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September 7, 2007 9:00 PM   Subscribe

But Is It War? A vigorous debate among three conservatives about the limits of post-9/11 executive power.
posted by brain_drain (25 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
All of this talk about unlimited executive power is going to blow up in the neocon's faces when a Democrat president wants the same style of unchecked rule.
posted by brain cloud at 9:05 PM on September 7, 2007


All of this talk about unlimited executive power is going to blow up in the neocon's faces when a Democrat president wants the same style of unchecked rule.

Why would a Republican president — one who assumes unlimited executive power — ever relinquish those illegally gained powers to a Democrat — or anyone else, for that matter?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:12 PM on September 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


Don't see how he has a choice, personally. But then, I haven't climbed on the "Coup d'Etat 2008" conspiracy bandwagon yet.
posted by Anduruna at 9:15 PM on September 7, 2007


Why would a Republican president — one who assumes unlimited executive power — ever relinquish those illegally gained powers to a Democrat — or anyone else, for that matter?

ahh...touche', BP.
posted by brain cloud at 9:16 PM on September 7, 2007


It might be fun to see tanks roll on the White House.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:17 PM on September 7, 2007


That was a deeply interesting series of back-and-forths- I have to say that I felt Bruce Fein made quite a bit more sense, and certainly was saying things which will hold up to scrutiny 100 years from now. I can't quite say the same for the other two.

Individual instances of unlawful behavior aside, the overall monarchistic and aggrandizing nature of this administration sets bad precedents for *future* leaders, regardless of the political affiliation. That's what concerns me so much. I don't believe in any conspiracy theories about Bush prolonging his "reign"; I firmly believe our Congress and military would step in to end that. (Why wait, I hear you asking... but that's another discussion.)

All of this would seem to be patently obvious, but there's something comforting in reading such well phrased commentary from a conservative who is so thoroughly disgusted with the administration. Perhaps there is hope for us yet.

My biggest problem is combatting the deep sense of "outrage apathy" that people seem to have- even the worst behavior doesn't seem to provoke much more than a "meh" from folks these days. This worries me deeply. Am I alone in noticing (and god forbid, feeling) this?
posted by EricGjerde at 9:26 PM on September 7, 2007


Al-Qaida has proven to be a tough and resilient enemy. It has successfully tapped a reservoir of hostile feeling throughout many parts of the Muslim world against the United States and the Western Civilization it represents. That feeling may well have been exacerbated by U.S. policies since Sept. 11 (although we are skeptical of such claims),


*head asplodes*

Its true, isn't it? These people really see little or no connection between our policies and "blowback". Terrorists just fight us because they want to enslave us like the fucking Cobra Commander. I mean, that's all there is to say. They hate us because we're rich, powerful and love Jeebus.

Christ, we are so fucking doomed.
posted by Avenger at 9:33 PM on September 7, 2007


The subtleties, they are not a'graspin'.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 PM on September 7, 2007


Conservatives need to get over 9/11 already and face the new threat: Burning Man!
posted by homunculus at 9:37 PM on September 7, 2007


...is... is
posted by edgeways at 10:11 PM on September 7, 2007


three conservatives

Not exactly approaching the issues from all sides here, are they?
posted by dgbellak at 10:11 PM on September 7, 2007


Not exactly approaching the issues from all sides here, are they?

That's roughly the lineup of guests on your average "news" show these days.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:16 PM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


A vigorous debate among three conservatives

/me farts, rolls over, goes back to sleep
posted by trondant at 10:20 PM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


homunculus writes "Conservatives need to get over 9/11 already and face the new threat: Burning Man!"

Good god, that article screamed sour grapes so loud it hurt my ears. She wanted to go so bad, but her political religion won't allow it. And calling it 'full of hippies' is pretty wildly inaccurate. The average burner has an income significantly higher than the rest of the US population.
The stragglers from the Burning Man Art Festival – at which 40,000 tree-huggers pop peyote, smoke weed and destroy the ecologically sensitive playa in the Nevada desert – certainly didn't have any Eureka! moments in regard to the environment, I told my traveling buddy Lt. Col. Buzz Patterson.
For the record, Burning Man reputedly leaves the playa in better condition than any other event that uses it. People spend months cleaning the playa after the event.

/derail

As for whether or not it's war, of course it's not. Wars occur between states. We're no longer at war with the Iraqi state. The 'war on terrorism' is a scary, dressed-up police action and the fact that vast swaths of the country don't grasp this means we, as a nation, aren't in a good position to remain a free country for long. We get the government we deserve after all.
posted by mullingitover at 10:59 PM on September 7, 2007


I can clear this up: actually, we're at gwar.
posted by davejay at 11:23 PM on September 7, 2007


Why is this here? This is pointless. I can't read this crap. There isn't even anything to refute.

Flagged as noise.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:03 AM on September 8, 2007


Don't see how he has a choice, personally. But then, I haven't climbed on the "Coup d'Etat 2008" conspiracy bandwagon yet.

