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Cheney Had An “Executive Assassination Ring?” The Plot Thickens

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Seymour Hersh – the very name is repulsive to most conservatives. He was the man who exposed the My Lai massacre by US troops in Vietnam, and since then has gained a bit of an evil reputation in the conservative community. Bush 43 adviser Richard Perle called Hersh "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist."

The reporter's most recent big story, as yet unproven, concerns his claim in March of an "executive assassination ring" which reported directly to then-Vice President Dick Cheney. Hersh has said, “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or to the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving,” There was also a report that Hersh told an Arab television crew that the same unit was responsible for Benazir Bhutto's assassination.  There is no hard evidence of this, but considering America's determination to preserve the dictators who work with us, one must admit the possibility exists, but until actual proof is presented, the allegation is only a possibility and nothing more.

Since the initial hullabaloo over Hersh's claim of the assassination ring, we've heard almost nothing—or have we? Just this week, CIA Director, Leon Panetta, briefed the House Intelligence Committee that on the previous day he had just shut a secret CIA program that had been in operation since 2001. None of the House Intelligence Committee members had EVER been briefed on this program. One of the members of the committee, Rep. Anna Eshoo, (D-CA), said she could not discuss what was a “highly classified program.” She did, however, note that when Panetta told House Intelligence Committee members what had been kept secret, “the whole committee was stunned, even Republicans.” A Republican committee member said it was something they hadn’t heard before.

It's really interesting that Director Panetta said the secret program had been in operation since 2001, because on January 3, 2001 Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) introduced House Resolution 19: Terrorist Elimination Act of 2001. Included in this resolution was a clause that ended the prohibition on assassinations of terrorists or those who support terrorists.  It's easy to see how that last phrase could even include heads of state in the view of certain governmental hardliners of the past eight years. Fortunately, the bill never made it out of committee, but with the suspect coincidental timing of Hersh's claim, Director Panetta's briefing this week, and Bob Barr's bill in 2001, one must wonder if the Bush administration decided to continue with the intent of that particular clause in the bill. The content of Bush 43's signing statements, which were effectively government by executive decree as with any monarch, have not all been made public.

Is this Bush-era secret CIA program that "stunned the Republicans" Cheney's alleged executive assassination ring? I truly hope not, because its existence would seriously harm our national image for decades to come.  But isn't it naive to think that a nation wouldn't consider assassination as a tool to advance its interests? Assassination has been used as long as there have been human organizations down to the tribal level, so doesn't it make sense that nations would continue to do so now? After all, assassination is a lot cheaper than a war, isn't it?

But that's not what happened in World War I, for it was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand that provided the spark that lit that particular power keg, and over ten million service members on all sides,  as well as millions more civilians, died as a result. Perhaps that's why President Ford outlawed assassination as a tool, and President Reagan affirmed that same law: neither one wanted us to relearn the lessons of the past.

Perhaps Ford and Reagan did what almost any monarch would have done in the past: publicly disavow a policy, yet continue to carry it out in secret; I do remember that we engaged in a rigorous policy of "regime change" (including Iran-Contra) during the Reagan years. I do not doubt that we arranged for a few assassinations using proxies, but there's no evidence I know of during Reagan's administration where the blame for such assassinations is directly pointed at America.

Even the Clinton administration apparently considered this question, because Clinton administration executive branch lawyers have held that the president's inherent authority to use lethal force, under Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution (which concerns presidential pardons), permits an order to kill an individual enemy of the United States in self-defense.  But there's no indication that President Clinton implemented such a policy.  Concerning Oliver North's assertion that President Clinton should be held accountable for sanctioning the assassination of a foreign national (Osama bin Laden), one wonders if Mr. North would be equally eager to hold the Bush administration accountable should Cheney's alleged executive assassination unit turn out to be more than a rumor and an interesting series of coincidences.

So we don't know what the secret CIA program was – at least not yet. But the timing is suspect, and while I'm normally loath to give credence to conspiracy theories, this particular set of circumstances stinks a little too much to ignore. It's not yet to the level that would justify an investigation, but I think we should keep an eye on this one. If we did have an official policy of assassination, those who authorized the policy need to be held accountable, if only to keep from relearning the lesson of World War I.

