Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Quietly, Congress has once again bowed to the Pentagon and taken another fateful step toward military rule in America. The Washington Post reports that in a “little notice provision of the National Defense Authorization Act passed last month,” the Congress authorized the Pentagon to dispense foreign aid to foreign militaries directly rather than the customary civilian way of having the State Department do it.
Of course, foreign aid is bad enough. It is nothing more than a welfare government-to-government payment that the U.S. government uses to bribe foreign regimes into compliance within its empire. “Do as we say, and you will have millions of dollars to line your pockets, but go independent, and you will lose your dole as well as subject yourself to the possibility of assassination, sanctions, coup, or invasion,” is the message that empire officials give to foreign regimes.
To grant the military the power to grant such bribes to foreign military only aggravates the problem. Now the military, which has covered up its torture, sex abuse, rape, and murder scandal, will have the power to dispense cash to military counterparts in brutal foreign regimes, including those who are willing to “handle” detainees in a “satisfactory” manner and remain quiet about it.
Consider the power the military now has, given the powers claimed by the president as a military commander in chief in time of “war” and operating in conjunction with the CIA:
1. The power to arrest, incarcerate, punish, and execute any American, denying him due process of law and a jury trial.
2. The power to arrest any American and send him to Cuba for torture, sex abuse, and execution.
3. The power to threaten any Congressman with losing the military bases in his district if he votes the wrong way on military appropriation bills.
4. The power to send the entire nation into war, including against countries that have not attacked the United States, without a declaration of war by Congress.
5. The power to spy on Americans.
6. The power to station troops along private lands on the Southern border of the United States to protect America from an “invasion” of undocumented workers.
7. The power to involve itself in the “war on drugs.”
8. And now the power to dispense U.S. taxpayer money to foreign military regimes, including those that torture and brutalize their own people.
Our nation continues moving in a very bad direction — in the direction of empire and militarism — the same direction that the Soviet Union was headed in — which has produced the anger and hatred that has engendered the terrorism, which is now being used as the excuse for more military power and more suppression of liberty at home.
Americans would be wise to finally heed the warnings of President Eisenhower on the dangers of the military-industrial complex as well as the warnings of our Founding Fathers on the dangers of standing armies. Otherwise, Americans who value their freedom might well wish they had heeded those warnings before it was too late, especially if another big terrorist strike occurs in America.
Monday, January 30, 2006
William Blum, the author of Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, a book that was quoted by Osama bin Laden, isn’t getting much sleep these days as a result of being propelled into a media whirlwind after a life of relative obscurity. Blum’s book accurately portrays U.S. foreign policy as the root of the anger among foreigners that produced 9/11. He correctly argues that the only solution is to dismantle the U.S. military empire.
Not surprisingly, he has been inundated with “You hate America” emails from that segment of American society that thinks that if a person says anything Osama or Saddam say, he must be a terrorist who hates America. In other words, if Osama or Saddam were to say, “It’s raining,” and an American were to say, “It’s raining,” that would be proof positive that the American is a terrorist who hates America. It has been this segment of Americans that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been appealing to ever since 9/11, with such suggestions as “In the war on terrorism, you’re either with us or against us” or “Saddam conspired to commit the 9/11 attacks” or “Saddam is about to unleash mushroom clouds on U.S. cities.”
What is most fascinating about this segment is how they combine, in their minds, the federal government and America. That is, their deep and profound love for the federal government convinces them that the government and the country are the same thing. So, whenever anyone criticizes the object of their deep affection (the federal government), they automatically conclude that the critic is also referring to their country. In the minds of this segment of American society, the federal government and the country are one and the same.
Of course, this is sheer nonsense. There is the public sector and the private sector. The private sector is the country. The public sector is the government. Sometimes the government sector engages in conduct that is very harmful to the private sector. The genuine patriot is not the person who loves the government but rather the person who loves the country and who is willing to stand up against the government in favor of the country.
If you ever want to befuddle one of these people who conflate the federal government and the country, remind them that the very purpose of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is to protect the country from the federal government. Their systems will begin to short-circuit as they try to figure out a response. One person once said to me, “The purpose of the Constitution was to protect us from terrorists” (and by that she did not mean U.S. officials).
My most favorite essay I’ve ever written is The White Rose: A Lesson in Dissent, which got reprinted in an anthology on the Holocaust for high school students. Two German siblings, Hans and Sophie Scholl, who were students at the University of Munich, loved their country so much that they decided to oppose their own government, which was headed by Adolph Hitler, who was exhorting Germans to “support the troops.” Amidst the secret police, secret spying, secret searches, and secret courts, Hans and Sophie risked their lives to distribute their “White Rose” pamphlets, which called on Germans to oppose their government, even in the midst of war. When they were finally caught by the Gestapo, they were quickly brought to trial, where the presiding judge harangued them for hating Germany. They were quickly found guilty (in a secret proceeding, of course) and executed. To this day, there are undoubtedly both Germans and Americans who believe that Hans and Sophie Scholl were “traitors” and that the presiding judge was a “patriot.”
Friday, January 27, 2006
On January 25, I blogged about how U.S. officials, despite their best efforts, will never be able to stop the flow of drugs or labor into the United States. As the government clamps down, the black-market price goes up, thereby attracting new suppliers into the market.
Today, the New York Times provides another good example of this phenomenon, with respect to the decades-long war on drugs. U.S. officials have discovered an elaborate tunnel from Mexico to the United States, which provided drug smugglers with a convenient way to import and distribute illegal drugs.
“The tunnel is 60 feet below ground at some points, five feet high, and nearly half a mile long, extending from a warehouse near the international airport in Tijuana, Mexico, to a vacant industrial building in Otay Mesa, Calif., about 20 miles southeast of downtown San Diego. The sophistication of the tunnel surprised officials, who found it outfitted with a concrete floor, electricity, lights and ventilation and groundwater pumping systems.”
As Michael Unzueta, special agent in charge for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency for the San Diego office, put it, “The tunnel is absolutely amazing. It is probably the biggest tunnel on the southern border so far.”
I don’t wish to make grown-up American men and women any more frightened than they already are, but since 9/11, there have been 21 tunnels discovered from Mexico into the United States.
For more amazing ways that people respond the exorbitant profit motive in the war on drugs, see here (scroll down to “When Smuggling Gets Tough, Smugglers Get Creative.”)
