Bush's Assault on Freedom: What's To Stop Him?
By Paul Craig Roberts
Rockwell" -- -- On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court in
a 5-3 decision ruled that President Bush's effort to railroad
tortured Guantanamo Bay detainees in kangaroo courts "violates both
U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions."
Better late than never, but it sure took a long time for the checks
and balances to call a halt to the illegal and unconstitutional
behavior of the executive.
The Legal Times quotes David Remes, a partner in the law firm of
Covington & Burling: "At the broadest level, the Court has rejected
the basic legal theory of the Bush administration since 9/11 – that
the president has the inherent power to do whatever he wants in the
name of fighting terrorism without accountability to Congress or the
Perhaps the Court's ruling has more far-reaching implications. In
finding Bush in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the ruling may
have created a prima facie case for charges to be filed against Bush
as a war criminal.
Many readers have concluded that Bush assumed the war criminal's
mantle when he illegally invaded Iraq under false pretenses. The
U.S. itself established the Nuremberg standard that it is a war
crime to launch a war of aggression. This was the charge that the
chief U.S. prosecutor brought against German leaders at the
The importance of the Supreme Court's decision, however, is that a
legal decision by America's highest court has ruled Bush to be in
violation of the Geneva Conventions.
There are many reasons to impeach Bush. His flagrant disregard for
international law, U.S. civil liberties, the separation of powers,
public opinion, and human rights associate Bush with the worst
tyrants of the 20th century. It is true that Bush has not yet been
able to subvert all the institutions that constrain his executive
power, but he and his band of Federalist Society lawyers have been
working around the clock to eliminate the constraints that the U.S.
Constitution and international law place on executive power.
Republicans are "outraged" that "liberal judges" have prevented Bush
from "protecting us from terrorists." In the U.S. Senate, Majority
Leader Bill Frist said that Republicans will propose legislation to
enable Bush to get around the Supreme Court's decision. Sen. Arlen
Specter (R-Pa.) already had a bill ready. What sense does it make to
talk about "liberal opposition" when liberal Republicans like
Specter are falling all over themselves to kowtow to Bush?
Americans are going to have to decide which is the greater threat:
terrorists, or the Republican Party's determination to shred
American civil liberties and the separation of powers in the name of
executive power and the "war on terror."
The rest of the world has already reached a decision. A Harris Poll
recently conducted for the Financial Times found that the
populations of our European allies – Britain, France, Italy, and
Spain – view the United States as the greatest threat to global
A Pew Foundation survey released the same week found that 60 percent
of the British believe that Bush has made the world less safe and
that 79 percent of the Spanish oppose Bush's war on terror.
Republicans and conservatives equate civil liberties with homosexual
marriage, abortion, racial quotas, flag burning, banning of school
prayer, and crime resulting from a lax punishment of criminals. This
is partly the fault of the ACLU and left-wingers, who go to extremes
to make a point. But it is also the fault of conservatives, who
believe that their government is incapable of evil deeds.
In their dangerous and ill-founded belief, conservatives are in
total opposition to the Founding Fathers, who went to the trouble of
writing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in order to protect
us from our government. Most conservatives believe that they do not
need constitutional protections, because they "are not doing
anything wrong." Conservatives have come to this absurd conclusion
despite the Republicans' decision to sell out the Bill of Rights for
the sake of temporary power.
A number of important books have recently been published decrying
America's decaying virtue. In Lawless World, the distinguished
British jurist, Philippe Sands, documents the destruction by George
Bush and Tony Blair of the system of international law put in place
by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. In The Peace of
Illusions, Christopher Layne documents the American drive for global
hegemony that threatens the world with war and destruction.
Americans are enjoying a sense of power with little appreciation of
where it is leading them.
Congress has collapsed in the face of Bush's refusal to abide by
statutory law and his "signing statements," by which Bush asserts
his independence of U.S. law. Bush has done what he can to turn the
Supreme Court into a rubber stamp of his unaccountable power by
placing John Roberts and Samuel Alito on the bench. Though much
diminished by these appointments, the Court found the strength to
rise up in opposition to Bush's budding tyranny.
Amazingly, on the very same day in England, where our individual
rights originated, the High Court struck down Tony Blair's
"anti-terrorism" laws as illegal breaches of the human rights of
suspects. As with the Bush regime, the Blair regime tried to justify
its illegality on the grounds of "protecting the public," but a far
larger percentage of the British population than the American
understands that the erosion of civil liberty is a greater threat to
their safety than terrorists.
Thus, in the two lands most associated with civil liberties, courts
have struck down the tyrannical acts of the corrupt executive.
Perhaps the fact that courts have reaffirmed the rule of law will
give hope and renewed strength to the friends of liberty to
withstand the assaults on freedom that are the hallmarks of the Bush
and Blair regimes. On the other hand, the two tyrants might ignore
the courts as they have statutory law.
What's to stop them?
Dr. Roberts [send
is Chairman of the
Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the
Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of
the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for
National Review, and was Assistant Secretary of the
Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is the co-author of
The Tyranny of Good Intentions.
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