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I suspect that when this finally gets fully exposed we’ll find that it was a plan which was considered and then rejected in favor of direct military intervention. There just haven’t been enough assassinations of relevant targets to suggest that such a program was really in operation. Plus the idea that Bhutto was a target is just ridiculous. She would have been a perfectly reasonable ally in Pakistan. Plus Hersh has backed away from that claim already.

    While Hersh has uncovered some real scandals, what he mostly does is make up stories on which he basically cannot be challenged because the evidence to contradict his claims would be classified or otherwise unobtainable. Too many of his stories are highly speculative and paranoid and driven by a clear political agenda.

    Plus he lost most of his credibility when he predicted an impending US attack on Iran back in 2006 which was never even being considered and didn’t happen.

    Dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Hersh may be the purveyor of useless information – but assassination rings reporting to a high official in gov’t makes sense. Shim’on Peres has been running one of those for years….

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    You’re quick to pooh-pooh the possibility. For one thing, ‘assassination’ doesn’t refer to only heads of state, but anyone the leader wants dead such as recalcitrant sheiks, uncooperative local leaders, union officials.

    Second, I just found out that even current CIA Director Leon Panetta did not learn of the program until June 23, more than four months after he took over running the agency.

    Now how secret is a CIA program if the doggone CIA DIRECTOR isn’t informed about its existence until after he’s been on the job for FOUR MONTHS?

    “This wasn’t an oversight. There was an order given [by VP Dick Cheney] to not inform Congress,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), chairman of the panel’s oversight and investigations subcommittee.

    Lawmakers learned of the program from CIA Director Leon Panetta at closed-door briefings June 24 for the House and Senate intelligence committees. The day before, CIA officials informed Panetta of the program and told him Congress had not been briefed. He then canceled it.

    But you wanna know what’s REALLY scary? The WP article goes on to state, “During the second half of the Bush administration, CIA officials did not consult with the administration about the program or take orders from Cheney to keep it secret, according to former agency officials who held senior posts at the time.”

    In other words, this program which was ‘too secret’ for the Congressional Intel Committees to know about, and ‘too secret’ to tell the Obama-nominated CIA director about, operated with NO OVERSIGHT from Congress or the Executive Branch – or from the CIA director himself!

    This stinks like yesterday’s bad fish, Dave. I wasn’t willing to state my suspicion yesterday, but I’ll say it now.

    Death squads – operating with NO OVERSIGHT!

    If this turns out to be true, Dave, will you then support prosecution for those responsible i.e. Dick Cheney?

  • Clavos

    Now how secret is a CIA program if the doggone CIA DIRECTOR isn’t informed about its existence until after he’s been on the job for FOUR MONTHS?

    Since the CIA Director is not OF the CIA, but is a political appointee. that’s not at all surprising. It probably is not the only thing he’s not been made aware of, and that’s likely true of EVERY CIA director, past as well as present.

    Spooks are by definition secretive and suspicious of outsiders.

    You’re naive to think otherwise.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    You’re quick to pooh-pooh the possibility. For one thing, ‘assassination’ doesn’t refer to only heads of state, but anyone the leader wants dead such as recalcitrant sheiks, uncooperative local leaders, union officials.

    Any examples of ANY of these sorts of people being assassinated inside or outside of the US? Hersh certainly doesn’t provide any. That’s the problem here. An assassination plot that doesn’t actually KILL anyone isn’t really all that interesting.

    Now how secret is a CIA program if the doggone CIA DIRECTOR isn’t informed about its existence until after he’s been on the job for FOUR MONTHS?

    Or perhaps the question is, how trivial, hypothetical and basically non-existent is it?

    But you wanna know what’s REALLY scary? The WP article goes on to state, “During the second half of the Bush administration, CIA officials did not consult with the administration about the program or take orders from Cheney to keep it secret, according to former agency officials who held senior posts at the time.”

    If I read that right, you’re now saying that Cheney himself was not actually involved in the program which Hersh says he was heading. That makes no sense at all.

    In other words, this program which was ‘too secret’ for the Congressional Intel Committees to know about, and ‘too secret’ to tell the Obama-nominated CIA director about, operated with NO OVERSIGHT from Congress or the Executive Branch – or from the CIA director himself!

    OMG, it’s a black op. We’ve never had one of those before.