Unfortunately, drug-war personnel such as Unzueta, whose salaries depends on continuing the war on drugs, fail to comprehend that the tunnel is just a manifestation of the exorbitant profits that one can make in the drug trade. The drug-war people fail to see that it is their own war on drugs that produces the high black-market prices and profits that ensure that their war on drugs keeps on keeping on. They fail to see the futility of their efforts and, indeed, the wastefulness and destructiveness of their very lives. They fail to recognize that enormous price that the American people must continue to pay for this folly.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
The office of the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has uncovered massive fraud in the receipt and disbursement of millions of dollars in U.S.-taxpayer money to rebuild Iraq. Fraud. Yes, fraud. By American federal officials.
American federal officials knowingly and deliberately failed to establish any system of accounting and control over the millions of dollars in U.S.-taxpayer provided money that U.S. officials were flooding into Iraq, supposedly to “rebuild Iraq.” According to the New York Times, shrink-wrapped stacks of hundred dollar bills, even as much as a million dollars at a time, were squirreled away in such places as personal bathroom safes and unlocked footlockers. “One contractor received $100,000 to completely refurbish an Olympic pool but only polished the pumps; even so, local American officials certified the work as completed.”
I certainly don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble who took civics classes in high school, but I’d be willing to bet that the foreign bank accounts of many U.S. officials have soared during the past 3 years, as they were “rebuilding” Iraq.
Do you remember when all those commentators on the U.S. pro-war cable news networks were constantly declaiming against the fraud committed by Iraqi officials in the infamous oil-for-food scandal? Hardly an evening went by without their expressing their shock and dismay that Iraqi federal officials would actually commit fraud with a government program. As we said during all their declamations, Why the shock and awe? There is always government fraud in socialist programs.
Will those commentators and networks now issue the same level of indignant declamations against U.S. officials for their fraud in the infamous Iraq reconstruction scandal? If you believe that, I’ve got a nice bridge I’d like to sell you, in Baghdad.
For one, the U.S. federal government is like a god to these people (the commentators and networks), a god that should never be criticized for his failings. That’s why you rarely, if ever, find these people leveling even mild criticism against federal officials, even when their conduct is as crooked as a dog’s hind leg, as it has been in the infamous Iraq reconstruction scandal.
Second, many of these commentators know that by focusing on Iraqi fraud in the oil-for-food scandal, they and their viewers are more easily able to avoid focusing on the much more discomforting central issue: the brutal sanctions against the Iraqi people that were imposed and enforced by UN and U.S. officials. If people start to focus on those sanctions, they are apt to discover that the consequences of the sanctions — hundreds of thousands of innocent children killed from dirty-water infections and diseases — leads directly to 9//11 as well as the earlier 1993 terrorist attack on the WTC.
And that revelation would mean that people would be likely to realize that the “we’re innocent and they hate us for our freedom and values” position of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, and Secretary Rice has been as big a lie as the reasons they posed for invading Iraq, which has killed tens of thousands of more innocent Iraqi citizens.
People might even come to recognize why so many Arabs, including the 1993 and 9/11 terrorists, were so angry when U.S. Ambassador the UN Madeleine Albright announced that the deaths of those Iraqi children were “worth it,” without a peep of protest by other U.S. officials.
The fact is that both Iraqi and U.S. government officials are crooked, as reflected by both the oil-for-food scandal and the Iraq reconstruction scandal. Should these crooks — both American and Iraqi — be brought to justice? Of course.
But what is much more critical is a fundamental reevaluation of U.S. foreign policy, including the use of sanctions to punish innocent foreign citizens as a way to get at their ruler and military invasions and wars of aggression against innocent countries (Iraq never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so) as a way to oust their ruler and replace him with someone else. By bringing an end to those wrongful policies, there will no longer be a need to bring into existence government programs to address the problems arising from those policies. And that would mean that both foreign and American officials would then have less opportunity to defraud the American people.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
The Los Angeles Times today has an interesting article on immigration smuggling that also provides a valuable lesson on the futility of government control over economic activity.
When the government makes a economic activity illegal, a black market — that is, an illegal market — immediately forms. The reason: The price immediately goes up because supply has been constricted by the illegality. This immediately attracts the attention of potential suppliers. But unlike a legal market, the black-market activity inevitably attracts unsavory and oftentimes violent underworld suppliers who are willing to risk a felony conviction in return for the high financial rewards the black-market prices produce.
Consider, for example, drug laws. Before drug prohibition goes into effect, reputable businesses, such as pharmacies or tobacco or alcohol dealers, are selling the drugs. Once drugs are made illegal, those reputable businesses are not willing to risk a felony conviction and the loss of their businesses. Therefore, they stop supplying the drugs to consumers. The high, black-market prices, however, attract new suppliers — the drug lords, drug gangs, etc.
As the government clamps down on the drug lords and drug gangs, the price tends to soar. Those new super-exorbitant prices then tend to attract an entirely new type of seller — the average American who is willing to make a drug delivery in the hope of making one big score (i.e., tens of thousands of dollars on one smuggling run).
Well, the Los Angeles Times article on immigration smuggling reveals that the same black-market phenomenon is now taking place with respect to the black-market smuggling of illegal aliens. According to the article, “The smugglers come from all walks of life — homeless veterans, single mothers, senior citizens and college students. Some drivers are drug addicts or gamblers who are down on their luck.”
What these types of illegal-alien smugglers are doing is transporting the illegal aliens across the international bridge in the trunk of their cars. They’re playing the odds that when they go through Customs, they won’t be asked to open their trunk given the enormous volume of cars crossing the bridge. A smuggler named Trent said that a driver who makes 3 runs a week can make as much as $100,000 per year.
Thus, no matter how much the government clamps down on economic activity — whether it be drugs or labor — no matter how many people are jailed or killed, the result will be a soaring price, which then attracts new suppliers to replace the previous ones.
The government’s conviction that its intervention into the market process will someday achieve its desired results, despite decades of failure, brings to mind the legend of King Canute. Canute was surrounded by the same sorts of courtiers and flatterers and boot kissers that surround American presidents. Like those who currently surround President Bush, Canute’s aides said to him,
“You are the greatest man that ever lived. O king, there can never be another as mighty as you. Your highness, there is nothing you cannot do. Great Canute, you are the monarch of all. Nothing in this world dares to disobey you.”
