"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Fate of the Constitution; It's in Our Hands.

Yesterday's Los Angeles Times article that described "routine monitoring of personal calls between Americans overseas and their families back home and monitoring of the communications of workers with the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations" was just another bit of evidence at the tip of the iceberg regarding Constitutional abuses by representatives of our [United States] government, and particularly the President.

Salon.com reported (in 2006) about how communication's giant AT&T worked secretly with the National Security Agency (NSA), the same agency involved in the L.A. Times story, to route much, if not all, of its domestic and international Internet traffic to the NSA in what could be the largest example of warrant less wiretapping in history.

But these are just two examples of what has been a horrific shredding of the Constitution of the United States. In nearly eight years, President Bush has done more to undermine the Constitution and expand Presidential powers than any president in history. Just a few other notable examples:

1) Claiming the authority to ignore or disobey hundreds (over 750 as of 2006) laws through the use of "Signing Statements". (Boston Globe article)

2) The authorization of water boarding (and other torture techniques) that not only served to threaten the safety of U.S. personnel overseas, but violated both domestic and international laws.

3) The doctrine of "first-strike" or "pre-emptive" war against another nation that does not pose an imminent threat against our nation (National Security Strategy of the United States issued in 2002).

One has to wonder how the Congress has gone this long without bringing impeachment proceedings (even though Dennis Kucinich and others have talked until blue in the face) against the President (as well as the Vice President). The abuses of power are so blatant that there is no excuse for Congress not to exert its duty and authority to impeach. It is, essentially, a question of accountability, and that is a word that people in Washington, D.C. seem to have forgotten these days. Indeed, accountability of all governmental officials is an obligation, not a convenience.

Beyond the issue of impeachment is the more important question of the fate of the Constitution, the document that has taken a terrific thrashing over nearly eight years of abuse by the Executive Branch of government. The next President of the United States will have many tasks before him, but a central issue will remain; regaining trust in the Executive Branch by reversing every abuse of the previous administration.

When we go to the polls in November we will be casting one of the most important votes in the history of our nation. We face incredible challenges going forward in a wide range of areas, but in terms of the next administration it will be largely a question of "accountability", accountability to the people of the United States (also referred to as "We the People"), accountability to the rest of the world, and of course accountability to the Constitution.

Before you pull the lever, ask yourself, "Who will be most accountable???"



Further Reading


The full text of the Constitution of the United States at the National Archives.

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