    This stinks like yesterday’s bad fish, Dave. I wasn’t willing to state my suspicion yesterday, but I’ll say it now.

    Death squads – operating with NO OVERSIGHT!

    Again, name a single dead target.

    If this turns out to be true, Dave, will you then support prosecution for those responsible i.e. Dick Cheney?

    Glenn, I’ve previously endorsed the repeal of the 1977 ban on political assassination and the use of assassination as an alternative to miltary interventionism, so I’m not going to be enthusiastic about prosecuting anyone for pursuing it.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    “Assassination Ring”! Oh my g*d!

    Does this mean that Cheney, at some state dinner, is going to pop the fake top of his special finger ring and dump poison in some foreign malefactors drink? Just like the Borgias of old!

    Who says that Cheney is too cowardly to fight on the frontlines of the Global War On Terror?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The latest on this non-story from the NYT and WaPo is that the entire “plot” basically consisted of a bull session on the issue which never resulted in any action or program of any kind.

    More hysteria from those who are looking for some excuse to hold a witch hunt.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    History repeats itself; perhaps it merely stutters.

    How about the alleged attempt to kill Castro with an exploding cigar during the reign of Kennedy I. According to this article,

    The bumbling idiots in the White House and our acclaimed spy agencies have tried everything from a U.S.- backed invasion force to exploding cigars, a Mob contract, a lethal wet suit, an exploding seashell, and some hair remover.

    I suspect that VP Cheney liked the hair remover idea; he has even less than I do. However, I rather prefer poison on the tip of an umbrella. I wonder whether it works in the rain.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Bliffle

    Cheney had an “Executive Assassination Ring”?

    Then why didn’t he pop the top on his ring and poison Saddam Hussein 10 years ago when he had a chance? Just like the Borgias. Would’ve saved a lot of US lives.

    Oh. It’s not that kind of ring?

    Never mind.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos – “Since the CIA Director is not OF the CIA, but is a political appointee.”

    Hm. Let me see here – after the President and Vice-President, WHO is held responsible for the actions of the CIA? The DIRECTOR of the CIA. Please take no offense at this, Clavos, because I know you’re going through a rough time, but your ‘explanation’ is one of the poorest excuses I’ve yet seen on BC – and I think you know it, too.

    Dave – a CIA op too secret for the head of the CIA to know about? You’re trying awful hard to claim that such was no big deal.

    But I guess that’s the ‘conservative mindset these days – torture’s okay, assassination’s okay, invasions on false pretenses are okay, making millions of refugees from that invasion is okay, too…but don’t you dare raise taxes or provide health insurance for tens of millions of Americans, oh, THAT’s socialist!

  • Clavos

    after the President and Vice-President, WHO is held responsible for the actions of the CIA? The DIRECTOR of the CIA. And your point would be?

    Mine is that those who are career CIA are not necessarily telling him about everything they’re doing.

    And I’m not presenting as an “excuse;” I see nothing to “excuse,” since as you admit in the article, it’s all rumor and innuendo, with no evidence.

    If you read some of the spook literature out there, (and I don’t mean fiction) you’ll find that the career CIA people rarely, if ever, trust the Director with everything they do (or have done), and since it’s their job, keeping things concealed from the rank amateurs usually appointed as director is child’s play for them.

    There have been some exceptions, but Panetta is not one of them; he’s a politician, not a spook.

  • Clavos

    But I guess that’s the ‘conservative mindset these days – torture’s okay, assassination’s okay, invasions on false pretenses are okay, making millions of refugees from that invasion is okay, too…but don’t you dare raise taxes or provide health insurance for tens of millions of Americans, oh, THAT’s socialist!

    No, actually it’s just hyperbolic horseshit, like so many of your unsupported fulminations about the right.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Clav, I thought you knew:

    “Liberal” = High minded, Honest, Rational, Unbiased, Well informed, Democrat.

    “Conservative” = Selfish, Corrupt, Irrational, Dishonest, Bible thumping, Prejudiced, Ill-informed, Republican.

    There. Does that help?

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    I’m making myself some flashcards, Dan(Miller) so I can learn and not be confused anymore.

    Thank you for setting me straight, my friend.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dave – a CIA op too secret for the head of the CIA to know about? You’re trying awful hard to claim that such was no big deal.