To teach all his flatterers and boot-kissers that there are limits to a king’s powers, Canute had them bring his chair to the edge of the ocean:
“Sea,” cried Canute, “I command you to come no further! Waves, stop your rolling!. Surf, stop your pounding! Do not dare touch my feet!” He waited a moment, quietly, and a tiny wave rushed up the sand and lapped at his feet. “How dare you!” Canute shouted. “Ocean, turn back now! I have ordered you to retreat before me, and now you must obey! Go back!” …. “Well, my friends,” Canute said, “it seems I do not have quite so much power as you would have me believe.”
If only American presidents were as wise as King Canute. No longer would they puff out their chest and proclaim, “Drugs and laborers, I command you to come no further! You must obey! Turn back now! Go back!”
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Concerning the possibility of another Bush war — this time against Iran — it’s important to keep in mind a central point amidst all the talk about going to the UN or the International Atomic Energy Agency: President Bush’s position is that he — and he alone — has the power to send the United States into war against Iran. That is, his claim is that he doesn’t need a declaration of war from Congress, despite what the Constitution says, and he doesn’t need the consent of the United Nations. Just as with Iraq, if he fails to secure the support of the UN or if he fails to secure a declaration of war from Congress, he claims the omnipotent power to unleash the bombs and missiles that would kill and maim tens of thousands of innocent Iranians, just as he did with tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.
If that’s not dictatorial power, what is? (One cannot help but wonder how conservatives will react if Hillary Clinton is elected president because their worst nightmare will then be wielding the same dictatorial powers that conservatives so willingly and eagerly relinquished to Bush.)
It’s also important to recognize why Iranian officials would like to get their hands on nuclear armaments — the U.S. government’s longtime pro-empire and pro-interventionist foreign policy, which is perfectly manifested by President Bush. That is, the official position of U.S. officials is that any regime that operates independently of U.S. authority and is label “evil” is considered fair game for “regime change,” either through coup, assassination, or invasion. Certainly, Iran falls into that category.
In fact, while most public-schooled Americans are unaware of the U.S. government’s covert ouster of Iran’s democratically elected prime minister in 1953, the Iranian people, not surprisingly, have never forgotten that coup. They have also not forgotten the ardent support that U.S. officials gave to the brutal unelected dictator, the Shah of Iran, who replaced the ousted prime minister.
Iranian officials also know that once a foreign power secures nuclear weapons, such as North Korea, U.S. officials abandon talk of preemptive attacks for purpose of regime change. Why, even the unelected brutal military dictator of Pakistan, a close friend of the Taliban, is now a close friend of U.S. officials; he has nuclear weapons. Why does it surprise anyone that Iranian officials wish to protect themselves from another U.S. coup or an Iraqi-style “regime change” military attack by securing nuclear weapons?
Of course, Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the federal gang know that if they can get another war going, they will be able to ignite war fever and rally-round-the flag-fervor among the public-schooled populace once again, which would mean more Patriot Acts, more color-code crises, more fear of terrorism, more quivering knees among grown-up men and women, more vicarious courage through “support the troops” ribbons, soaring budgets, more pro-government patriotism, more blind allegiance to government, more torture and sex abuse, more round-ups of foreigners, and more Jose Padilla lock-ups of Americans. In other words, more Big and Powerful and Dictatorial Government, which might be the real reason that so many Washington officials are endorsing another war, this time against Iran.
Monday, January 23, 2006
The federales obviously didn’t feel constrained by the spirit behind U.S. campaign laws that prohibit donors from contributing more than $1,500 to federal candidates. You’ll recall that the purported rationale for such laws is that they will supposedly ensure that Big Money doesn’t unduly influence federal elections. (Please stop laughing.)
According to the New York Times, the federales have spent $1.9 million in U.S. taxpayer funds to help the Fatah faction defeat the Hamas faction in Palestinian elections. Think about that on April 15 or the next time you’re paying your heating bill.
Not surprisingly, they’re doing the same thing with the money that they do here with federal grants — bribing the citizenry into supporting the party in power that is bringing them all this “free” federal candy. Why, there have been U.S.-taxpayer funded tree plantings, schoolroom additions, soccer tournament, street cleaning, and computers at community centers, all “coordinated with President Mahmoud Abbas and meant to be associated with him and the Palestian Authority, which is run by Fatah.” Apparently a bit reluctant to embrace all this free federal U.S. taxpayer largess, however, “Mr. Abbas was reluctant to show up to claim credit for the projects.”
This is what the federales call “promoting democracy” — spending U.S. taxpayer money to influence elections in foreign lands in order to get the faction they favor into power. Of course, as John Perkins points out in his book Confessions of an Economic Hitman, when that fails there are U.S-taxpayer-funded IMF loans to secure foreign loyalty, and if that fails, there are CIA assassinations, and if that fails, there are Pentagon provided invasions, as the people of Panama, Grenada, Haiti, and Iraq have learned.
Of course, when the losing side gets angry and vengeful and retaliates, the federales tell us that it’s all because foreigners hate America for its “freedom and values,” not because the federales are sticking their noses and our money where it doesn’t belong.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Those people who claim that the environment, including public parks and wildlife preservation, is best left to government types probably would prefer that people not factor West Virginia bureaucrats into the equation. Just ask Patricia Hoffman-Butler, a West Virginian who works in a Washington, D.C., museum.
Hoffman-Butler received a phone call at work one day from West Virginia officials, demanding the keys to pens back home in Martinsburg, West Virginia, where she was nursing 60 injured raccoons back to health before releasing them back into the wild.
Why the phone call? Well, you see, Hoffman-Butler didn’t have a license from the state to help those animals. She hasn’t gotten their permission. Never mind that her love of wildlife and the outdoors had motivated her to seek training from licensed wildlife rehabilitators in other states. Never mind that she had spent thousands of dollars of her own money on supplies. All that didn’t matter. What mattered is that the state of West Virginia hadn’t issued her a license, which in the minds of West Virginia authorities is the only thing that would have ensured that she was competent. You know, like all those competent (and ethical) lawyers that have been licensed by the West Virginia authorities.
