma; entailing upon a country by the quantity of corruption necessary to solder the parts, the expense of supporting all the forms of government at once, and finally resolving itself into a Government by Committee; in which the advisers, the actors, the approvers, the justifiers, the persons responsible, and the persons not responsible, are the same persons.

By this pantomimical contrivance, and change of scene and character, the parts help each other out in matters which neither of them singly would assume to act. When money is to be obtained, the mass of variety apparently dissolves, and a profusion of parliamentary praises passes between the parts. Each admires with astonishment, the wisdom, the liberality, the disinterestedness of the other: and all of them breathe a pitying sigh at the burthens of the Nation.

But in a well-constituted republic, nothing of this soldering, praising, and pitying, can take place; the representation being equal throughout the country, and complete in itself, however it may be arranged into legislative and executive, they have all one and the same natural source. The parts are not foreigners to each other, like democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy. As there are no discordant distinctions, there is nothing to corrupt by compromise, nor confound by contrivance. Public measures appeal of themselves to the understanding of the Nation, and, resting on their own merits, disown any flattering applications to vanity. The continual whine of lamenting the burden of taxes, however successfully it may be practised in mixed Governments, is inconsistent with the sense and spirit of a republic. If taxes are necessary, they are of course advantageous; but if they require an apology, the apology itself implies an impeachment. Why, then, is man thus imposed upon, or why does he impose upon himself?

When men are spoken of as kings and subjects, or when Government is mentioned under the distinct and combined heads of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, what is it that reasoning man is to understand by the terms? If there really existed in the world two or more distinct and separate elements of human power, we should then see the several origins to which those terms would descriptively apply; but as there is but one species of man, there can be but one element of human power; and that element is man himself. Monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, are but creatures of imagination; and a thousand such may be contrived as well as three.

This is the paradise lost which the Federalists are trying to reclaim, a federal government which has the powers (and the immunity) of a monarchy but which can proclaim that it operates with the will of both the people and God. All to line the pockets of the merchant class.

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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. I often tell friends that the Church Committee was our only attempt...
Edited on Wed Jul-23-08 04:15 PM by Junkdrawer
to rein in the CIA - and that its great shortcoming was that it let the perps move their operations offshore and that oversight in this country was way too lax.
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:16 PM
Response to Original message
2. A recommend from me. I agree that parallels with Nuremberg
are apropos.
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iamahaingttta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
3. Impeachment? Good Luck!
T'would be nice, but it ain't gonna happen.
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. So Dems aren't angry enough? Did you know Sheriff Lawson who shut down the bridge out of NOLA still
has his job, even though he shot at refugees as they were trying to flee the city? No one in the Bush administration has stepped in to hold him accountable.

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Thothmes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. What action has the State of Louisana taken against him.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
6. kick
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thedeanpeople Donating Member (48 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 09:42 PM
Response to Original message
7. Just Keep Talking Impeachment All Week -- This Can Help
Don't listen to naysayers. Just keep talking impeachment -- this week and beyond. Inject impeachment into other discussions -- because it's more important (yes, even more important than Obamania).

This can help you:

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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 10:16 PM
Response to Original message
8. Paine's eloquence is astonishing. And retains its power to this day.
Thank you for posting this, McCamy. Very powerful stuff.

I asked six people today if they were going to watch the impeachment hearing on Friday and they all said, "What impeachment hearing?"

This, one of the most important moments in our Republic's history, is being ignored, swept under the rug, pissed on and totally dishonored, all at once--even if that seems impossible.

Keep emailing your friends. Let everyone know. Don't give up.

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puebloknot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 02:58 AM
Response to Original message
9. K&R Thanks for the work. Nuremberg should not be forgotten! nt
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planetc Donating Member (247 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 02:48 PM
Response to Original message
10. No, some of us have not forgotten NOLA

Some of us were reading everything we could on the web, because even the MSM were loosing their cool about conditions in that city. (They seemed excited! They seemed Horrified!!) And we had visited that city long ago and understood that it was an American treasure. A few of us heard Preservation Hall playing in Preservation Hall. Some of us read the written reports from the survivors. Some of us noticed a pattern: FEMA was not just not doing anything to help in the immediate aftermath of the flooding, FEMA was actively obstructing efforts to communicate, coordinate, and rescue. It was FEMA who turned back the air boat club from Florida who had loaded their boats on trailers and driven up to see if they could help collect people still stranded. FEMA told them they couldn't enter the city. Some club members turned around and went home. Others, I believe, turned around, stopped at the nearest navigable waterway, and .... did whatever they did after that.

But I digress. Some of us reflected, as the agonizing non-rescue stretched into what feels like eternity, that besides being a cultural treasure of a city, it was also chock full of ... Democrats. This administration couldn't resist a golden opportunity like that. At least that conclusion seems inescapable to me.
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