    No effort at all, actually, just common sense. He wasn’t head of the CIA at the time, and by the time he was the “program” was long over and completely irrelevant, as it had never really existed beyond the discussion stage.

    But I guess that’s the ‘conservative mindset these days

    The “conservative” mindset is merely the desire not to leap before looking whether into danger or to stupid conclusions.

    Dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    “Liberal” = High minded, Honest, Rational, Unbiased, Well informed, Democrat.

    “Conservative” = Selfish, Corrupt, Irrational, Dishonest, Bible thumping, Prejudiced, Ill-informed, Republican.

    I notice that neither of these groups of pinheads have the phrase “fiscally responible” in their repertoires….

    Hmmm….

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    That’s because they are just stupid stereotypes, Ruvy, not actual serious definitions.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Chris – it’s kinda simple to comprehend. You can thump a Bible, be high minded (or just high), be corrupt honest, dishonest or whatever and it all doesn’t matter. Some idiot will listen to you and take you seriously.

    If you can’t pay your bills, you are not worth even listening to – you’re nothing but a bum on the street. Having been there, I know haow that feels. And that is where both “liberals” and “conservatives” are headed for in America. And that is where America is headed, too.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Here’s a question for the conservatives here – at what point should a president and/or a vice president be held accountable for breaking the law?

    As far as I can tell, conservatives only want the LAW to apply when it’s a liberal under suspicion. But what have we heard from the conservatives on this blog concerning the plethora of laws (federal and international) broken by the Bush administration? “It’s just a witch-hunt!” “It’s irrelevant!” “It’s just hyperbole!”

    Uh-huh. Even today there are those in Japan who try to excuse, explain away, or pretend as fiction the atrocities committed by the Japanese during WWII.

    I don’t know which among the BC conservatives lusted for Clinton’s impeachment or called for a murder investigation of Kennedy for Chappaquiddick (I did). I don’t know which among the conservatives here called Clinton’s actions concerning Bosnia and Kosovo “war crimes” and called for his prosecution for such…

    …but if you have done so, and yet continue to defend the Bush admin’s patently illegal invasion of Iraq (at the cost of so much blood and national treasure) and their strictly unconstitutional abuse of power…

    …if you continue to defend these actions yet cry foul at the actions of the Democrats I mentioned, then you are hypocrites.

    Note that I have called NO names – for calling out a particular person would be insulting and unproductive. My aim, rather, is to help those here who may have such hypocritical views to recognize that hypocrisy in themselves – as I did when I began my journey away from the conservative mindset.

    Are you hypocrites? I can’t answer that. Only you can. And if you are, then what do you call someone who knows he is a hypocrite but refuses to change his ways?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    Two things – if the ‘program’ was long over when Panetta was informed of it, then why did he need to cancel it the day before he briefed Congress? Why were even the Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee ‘stunned’ at its existence?

    Um, no. Stay away from the grape Kool-Aid, Dave – it’s not good for you.

    Clavos –

    If the CIA spooks didn’t trust Panetta enough to tell him the first day (since he was RESPONSIBLE the first day after he was appointed), then why did they tell him at all?

    And if YOU took over a company and some of the executive committee of that company didn’t tell you of something that company was doing that secret from the rest of the world and may have been illegal, would YOU say, “Oh, that’s okay, because I’m not an insider like the rest of you are!” Would you say that?

    Again, Clavos, that’s a pretty doggone poor excuse, and I think you know it. If I were you, I’d leave that particular train of thought alone because it doesn’t reflect well on you. You’re better than that.

  • Clavos

    Excuse for whom, Glenn? My contentionis there’s nothing to excuse, since there’s no error, just a bunch of unsubstantiated rumors.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Ruvy, I don’t agree with either your view that poor people aren’t worth listening to or that America is heading towards an impoverished future.

    I’ve learned a lot from some very poor people and been a very poor person too, without ever being troubled about it, for large parts of my life. Unlike some, I’ve also learned how to change that.

    As to your views about the future of the US economy, you’ve made the same assertion many times now but you have never made anything like a remotely convincing case for it coming true, just wild assumptions about what the Chinese might do. Anyone would think you were ideologically loaded…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    If we were to go by Ruvy’s own pronouncement of his material conditions, we should have stop listening to him ages ago, for he did state he’s as poor as a church mouse.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, I’m all for holding everyone accountable when they break the law. But discussing breaking the law is NOT the same as breaking that law, and that’s all that seems to have happened with this “program.” Again, until you can provide evidence of even one assassination there’s no smoking gun here.