So, why didn’t Hoffman-Butler secure a license from the West Virginia authorities? Well, because the West Virginia authorities don’t issue licenses for wildlife rehabilitation, like they do in Virginia, Maryland, and most other states. So that means—you guessed it—that Hoffman-Butler was expected to be the “good little citizen” she was taught to be in public school and simply obey the rules. She just shouldn’t be helping out wild animals in West Virginia. Period.
West Virginia authorities taught Hoffman-Butler a valuable lesson. They made her plead guilty to a criminal misdemeanor offense for helping those animals without a license. She was lucky. The 60 raccoons she was helping paid a much bigger price. By the time she made the 2-hour trip back home after receiving her telephone call at work, those “pro-wildlife” West Virginia officials had killed most of the 60 raccoons that she was nursing back to health. Yes, killed them. After all, what Hoffman Butler had done in nursing them back to health was against the law. Hoffman-Butler arrived home in time to hear the screams of the balance of those raccoons that were still in the process of being put to death.
Think about that the next time you hear a liberal exclaim, “Oh, we couldn’t trust the environment to the private sector. Only bureaucrats care about the environment.”
Thursday, January 19, 2006
The trial begins today in the nation’s “deadliest human smuggling case.” Nineteen undocumented immigrants died while being illegally transported in the back of a truck trailer, along with 55 other persons, in sweltering South Texas heat.
In his opening statement, the federal prosecutor will tell the jurors that the defendants are legally responsible for the deaths of the victims. Unfortunately, he is unlikely to mention those who are morally responsible for the deaths — federal officials who enact and enforce immigration controls, which are precisely what give rise to the black market in immigrant smuggling that leads to deaths such as these.
If the Mexicans who were in the back of that truck had instead been free to travel into the United States as normal human beings, say on a public bus, the illegal alien transport business would never have come into existence. After all, at the risk of belaboring the obvious, why would people pay an exorbitant amount to be transported in the back of truck trailer in the middle of the summer if they could pay a much smaller sum to be transported in an air-conditioned bus?
This is what federal officials, including those in Congress, block out of their minds — that the interventions they enact and enforce have perverse consequences, not the least of which is the rise of black (i.e., illegal) markets that inevitably involve unsavory characters who don’t give a hoot about the well-being of their customers.
Another good example of this phenomenon is drug laws. Just as with immigration laws, drug prohibition has also given rise to an illegal black market that involves many unsavory characters. When the drug-war black market results in, say, a murder, federal officials focus on the people legally responsible for the deaths but block out of their minds that they (federal officials) bear moral responsibility for enacting and enforcing the law that gave rise to the black market that ultimately caused the deaths.
Thus, while the indictment in the Houston smuggling case names the defendants who are now on trial, it unfortunately fails to mention the unindicted people who are morally responsible for the immigrant deaths — the U.S. officials who enact and enforce the laws that produce the black market that ultimately causes the deaths.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Congressional leaders from both parties are rushing to enact new laws designed to prevent lobbyists from unduly influencing the members of Congress into selling their votes. Yawn! Wasn’t that what all those ethics rules were supposed to be all about? Wasn’t that what limits on campaign contributions were supposed to be all about? Wasn’t that what campaign reporting requirements were supposed to be all about?
Despite all the current hype over new lobbyist rules, nothing will change as long as the American people keep their massive income-tax funded welfare system in place. With billions of dollars headed into Washington every year, the incentive and opportunity for bribery, both legal and illegal, will be ever-present.
The solution to the corruption is not more rules and regulation or even the old bromide about getting “better people into public office.” The only solution is a complete paradigm shift away from the income-tax funded socialistic welfare state that revolutionized American life in the 20th century in favor of the free-market philosophy that once distinguished our nation from the rest of the world.
That would entail a restoration of a system that protects very person’s right to keep everything he earns (i.e., no more IRS and federal income tax) and that protects each person’s right to do whatever he wants with his own money (i.e., no more coerced government welfare). By depriving their esteemed members of Congress of all that federal income-tax money, the American people would simultaneously bring about the disappearance of lobbyists who live their lives wallowing in Washington, feeding at the public trough.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
The next time somebody says, “Support the troops!” someone might suggest that the Pentagon ought to do the same. In fact, the wife and parents of 21-year-old Army Spec. Jesse Buryj, who was killed in Iraq by “friendly fire,” might say that the Pentagon also ought to “Support the families of the troops!”
According to a front-page story in today’s Washington Post, one night Buryj’s unit opened fire on a truck that they suspected was carrying a suicide bomb. The truck barreled into Buryj’s Humvee, which threw him onto the ground. But what actually killed Buryj was a bullet in the back. The problem was that the GIs were being assisted by military units from Poland, a member of President Bush’s “coalition of the willing.”
As it turned out, while the driver of the truck was shot dead, the truck didn’t have a bomb in it after all. The suspicion is that the bullet that killed Buryj came from one of the Polish troops. But the Poles say that it actually came from the American troops.
A complete autopsy would have resolved the issue, but the problem is that President Bush and the Pentagon didn’t want to ruffle political feathers of a member of the “coalition of the willing” prior to the 2004 presidential election. The autopsy was squelched for fear of offending the Poles, who, as one U.S. officer put it mildly, “were very liberal in their use of force when they perceived a threat.”
So, deferring to political considerations, the president and the Pentagon simply decided to leave the Buryj family in the dark with respect to how Jesse actually died. In fact, the family says that they weren’t even told that he had been killed by friendly fire but the Pentagon denies that. Of course, after the Pentagon’s knowing and deliberate lies surrounding the friendly-fire death of Pat Tillman, the Pentagon’s credibility is a bit tattered. It also doesn’t help the Pentagon’s case that orders were issued to the members of Buryj’s unit not to answer questions from his family.
Jesse’s mother, Peggy Buryj says, “I’m angry. I’m so angry. I gave them my son, and he served proudly. He didn’t deserve this. His family didn’t deserve this. I just want to know the truth.”
Nevertheless, even though she turned down an invitation from the president to appear with him as a grieving mother in a pro-war campaign commercial, Peggy Buryj remains “a Bush supporter who believes strongly in the Iraq war.” Unfortunately, like so many other Americans who have felt that they have been “supporting the troops” by supporting the invasion of Iraq, even though Peggy Buryj wants the truth as to how her son actually died, it is still too painful for her to accept the horrible reality that her son was sent into a wrongful war where he died — and killed — for nothing.
