MAP Member Opinion "Peace"  

By Sook Holdridge
Alliance for Democracy-Minnesota; Foundation for Global Community
sent February 28, 2003

Monday, February 24, 2003 was a dark day for America. It was the day democracy ended on matters concerning war; the day the Judicial Branch made a mockery of the Constitution; the day George Bush's expanded war powers were safeguarded, and the day that cleared the path for an all out attack on Iraq.

Monday was the day U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro threw out a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Bush's power to declare war on Iraq. He dismissed it mostly because the six members of Congress and several others were just too few plaintiffs to merit proceeding with the case. As the judge put it, there is not a "clear, resolute conflict" between the executive and legislative branches to require a judge's intervention.

Judge Tauro went on to confirm what Bush has maintained all along, that he does not need congressional authority to order forces into combat. The ruling was the lynchpin that nailed the door shut to anyone who would oppose Bush's authority to declare war, even a highly controversial preemptive war.

It didn't matter that the Constitution says only Congress shall have the power to declare war.

It didn't matter that the congressional resolution passed last October did not specifically declare war and improperly ceded the decision to Bush.

It didn't matter the only way Congress can transfer the power to declare war to the President is by passing an amendment to the Constitution.

It didn't matter that no such amendment was ever passed, and that no resolution can transfer that power.

Democracy didn't matter. The Constitution didn't matter. Nor did it matter the checks and balance of power designed into our three separate branches of government is in shambles.

But now it matters, we are closer to a tyrannical monarchy than we dare admit. The Executive Branch has skillfully and methodically, through intimidation, appointments and calculated twisting of words, shaped the Judicial and Legislative branches of government into rubber stampers for its own purposes.

Dark Monday secured Bush power likened to a king. He can name any country he wants as a threat to the United States - as an "axis of evil" and worse, he has carte blanche authority to attack it. In this
"just" cause, Congress and the people become powerless - "irrelevant", to use one of Bush's favorite words.

Since 9-11 most members of Congress have been watching Bush's rise to power from the bleacher section. Mute. Bush's simplistic, intimidating analysis, "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists", has kept Congress eating out of his hand. No dissenter wants to be labeled unpatriotic. When Bush asks for expanded war authority, Congress is right there to hand it to him. Forget whether it's constitutional.

The egregious ambitions of the Executive Branch won't stop with Iraq. Under the guise of "protecting the national security", Bush gets to name the enemy. Who will it be next? Iran? North Korea? Sudan? And what makes us think the Bush doctrine will make us more secure? More likely, we'll be less secure. History's pattern tells us when great countries concentrate their resources to sustain military might, it marks the beginning of their economic, political and social decay and eventual collapse. And that's exactly where the Bush doctrine leads. Killing thousands and thousands in war after war isn't going to solve anything. Just the opposite. Inevitably, the United States is going to trigger World War III. The idea is daunting. It will be terrorists vs. the bomb. No one will be secure. All will lose. There's a better way.

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