    Dave

  • Deano

    I think you are dancing around the primary issue. My understanding is that the CIA is legally required to go through the Senate oversight committee. For Cheney to have allegedly ordered them not to tell Congress is the illegal act – not running an assassination squad, wire-tapping or holding an anti-terrorist knitting club…what it is specifically is irrelevant – the legal issue is the unlawful instruction to NOT report the program to the oversight commmittee.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    If you’re for holding people accountable for breaking the law, then you should be all for prosecution of Bush and Cheney for waging an aggressive war in strict violation of the Geneva Convention…because we are bound by international law to follow the Geneva Accords. Furthermore, if one of our allies in NATO declare Bush or Cheney to be in violation of the law, then we are bound by our own law to hand them over to stand trail.

    Furthermore, as Deano point out the CIA is legally required to brief the congressional intel committees. If America is to abide by the rule of law, then why should we excuse Cheney for ordering the CIA to NOT brief Congress…which is in fact ordering them to break the law?

    Do you see where this is going, Dave? You’re winding up with the choice of standing by the Rule of Law…or excusing our leaders from being accountable to the law.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    From rawstory.com, “Congress already knows, for example, of a Bush-era plan to destabilize Iran’s religious government, and that has drawn very little criticism and attention. So how could a far more innocuous program aimed at Al Qaeda generate so much more controversy?”

    C’mon, Dave – your boys claimed there was enough wrongdoing in the Whitewater controversy to warrant a special prosecutor…but you’re pooh-poohing this, claiming it’s nothing to be concerned about?

    Hypocrisy is perhaps the main reason I left the conservative movement.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Flipping through all the news channels this afternoon, I was struck by one question posed by someone in the media — “Would you trust your Congressperson to keep a secret if they were provided with intelligence reports?”

    Well, I wouldn’t trust opportunists like Sheila Jackson Lee, Peter King, Henry Waxman, Barney Frank or Maxine Waters. As much as I love Ron Paul I wonder. And then there is Republican Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina. Here’s a real piece of work who I wouldn’t trust to boil a pan of water for instant grits.

    I’ve actually found myself wondering today if Dick Cheney was the most intellectual of the bunch in the the Executive AND Legislative branches during the W years. I am represented by Congressman Jim McGovern, and Senators John Kerry and Teddy Kennedy. Of the three, Teddy is the ONLY member I would trust. Think about it, folks. Think about your own respective members of Congress. Would you trust them with the most sensitive of national security information?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I’ve actually found myself wondering today if Dick Cheney was the most intellectual of the bunch in the the Executive AND Legislative branches during the W years.

    This refers back to my original comment on this thread – the one about the assassination ring Shimon Peres has been keeping for years. It turns out that of all the Israeli leaders, Peres, the most evil and murderous scum of the lot, is also the most intellectual. He had what no other Israeli leader had – a Jesuit education. Which is why, even though over the last 60 years, he never could get elected to much (nobody could stand the bad vibes, from Ben Gurion onwards), he has always had just enough power that he could wield a lot more than he actually had.

    Now, go look at Cheney through that same kind of lens. The facts and specifics will be different, but who knows, Silas. You may actually be right.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Silas –

    Don’t you think it interesting that out of all the briefings that the House Intelligence Committee has received over the years, the committee members are NOT suspected of leaking ANY classifed information?

    But YOU think that since they’re congressmen, they’ll automatically leak. Tell you what – how about you find me an example of a House Intel Committee member suspected of leaking classifed information so you can confirm your suspicion.

    And while you’re at it, let’s also discuss the government official who exposed an entire CIA operation, blowing the cover of at least a dozen agents just to ruin the career of one of the SPOUSES of one of those agents? The agent? Valerie Plame. The prime suspect? Dick Cheney.

    Ah, but I forget – ol’ Dick’s is SO respectful of the Rule of Law, huh?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    @ #29:

    One thing you learn if you go through history with your eyes even half-open: don’t mess with the Jesuits.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    One thing you learn if you go through history with your eyes even half-open: don’t mess with the Jesuits.