Monday, January 16, 2006
The Pakistani people got a harsh taste of President Bush’s “war on terrorism,” when either the CIA or the Pentagon fired a missile into a Pakistani village, killing 17 people. U.S. officials were targeting Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahri, but he was not among the dead.
Thousands of enraged Pakistanis took to the streets, chanting “Death to America,” but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declined to apologize for the killings. Of course, if any of those enraged Pakistanis commits a terrorist act against Americans, Rice will undoubtedly deliver the same answer that U.S. officials delivered after 9/11 — that the terrorists hate America for its “freedom and values,” not because of the brutality of U.S. foreign policy.
President Bush’s foreign policy is mirroring that of Chilean military strongman Augusto Pinochet. Like Bush, Pinochet believed that he could rule as a military dictator, unconstrained by law, since he was engaged in a “war on terrorism.” Like Bush, Pinochet sent his forces abroad to kill “terrorists,” and killed innocent people in the process, such as when Pinochet’s DINA (his CIA) exploded a bomb in former Chilean official Orlando Letelier’s car on the streets of Washington, D.C., killing Letelier (who Chilean officials considered to be “terrorist”) as well as Ronni Moffitt, a woman who was riding with him (who Chilean officials didn’t consider to be a “terrorist.”) Pinochet has never apologized for killing either Letelier or Moffit because he, like Bush and Rice, felt that killing suspected “terrorists” was necessary to protect his country from “terrorism.”
As most everyone knows, Pinochet and his minions are now in legal peril for the torture, sex abuse, and murders that they committed in the name of their “war on terrorism.”
Moreover, last week a U.S. court entered a civil judgment for $54.6 million against Salvadoran generals for torture committed by their troops during El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980s.
Perhaps the legal travails of Pinochet and his minions and those of the Salvadoran generals is what has motivated General Geoffrey Miller, who was in charge of the U.S. torture and sex abuse camps in Cuba and Iraq, to take the Fifth Amendment rather than answer questions about what was done to prisoners at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.
Isn’t it ironic that while the prisoners under Gen. Miller’s command were forced to talk through torture, sex abuse, rape, and murder, Miller is falling back on the Fifth Amendment to protect his right to remain silent?
Friday, January 13, 2006
As I have reported in two of this week’s commentaries, both Democratic and Republican members of Congress love to return home and tell their constituents that they have proven effective in bringing home free federal money to local politicians and bureaucrats.
Unfortunately, all too many voters, not knowing any better, fall for the scam and think to themselves, “Wow, my congressman is really effective because he brings home free federal money to my local officials, which benefits me.” The constituents don’t realize that all the congressman, with the exception of Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul, play this vicious, malicious, misleading game of what would best be described as political bribery: “Reelect me and I’ll continue bringing free federal money to your local officials.”
The White House has announced that the budget deficit will climb in 2006 to $400 billion. This means that the federales will be spending $400 billion more than what they bring in via taxes. Part of all that out-of-control spending, of course, is what enables those esteemed members of Congress to be able to return home and say to their voters, “Look at what an effective congressman I’ve been by bringing your local officials free federal money.”
All this spending is primarily financed in two ways: (1) Income taxation, collected by the IRS and (2) federal borrowing.
When taxes are withheld from your income, your employer sends the money to the IRS, which then puts the money in the hands of Congress, whose members then return home and say, “Look at the free federal money I’m bringing your local officials.” And the constituents, not able to put 2 and 2 together, say, “Wow, free federal money! We need to keep him in office.” They cannot see that the free federal money is the money that has been taken from their payroll checks and sent to the IRS. Even worse, they might think to themselves, “It’s not my tax money they’re bringing home but rather the tax money that’s been taken from my friends and neighbors.”
The other way that out-of-control federal spending is financed is through borrowing. The government goes out and borrows funds from the public, promising to pay it back. That sucks a lot of potential savings out of the pockets of people that might well have gone instead into the production of capital equipment, which would have made workers more efficient and productive, thereby raising wage rates. Instead, the money again lands in the hands of Congress, where those esteemed congressmen use it to say, “Look at how effective I am with the free federal money I’ve brought home to your local officials.”
Moreover, the free federal money has got to be paid back. One way to pay it back is higher income taxes—that is, more money withheld from your paycheck. But that would mean that voters might put 2 and 2 together and figure how what’s going on. So instead, the politicians promise “No New Taxes” and the government simply prints the money (it controls the money printing presses) and uses the newly printed money to pay back the borrowed money. But all that newly printed money causes the value of the dollar to fall, which is reflected by increases in prices, especially in the commodities markets. This is the preferred method of fleecing people because then the politicians can blame rising prices on Big Oil, Big Gas, Big Business, or Greedy Profiteers, even while saying to their constituents, “Look at all the free federal money I’m bringing home.” And the unsuspecting voters, never having been taught in their public (government) schools how the system really works, inevitably respond, “I am so thankful that my own congressman is so effective in bringing my community free federal money, and I hope he proves equally effective in punishing all those evil profiteers who keep raising their prices out of greed.”
It’s a brilliant federal scam but as history has shown time and time again, it also constitutes one of the gravest threats to the freedom and economic well-being of a nation.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
U.S. officials are undoubtedly celebrating their latest attack on defenseless Cuban refugees and their forcible repatriation of the refugees into brutal communist tyranny.
The federal government’s Cuban repatriation program will surely go down as among the most vile and shameful in American history. What happened here was that the boat in which the refugees had escaped Fidel Castro’s socialist-communist “paradise” (i.e., “free” public schooling and “free” health care) began sinking, but the refugees were able to reach a U.S. bridge near the Florida coast.
U.S. personnel, however, arrived at the courageous conclusion that since the bridge had broken and was no longer connected to the United States mainland, U.S. forces were justified in taking the refugees into custody and then, in close cooperation with their Cuban communist counterparts, forcibly repatriating them to Castro’s brutal communist tyranny.
Take yourself back to the 1960s, when U.S. officials were denying that U.S. servicemen were killing and dying for nothing in Vietnam. Their claim was, “The reason that U.S. military forces are here in Vietnam, thousands of miles away from American shores, is because communism is so bad that Americans must kill and die to prevent the South Vietnamese people from falling into communism.”
