Dubyah's wartime powers

For a fairly short, but comprehensive discussion of the current debate on Dubyah's wartime powers (see here) this article from the Washington Post.

First, does Dubyah really have "wartime powers"? There is not formal declaration of war. Seems to me that Congress might have been intending to reserve some of their authority when they chose to not formally declare war and only authorize the use of force.

The Dubyah administration seems to put a lot of faith into the phrase "all necessary and appropriate force". As far as we know the administration is using their interpretation to monitor communications of US citizens to points outside the US even though there are laws specifically preventing them from doing this (with some specific exceptions). But if the administration wants to broaden their interpretation this wide, what is to keep them from doing something else if in THEIR interpretation it is "necessary and appropriate"? What is to keep them from doing something most of us might consider draconian, like putting wiretaps on media reporters or even censoring the media? From what Donald Rumsfeld has been saying publicly I think at least he might think censorship is appropriate. What is to keep them from monitoring communications of political opponents, including members of Congress (like them damn Democrats) because they dare speak out against the war?

Do you think I am being unreasonable in my arguments? Well I do not think it is unreasonable to remember what Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover were up to.

I would remind Dubyah that the adjectives "necessary and appropriate" precede the noun "force" in that phrase. Dubyah seems to be adopting a pretty expansive definition of the word "force". If this phrase authorizes Dubyah to take "action" that most of us would not consider "force" what is to keep him from doing whatever he damn well pleases because he considers it, too, to be force?

Now, I am a little torn by this issue because I almost think Dubyah should have the authority to do what he has been doing. But just because I think he "should have" does not mean he "does have" this authority. Apparently he was going to ask Congress for this authority until he was informed he probably wouldn't be granted it. So what does Dubyah do? He just broadens what he thinks Congress meant when they used the word "force" so that it includes what he wants to do.

Well my thinking is that Congress intended it to mean one of the definitions of "force" which is "military strength" according Merriam-Webster's. After all, that is what was being publicly debated as they considered the resolution. I think they even threw in a couple of adjectives in there to at least give Dubyah some pause when he used the " force - military strength". Prior to debating the "military strength" issue they even specifically addressed the law enforcement and surveillance powers they wanted to grant in the Patriot Act. In fact they were pretty "liberal" in the powers they granted. (I think with glee that my use of the word "liberal" is probably going to upset some Republicans - grin.)

You know what really worries me? If the Dubyah administration takes out this wide a brush when they go to painting, just what other rights are being white washed while they are a painting? What else are they up to that we know nothing about?


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