    You mean you’re beginning to get the picture, DD? The fellow who is called “president” in Israel today has the heart and soul of a murderer – and the training of a Jesuit. He can run rings around Netanyahu mentally, was a friend and mentor to Sharon so long as it was convenient, and was a “friend” to YitzHaq Rabin – until Rabin decided to get rid of Oslo. That’s when Peres got rid of Rabin – and why.

    Shim’on Peres is the best and brightest that politics in Israel has to offer. The best in the tradition of the Borgias. Without Peres’ deviousness, Israel would not have nuclear weapons today. Peres is evil – but not everything he has done has been bad.

    And why should it surprise anyone that an intelligent (and intellectual) politician should have an assassination squad working for him?

    I don’t know much about Cheney, but if he was the brains behind the Shrub, it would make sense that he had a hit squad working for him. Clintion certainly had one.

    And finally, what is it with you guys about the RULE OF LAW. The “rule of law” is what you tell the rubes – like us. Government is nothing but a criminal gang with the authority to commit crime, allegedly granted by the citizenry, a.k.a. the sucker born every minute.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy –

    I don’t particularly have a problem with a ‘national hit squad’. What I DO have a problem with is when that hit squad is only accountable or overseen by one or even two men.

    You allude to hit squads under Clinton, right? Were these kept secret from the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee? I don’t think so.

    These ‘hit squads’ with little or no Congressional oversight are another step down the path followed by dictators from time immemorial, from the Hashishin to the ninja of the Tokugawa shogunate to the GRU and NKVD of the Soviets.

    That’s why we need OVERSIGHT.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Glenn,

    Why do you think Goldwater popped up with that statement “extremism in the defense of liberty is no crime”? He knew and understood that there has never been rule of law in America (or Israel). It has always been rule of the gun.

    Like I said, “government is nothing but a criminal gang with the authority to commit crime, allegedly granted by the citizenry, a.k.a. the sucker born every minute.”

    That’s reality, Glenn. All the rest is bullshit.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy, IMO you’ve steeped yourself so deeply in just how bad things can get that it’s very difficult for you to see otherwise. Considering the hatred of much of Western civilization against Judaism, I can’t really blame you.

    But while Mao was partially right when he said “power grows out of the end of a gun”, it is much more true that the pen is mightier than the sword – for knowledge, patriotism, enthusiasm, hatred, organization, religion, none of these have power without the use of written communication.

    It would also benefit you to remember who led the greatest revolution in history and how he did it. It wasn’t George Washington – it was Ghandi. He didn’t use any guns. He didn’t need to.

    Ruvy, bitter cynicism has its place. Right now I’m reading “The War of the World” by Niall Ferguson. I recommend it – it’s an eye-opener for peaceniks, Holocaust-deniers, and all those who claim “it can’t happen here!”

    By the same token, I also recommend giving ice cream to little children and watching them play for an hour, or sitting with an elderly woman and listening to her reminisce over happier times in the past.

    The glass is half empty, sure. But don’t forget the glass is also half full.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    If you’re for holding people accountable for breaking the law, then you should be all for prosecution of Bush and Cheney for waging an aggressive war in strict violation of the Geneva Convention…because we are bound by international law to follow the Geneva Accords.

    Except that they never did this. They did not prosecute a war which violates the principles of the Geneva Accords, nor did they violate our own Constitutional requirements for waging a war.

    Furthermore, if one of our allies in NATO declare Bush or Cheney to be in violation of the law, then we are bound by our own law to hand them over to stand trail.

    I disagree. IMO no treaty which requires the extradition of any US citizen to stand trial in a foreign country is valid under the constitution. It would be a fundamental violation of their 4th and 5th Amendment rights.

    Furthermore, as Deano point out the CIA is legally required to brief the congressional intel committees.

    Only on actions they actually take. They don’t have to brief them on what they had for breakfast or discussed over the water cooler.

    If America is to abide by the rule of law, then why should we excuse Cheney for ordering the CIA to NOT brief Congress…which is in fact ordering them to break the law?

    Because a discussion of a possible program which was never implemented doesn’t reach the level of significance where congressional oversight would be required.

    Do you see where this is going, Dave? You’re winding up with the choice of standing by the Rule of Law…or excusing our leaders from being accountable to the law.