Well, if that was really the reason that 50,000 American men were sacrificed in Vietnam, not to mention the countless Vietnamese killed and maimed, then how come it’s not such a big deal to forcibly repatriate defenseless Cuban refugees, especially ones who are thirsting for freedom, into communism? Or is that communism in the 1960s was bad while communism in the 2000s is good?
We should also keep in mind that this is the inevitable outcome of immigration controls. How else to enforce them than to forcibly repatriate people from whence they came? And let’s keep in mind that the U.S. regime of today is not the first to enforce immigration laws in such a cruel, despicable, and malicious manner. President Franklin Roosevelt, who is presented as a benevolent humanitarian in U.S. government-school (i.e., public-school) textbooks, knowingly and intentionally used immigration laws to prevent Jews from coming to the United States to escape the brutality of Hitler’s Nazi regime.
With the U.S. government now doing its best to build a Berlin Wall along our Southern Border, along with its illegal and unconstitutional spying on Americans, recording telephone conversations, torture and sex abuse, kidnapping, rendition, invasions of innocent countries, and repatriation of people into communist tyranny, how can any reasonable person not come to the conclusion that our country is headed in a bad direction — in the direction of, say, the former Soviet Union and East Germany?
There is no better time than now to change course — toward reining in the federal government and freeing the American people. Dismantle the U.S. military empire, bring all the troops home and discharge them. Rather than going abroad to kill and maim thousands of people in the name of “liberating” them, establish a free society here, as a model for the world, and relight the beacon on the Statue of Liberty, sending the following message to the world: If you are suffering oppression, our government will not come to save you but if you can get out, please know that there is always a place you can go — the United States of America. And then free the American people to travel, trade, and interact with the people of the world, including those 90 miles away in Cuba.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Yesterday, I wrote about noted liberal Nicholas Kristof’s hope that President Bush will wage a Global War on Poverty with the monies that the American people deliver to the IRS, which, according to Kristof, would reflect that Americans are becoming more caring and compassionate.
For a more practical application of the problem with liberals, consider the two Democrats who are running for Congress from my hometown of Laredo, Texas, which President Lyndon Johnson (a Texan) made a “model city” as part of his Domestic War on Poverty during the 1960s. (Note: LBJ’s war has never been won!) Here’s what the incumbent Henry Cuellar (who was a lawyer in Laredo when I practiced law there many years ago) has to say about his record in Congress (from the current issue of LareDos newspaper):
“I have fulfilled my campaign promise to … bring home federal resources…. I have brought home millions of federal dollars much to the benefit of every single community in my district.”
In other words, Cuellar has brought home free federal money from Washington and that’s one big reason that people should return him to office, where he can do more of the same in the future. Where did the “free” money come from? Hey, Cuellar doesn’t talk about that! Who cares? All that people need to know is that it’s free and that it has benefited them.
Think about that as April 15 approaches. Think about this entire corrupt, malicious game in which people are forced to surrender a large portion of their income to the IRS, which then goes into a pool, which is then distributed by the members of Congress (and, well, yes, a few corrupt lobbyists and their clients), who then brag about how well they are servicing their constituents by bringing the bacon home to local politicians and bureaucrats, but of course without reminding them that the money is coming from their constituents, compliments of the IRS.
Cuellar’s Democratic opponent, Ciro D. Rodriquez, a former member of Congress who apparently lost his position in the infamous Tom Delay redistricting plan, is no better than Cuellar in playing this game. He says, “The Republicans push through a budget that cuts basic social services — from food stamps to college loans — for those most in need.”
What planet has Rodriquez been living on? Budget cuts? By Republicans? The Big-Spending, Big-Government Republicans who are sending government spending soaring through the roof? As a former congressman, Rodriquez obviously has been ingrained with the Washington definition of a budget cut — when the increase in welfare spending is not as large as requested by federal bureaucrats (but which increases nonetheless).
Notice Rodriquez’s point — that the role of the federal government is to serve as a national daddy, taking care of the poor and waging war on poverty with the money that the IRS is extracting from everyone, including the poor.
Unfortunately, all too many of the poor, especially on the border, fall for this dastardly scheme. They fail to recognize that the Cuellar-Rodriguez-Kristof welfare-state, war-on-poverty paradigm is the root cause, not the cure, of poverty, especially given the massive amounts of productive capital that must be sucked out of the pockets of productive businesses and entrepreneurs to fund all the free pork, capital that would otherwise have tended to produce real rises in wages for the poor working person.
Cuellar and Rodriquez are both liberal Democrats. But make no mistake about it: Their corrupt, destructive, and misleading game is echoed by conservative Republicans right here in Virginia, where I now live. Both Republican U.S. Senators — John Warner and George Allen — along with every Republican member of Congress in Virginia — make the same pronouncements to Virginians as Cuellar and Rodriquez make to Texans: Reelect me because I have proven effective in bringing home the free federal pork and bacon — and making Virginians more caring and compassionate people in the process.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Noted liberal Nicholas Kristof’s column today in the New York Times today (available only to paid subscribers) reflects perfectly the problem with liberals. Here’s a demonstrative excerpt:
“It’s sad when we must rely on a compassionate rock star, Bono, or a generous computer geek, Bill Gates, for moral vision on poverty — instead of on our president.”
Kristof calls for a Global War on Poverty, obviously modeled on LBJ’s War on Poverty, as a war for Americans to demonstrate moral leadership.
Here’s how the liberal mindset works: Use the IRS to tax everyone and put the money in a great big federal pool. Then, let the president use the money to help poor people around the world. To the extent that he does that, to that extent Americans will be a good, caring, compassionate people.
Never mind individual conscience and individual decision-making. In the liberal mindset, what matters is the great collective — the grand “we” — whose collective conscience and will is reflected in the actions of the president, who is democratically elected by the majority who vote, and the IRS, whose benevolent bureaucrats are appointed by the democratically elected president.
Kristof writes: “For every $100 of national income, the U.S. gives 17 cents in overseas development assistance — a lower percentage than any other country except Italy. But after the tsunami, Americans responded with a wave of stunning generosity, and there is growing bipartisan support for helping poor countries.”
In other words, before the tsunami Americans were a stingy people precisely because the president was stingy with federal taxpayer monies that the IRS has extracted from the American people. But when international public opinion motivated the president to up the government welfare ante for the tsunami victims, this reflected the growing goodness of “we Americans.”