Wait...there are actually tin-foil-hatters out there saying that Bush is going to try to stay in office after his term is up by military coup? Even from a conspiracy-nut perspective, isn't it pretty office that Bush doesn't have a lot of military friends at this point?

(Maybe I'm getting off topic, here.)
posted by HeroZero at 4:27 AM on September 8, 2007


And by "office" I of course mean "obvious."
posted by HeroZero at 4:28 AM on September 8, 2007


There was an interview this week with Jack Goldsmith on Fresh Air, who was the head of the office of legal counsel during the current administration.

He had some fairly candid things to say about his tenure there, and had some pejorative words for Andrew Card and Gonzo as it concerned the whole bizarro Ashcroft on his deathbed narrative. And while he is no doubt a very intelligent and committed guy, but he stopped himself short of saying that David Addington and others were simply driven by a thirst for power, and a desire to expand the powers of the executive to near king-like levels. He thinks they are motivated by patriotism and the duty to protect the American people from acts of terror.

If he's telling the truth, it's reasonable to conclude that he is just incredibly naive. When report after report indicates that we had all the intelligence we needed to stop 9/11, but due to bureaucratic territorialism and incompetence, we didn't, that tells me that all of these bullshit encroachments into civil liberties and checks and balances are purposeless and motivated by something other than patriotism.
posted by psmealey at 5:07 AM on September 8, 2007


Which one of these guys is going to be caught reaching under another guy's bathroom stall first?

My money's on Rivkin. Look at that bowtie.
posted by Flunkie at 6:38 AM on September 8, 2007


How do people actually seriously wear bowties in 2007 and expect anyone do react in any way other than wide eyes and laughter?

Anyway. If anyone with the right ability to construct sentences and get media attention had the balls to mention, "HEY, you can't call it a war, unless it's a war, and if it's a war, you can't declare one all by yourself, Mr. President." But then if things like that happened there wouldn't have been a Vietnam, either, eh? How many times does this have to happen? Next time's in Africa, bet you ten bucks, and it will be even more humiliating.
posted by blacklite at 8:46 AM on September 8, 2007


Fein actually understates Bush's overreaching in his last missive's list of little tyrranies; he notes that Bush [b]y an executive order issued on July 17, 2007, authorize[d] a financial death penalty on an individual he asserts poses a “significant risk” of committing an act of violence whose effect may undermine political reform or reconstruction in Iraq but fails to note that the Executive Order in question is recursive - it extends to "any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense [...] to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order".

And Bush signed an almost identical order on August 2 declaring another "national emergency" applying the same confiscatory protection to Lebanon: it applies to any person said by the Secretary of the Treasury "to have taken, or to pose a significant risk of taking, actions, including acts of violence, that have the purpose or effect of undermining Lebanon's democratic processes or institutions, contributing to the breakdown of the rule of law in Lebanon, supporting the reassertion of Syrian control or otherwise contributing to Syrian interference in Lebanon, or infringing upon or undermining Lebanese sovereignty" (or to any of their friends and acquaintances, or theirs, ad infinitum). Note how much farther this goes than the July 17 Iraq EO: the planned acts no longer have to be violent; they need only have the "purpose or effect" (effect suffices; mens rea is not required) of "undermining Lebanon's democratic institutions".
posted by nicwolff at 10:13 AM on September 8, 2007


We are at war with terrorism the same way we are at war with drugs. It's never-ending, doesn't actually solve the problem, acts as a great platform for politicians, and feeds money from taxes into corporations.

That it harms innocent people along the way is just a byproduct.
posted by quin at 11:16 AM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


The problem is that the term "conservative" has long sense ceased to have any ideological meaning and has simply become a tribal identifier. The remanant ideological conservatives are seeing the movement they created being coopted by people who hold positions extremely at odds with actual ideological conservativism.

I don't *like* ideological conservativism, but I'll concede that its an actual (if wrong) political philosophy, and does have a few good points. But what is described as "conservative" today has nothing, really, in common with actual ideological conservativism.

So we see a modern "conservativism" which has rejected William frickin' Buckley. Really, all "conservative" means today is "someone who hates hippies and worships Bush".
posted by sotonohito at 3:00 PM on September 8, 2007


Saw preview of "In The Valley of Elah" last night (Paul Haggis, who also directed "Crash", was there and spoke for a while). For me, the take-away point was that things rot from the head. Trumped-up justification, no exit strategy, condoning torture, messing with the Constitution - when everything is wrong at the highest level, can we expect the actual operations to make sense? Then what becomes of the troops? Recommended for all, but Mr. Rivkin especially. Not to mention "No End In Sight".

Bush might not rule forever, but if we don't have election reform, Republicans can continue manipulating the vote, thus staying in perpetual power. Kindly read Fooled Again before dismissing this as absurdly impossible.

As per the post: Turn every sentence in Rivkin's opening letter into its opposite, and you'll be pretty close to the truth. His view of reality is warped by fear.
posted by AppleSeed at 5:49 AM on September 9, 2007


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