    I don’t see it, Glenn. There have to be some standards applied and our leaders have the same rights as any other citizen.

    From rawstory.com, “Congress already knows, for example, of a Bush-era plan to destabilize Iran’s religious government, and that has drawn very little criticism and attention. So how could a far more innocuous program aimed at Al Qaeda generate so much more controversy?”

    Because Congressional Democrats are looking for a Witch Hunt to distract from their horrific legislative agenda.

    C’mon, Dave – your boys claimed there was enough wrongdoing in the Whitewater controversy to warrant a special prosecutor…but you’re pooh-poohing this, claiming it’s nothing to be concerned about?

    I wasn’t particularly concerned about Whitewater either.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    You posted: “Except that they never did this. They did not prosecute a war which violates the principles of the Geneva Accords, nor did they violate our own Constitutional requirements for waging a war.”

    1 – Even Generals Petraeus and Powell agree that we violated the Geneva Convention – but they’re just soldiers – what would they know, right? And is it against American law to violate a treaty? I’m not sure…but we certainly did violate the Geneva Convention.

    And much of the remainder of your reply rests on the contention that this program was never implemented.

    Also, the CIA is also required to brief the Intel Committees on what they’re GOING to do, not just on what they’ve already done.

    Hm. Let me see – Panetta ended the program the day after he was briefed on it, and when he DID brief the Committees, even the Republican members were ‘stunned’.

    Would they really be ‘stunned’ about sending teams after al-Qaeda leaders? No. Come on, Dave – they might yawn, but they would not in the least be surprised.

    When congressmen on both sides of the aisle are shocked about something…and then come out and say “it was just part of our war against terrorists”, are they being truthful? Or are they doing what they can to divert scrutiny, to tell a half-lie in order to hide something worse?

    There’s much more to this than we’re hearing, than we might ever hear. Frankly, considering where the idea of an ‘executive assassination ring’ might lead…and putting this together with things we’ve done like rendition, torture, indefinite imprisonment without trial, warrantless wiretapping (even of Congress!)…

    …put it all together, Dave.

  • Bliffle

    There’s enough for a grand jury to bring an indictment, and probably enough evidence to convict.

    But, latterly, with King George III safely out of mind, Americans developed their own home grown form of lese majeste protection for important people. I suppose they figured that prosecuting important people would lead to national disgrace.

    It’s all about saving face.

  • http://kitchendispatch.blogspot.com Kanani

    Well, if it is so, it does explain Cheney’s behavior since leaving office.

    “Perhaps that’s why President Ford outlawed assassination as a tool, and President Reagan affirmed that same law: neither one wanted us to relearn the lessons of the past.”

    So, what happened to change the outlook? Or were those two “old school?”

  • pablo

    comment 37

    Glenn there you have it Dave stripped to his core. As an unrepentant apologist for illegal covert cia assassination squads, Mr. Nalle once and for all lays his so called ‘libertarian’ cards on the table, and reveals himself to be what he really is, a shill.

    I do however admire his sheer audacity and arrogance, as it fits his views and his party’s to a fuckin t.

    Thanks Dave. I always appreciate hearing it from the horses mouth pal. :)

    I rarely perouse this site anymore (for reasons s mentioned ad naseum), but I do occasionally just for amusement purposes to watch the professional bs’er in action. Thanks again Davey.

  • Clavos

    I rarely perouse this site anymore

    Or peruse it, I imagine…

  • pablo

    Thanks for the spelling lesson Clavy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Good to see you, Pablo. I always enjoy your comments.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    BTW, I did use one of your comments to launch the present series on healthcare – when you spoke of rights which (like the civil rights) were legislated. It was Part II or Part III, can’t remember now which.

  • Bliffle

    Dave has definite problems with his Libertarian pose, what with being so favorably disposed to monopoly corporate domination of business as he is, and the privatization of government to aid those monopolies.

    Those monopolies are the functional equivalent of the old russian soviets, so it’s sometimes surprising to see him abandon his ‘liberty’ claims in support of predatory corporations.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s the link, Pablo. And it’s Part III, the top of page 2.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Good to see you, Pablo. I always enjoy your comments.

    This is not intended ironically, I take it.

    Oy vey.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Of course not, Handy.