This reasoning is exactly why many liberals revere the economic policies of the noted socialist-communist Fidel Castro. He took liberal reasoning to its logical conclusion by bringing all the national wealth under his control and dominion and then helping the poor with it. He also didn’t think much of rich entrepreneurs such as Bono or Bill Gates.
What liberals fail to recognize is not only the immorality of collectivizing conscience, but also the fact that there is no better way to harm the poor than to give government the power to wage war on poverty. They fail to see that a genuine free market that protects the rights of people, including Bono and Gates, to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth and to engage in economic enterprise without governmental interference and to dispose of their wealth the way they see fit is not only a moral process but also one that causes standards of living to soar, especially for those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
Monday, January 9, 2006
One of the most important factors in the president’s war on terrorism, his war on Iraq, and his assumption of dictatorial powers (i.e., the Padilla doctrine, NSA spying, kidnapping and rendition program, torture, etc.) is the role that fear among grownup men and women plays in all this and how the government feeds the fear and then preys on it.
That is, in fact, why President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld all used Saddam’s WMD as their primary rationale for invading Iraq — to scare grown-up American men and women into thinking that Saddam was about to drop nuclear bombs (mushroom clouds) or biological or chemical bombs on American cities. It’s also why they’re now suggesting that it is necessary to adopt dictatorial powers (i.e., actions not constrained by law) — to protect Americans from “the terrorists.”
As we have repeatedly emphasized for many years, the maintenance of an overseas diplomatic and military empire is what has produced the anger and hatred that so many foreigners have for our country. If Americans would like to live their lives free of the fear that comes with the threat of “terrorism,” then they must decide to dismantle the empire.
If, on the other hand, they decide that it is too important to them to continue the empire, especially given the military glory and conquest that comes with empire, then they have to decide what role their fear is going to play in the resulting process.
If Americans decide to continue the empire but still want to maintain their freedom as Americans, then they will need to conquer their fear of “the terrorists” because as federal officials know so well, fear among the citizenry is the primary means by which government officials seduce people into surrendering their freedom to the government.
“But the terrorists are real and they might really come into my house and drag me away and spray WMD in my face and explode a mushroom cloud over me.” Yes, that’s possible, but that’s the price of empire — the empire that you have chosen for your nation. Moreover, we all have to die some day, and isn’t it better to die a free and independent man than one who is quivering and quaking in fear that “the terrorists” are coming to get him and pleading with government officials to do whatever is necessary to protect him from them?
Friday, January 6, 2006
U.S. military authorities have finally transferred Jose Padilla into the America’s federal court system to answer to a federal court criminal indictment for terrorism. The military’s action came after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that the government’s request to transfer Padilla to the federal court system be granted.
Ever since 9/11, U.S. officials, from President Bush to Vice President Cheney to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with many of their supporters, have exclaimed, “Terrorism is an act of war, not a crime! The Constitution doesn’t apply!”
The criminal indictment of Jose Padilla and the government’s plea that he be released from military custody and transferred to federal court control have left the “terrorism is an act of war, not a crime” position in shambles. The government’s own action in seeking a criminal indictment against Padilla for terrorism confirms what we have been consistently saying here at FFF ever since 9/11: Terrorism is a crime, not an act of war.
In fact, when others were suggesting that the government should transfer accused 9/11 “20th hijacker” Zacharias Moussaoui from federal-court control into U.S. military control as an “enemy terrorist,” including the Washington Post, we consistently argued that such a transfer would threaten the freedom of the American people. The position we held on the Moussaoui case prevailed and Moussaoui ultimately pled guilty and is now awaiting sentencing.
Does the Padilla indictment and transfer resolve the fundamental problem facing the American people? Absolutely not, because U.S. officials are still steadfastly maintaining that they wield an option as to which way to treat the American people. One option is the power to do what they’ve done to Padilla — arrest any American, including newspaper editors, antiwar advocates, and government critics and place him or her into the clutches of the military for punishment, without due process or jury trials. In other words, the power to hijack the normal federal criminal justice system and the rights and guarantees in the Bill of Rights and subject any American they label an “enemy combatant” or “terrorist” to the Gitmo treatment.
The other option is the indictment and criminal-justice route, as they pursued with Moussaoui and now with Padila.
What’s important here is that how Americans are treated is left entirely to the discretion of government officials. This is what is meant by the term “rule of men” as compared to the “rule of law.” It is a system in which people have to respond to government officials for their conduct rather than a clear-cut law. In other words, in order to get the “good” treatment, people have to be nice to their rulers, they have to bow before them, they have to kiss their boots. If they don’t behave with the correct subservient and submissive attitude, it’s on to the Pentagon and Gitmo for military “treatment.”
It is that type of arbitrary and capricious power that is at the core of every dictatorial regime.
Thus, those who are suggesting that the Padilla case is now moot because he is no longer in military custody are naïve. If Padilla is acquitted, the government is reserving the power to start its vicious game all over again, re-labeling him an “enemy terrorist” and returning him to the clutches of the military. And they are reserving the same power to do the same to every other American.
Thursday, January 5, 2006
Rumor has it that certain members of Congress are nervous over lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s decision to plead guilty to corruption and to sing like a canary to federal prosecutors. And of course, there will be those who will be “shocked and awed” over corruption in the U.S. Congress.
The late psychiatrist Scott Peck once said that mental health involved a fierce commitment to reality at all costs. Unfortunately, rather than face the reality of the root cause of congressional corruption, all too many Americans continue to believe in the type of fairy-tale Congress they learned about from their public (i.e., government) schoolteachers.
The congressional system is based on bribery. Of course, it’s not overt. The congressmen and the lobbyists (and the lobbyists’ clients) don’t reach an express agreement in which they say, “I will give you $100,000 if you will get me a subsidy for me, or a grant, or regulatory relief, or a tax benefit.” But when the campaign contributions are made, they are “bribes in advance.” If the congressman doesn’t deliver what the donor wants, everyone knows that the word will spread, and the money will then dry up. No lobbyist (or his client) is going to continue giving money to a congressman who doesn’t deliver. The entire system is based on bribes and bribery, only it’s all done implicitly, that is without the express quid pro quo.
(Note: Foreign aid works the same way. Payments made to foreign politicians are made in the expectation of future favors, such as favorable votes in the UN.)
