March 30, 2012
Asawin Suebsaeng, who is an editorial fellow at Mother Jones, seems to have a problem understanding the Constitution and the national security state. He takes the political “right” to task for warning about the National Defense Resources Preparedness executive order signed by Obama earlier this month. This particular EO is no big deal and if you really want to place blame, place it on Harry Truman, Suebsaeng writes.
He’s right about Truman. The National Security Act of 1947 was passed by Congress and signed into law by president Truman. It has allowed the Pentagon and the CIA to encroach on our civil liberties ever since. It created a national security establishment that has issued a number of unconstitutional executive orders. Mr. Suebsaeng mentions these in passing. It enabled the military-industrial complex president Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address in 1961.
Both the national security state and the military-industrial complex (which are actually inseparable) experienced a renaissance following the engineered demise of the Soviet Union, the supposed (and endlessly celebrated) end of the Cold War and the attacks of September 11, 2001. Eisenhower warned that the “potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist” and this is precisely what happened prior to and following his speech.
Suebsaeng tells us the National Defense Resources Preparedness EO is not unique and it is basically a rerun of executive orders by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Dwight Eisenhower. “It’s your standard government readiness policy – nothing particularly exciting or groundbreaking,” he writes without delving into what a “readiness policy” is and what it means for a nation that is supposedly a republic based on the Constitution.
“Manufacturing a far-fetched conspiracy out of something so routine is a distraction,” Suebsaeng complains in what we can only conclude is ignorance of the issue and a knee-jerk reaction in defense of Obama, who many liberals still blindly follow despite the obvious fact he is a teleprompter reading stooge little different than his predecessor.
The National Defense Resources Preparedness EO and most of the FEMA EOs before it almost completely eviscerate due process (explicitly stated in the Fifth Amendment with a heritage going back to the Magna Carta). The EOs sprouting from the Defense Production Act of 1950 allowing the government to mobilize national resources in the event of “national emergencies” set the stage for a complete government takeover and the implementation of martial law and confiscate private property.
Reading the EOs make this abundantly clear despite the arguments of apologists like Mr. Suebsaeng, who dismisses legitimate concerns about egregious violations of the Constitution as the “right’s latest phony freak-out about Obama’s wielding of executive power.”
Supposed liberals usually only complain about abuses of executive power when so-called conservatives are in the White House. They routinely give Democrat presidents a blank check to attack the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For them, the Constitution is a partisan football.
If Mr. Suebsaeng were a fair and impartial observer instead of a Democrat apologist for maximum state power over the individual, he would mention that presidents regardless of party affiliation have repeatedly violated the Constitution – from Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson to Bush and Obama.
The commentary of Sean Hannity, Pamela Geller, the Daily Paul, Reason and Alex Jones – all excoriated as right-wing nuts and extremists by Suebsaeng – come in a distant second to the in-your-face derogation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights given the nod by Mother Jones’ editorial fellow.
Although technically not an executive order, the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) was not mentioned by Suebsaeng. Obama had attached a signing order to the legislation passed into law by Congress. The ACLU, usually identified with liberals such as Suebsaeng, stated following Obama’s signature on the NDAA that “it will damage both his legacy and American’s reputation for upholding the rule of law. The last time Congress passed indefinite detention legislation was during the McCarthy era and President Truman had the courage to veto that bill. We hope that the president will consider the long view of history before codifying indefinite detention without charge or trial.”
Moreover, Mr. Suebsaeng did not mention the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act and other legislation passed into law or signed by executive fiat. The National Defense Resources Preparedness EO is part of a larger and increasingly portentous effort by the government to establish the framework of a police state and an excuse to impose martial law.
The NDAA gives the government the power to arrest without warrant (as stipulated under the Fourth Amendment) any U.S. citizen and hold him or her indefinitely, a concept abhorrent to the founders and more likely to be the practice of a military dictatorship.
Both the so-called liberal and conservative sides of the establishment ignored the NDAA – not because they are unaware of the legislation and its purpose (which has nothing to do with al-Qaeda), but because the establishment does not want the NDAA discussed.
It looks like Suebsaeng has decided to respect their wish as well.
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