Unfortunately, the American people aren’t exempt from the corruption. What do you think announcements by congressmen of federal grants for their district are all about? Congressmen love to return to their districts and announce how effective they have been in getting a share of the federal pie for their constituents. In return, grateful voters consistently return them to office, ignoring that they are corrupting themselves as part of process. People avoid confronting the political reality: their congressman has bribed them into voting for them.
The truth is that the income-tax, regulatory, welfare-state has brought into existence, to paraphrase Frederic Bastiat, a corrupt political system in which everyone is trying to live at the expense of everyone else by getting into everyone else’s pocketbook.
And it’s all done compliments of the massive pool of tax resources and benefits arising from the federal income tax that our American ancestors firmly rejected. So, lobbyists (and their clients) bribe congressmen to get a share of the IRS-provided candy. And congressmen bribe the citizenry to return them to political power.
Is the answer to get “better people” into public office? Perish the thought. The answer is to restore the principles of liberty on which our nation was founded, which would include the repeal of the 16th-Amendment (income tax) and the entire welfare-regulatory corrupt monstrosity state it has brought into existence. Without the power and ability to dole out all that federal candy, lobbyists would dry up and congressmen would no longer have the means to bribe their constituents.
Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican governor of California, demonstrates once again that conservatives cannot be trusted when if comes to economic liberty. With the gubernatorial election approaching, Schwarzenegger has proposed an increase in the state-mandated minimum wage.
There are few better examples of the immorality and destructiveness of interventionism than minimum-wage laws. Such laws constitute a vicious attack on people who are on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. By prohibiting employers and prospective employees from contracting at a mutually agreed upon wage, they effectively lock out of the labor market every person whose labor is valued by employers at less than the mandatory minimum. Such laws prevent many prospective employees from hitting the first rung of the ladder, where they can train and improve their skills, which will then enable them to reach the next rung. Instead, by locking people out of the labor market, minimum-wage laws inevitably relegate many prospective employees to a life of government welfare, which enables them to live in dependent and state-controlled “bliss.”
Liberals generally have a woeful ignorance of economic principles and therefore do not usually understand the damage that minimum-wage laws wreak upon the very people that liberals purport to want to help — the poor. They and their support of minimum-wage laws are a classic example of how good intentions are worthless when it comes to public policy.
But conservatives generally do have a working knowledge of economic principles. When it comes to the immorality and adverse consequences of minimum-wage laws, conservatives know better. Unfortunately, however, conservatives have long persisted in selling out their principles for the sake of “respectability,” “credibility,” or political power and have even exclaimed against libertarians for not doing the same.
Schwarzenegger’s action demonstrates once again that the best hope — indeed, the only hope — for the future of freedom in America lies with libertarians and libertarianism rather than with liberals or conservatives. Given their unwavering commitment to the importance of moral principles and their commitment to free-market principles, libertarians remain steadfastly in favor of repealing, not raising or even maintaining, such economic interventions as minimum-wage laws.
When the day comes that the poor discover libertarianism, along with its sound moral and economic principles, that might well be the day when economic liberty is restored to our land, leaving the morally and economically bankrupt philosophy of liberalism and conservatism in the dustbin of history.
Tuesday, January 3, 2006
A Florida teenager is back at home after embarrassing both U.S. officials and himself. Apparently falling for all the freedom and democracy hoopla that has been emanating from U.S. officials regarding Iraq, the guy flew to Iraq to do a school journalism project. Since Iraq has been liberated and is now a free country, according to repeated official U.S. announcements, the kid obviously figured he’d go around visiting, touring, talking to people, and writing a nice article about his sojourn.
After shocking everyone, especially Iraqis, with his stupidity, he was whisked to the U.S. Embassy, where U.S. officials quickly exited him from the country.
That prompted U.S. Consul General Richard B. Hermann to inject a dose of reality into the situation in Iraq by reiterating warnings to Americans against traveling to the newly “free and democratic” Iraq. He might have reminded Americans that when high U.S. officials visit this chaotic, destroyed, conflict-ridden society, they remain safely ensconced in the “green zone” or, in the unlikely event they go to some army base elsewhere, they are surrounded with U.S. attack helicopters.
The experience goes to show two things: How dangerous U.S. government lies about the consequences of Iraq invasion can be and why governments love to draft (naïve and gullible) teenagers to serve in their armies.
Monday, January 2, 2006
Last month the Pentagon announced that “nation-building” would become a new important mission of the U.S. military and in fact would rank as equal to combat operations. Wow, I can’t wait to see that portfolio. Maybe their business cards will read “Have bombs, will travel.”
But of course, the Pentagon won’t need a portfolio or even fancy brochures because its customers are involuntary. After all, the Joint Chiefs of Staff can’t just walk over to a foreign dictator’s office and say, “Would you like us to invade your country, killing and maiming tens of thousands of innocent people and destroying your country in order to get you out of office and install one of our people?”
The amusing part of all this is that the Pentagon’s new mission comes on the heels of Iraq, where these people honestly believe they have created a model nation — one built by the Pentagon. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi people (i.e., people who had nothing to do with 9/11) are now dead and maimed (not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children who died as a result of the sanctions), Iraqi society has been destroyed, the country is rife with chaos and in fact is on the verge of civil war.
The Pentagon’s military/dictatorial rule in Iraq has brought warrantless searches and seizures, indefinite detentions of prisoners, torture, sex abuse, rape, and murder of detainees, denial of jury trials and due process and habeas corpus, closing of newspapers, shooting of demonstrators, and gun confiscation. In other words, have you noticed that in its model, test case for its new job description, the Pentagon “rebuilt” a country as far from the principles of the U.S. Constitution as one could find? Of course, that shouldn’t surprise anyone given that the reason the Pentagon set up its torture and sex abuse center in Cuba was precisely to avoid the Constitution and the U.S. federal court system.
Oh, did I mention that according to the Washington Post today, the Pentagon diverted most of the U.S. taxpayer-provided funds that were supposed to “rebuild” Iraq toward fighting insurgents, establishing Iraq’s “criminal justice” system (!), and preparing for Saddam’s trial?
No wonder the Pentagon’s customers are involuntary. What person in his right mind would ever hire these people to rebuild his nation? Let’s just hope that the Pentagon doesn’t decide to rebuild America.