May 3, 2007

I like it… but maybe I’m dreaming…

Posted in Campaign, Gore, Iraq, U.S. Attorneys at 1:30 pm by saracallow

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2003688838_snoquillman02.html

Admittedly, I look to news which supports what I want to hear… especially in this case.  And maybe it’s grasping at straws, but I’m holding on until it’s absolutely clear that it won’t come to be…  So we’ll see.  Barack, you’ll have to wait a little longer for my check…

On Attorney Firings

I’m the first person to admit to supporting the idea that we should “plant a Bush in Texas” – or whatever the latest bumper sticker says.  I’m also sure that the firings of the U.S. Attorneys were politically motivated.  What I’m not sure about is whether I agree that is the problem here.

U.S. Attorneys are part of the bureaucracy, housed in the executive branch.  Ultimately, they are responsible to the White House.  There has been an ongoing debate regarding the administrative component of our government and its professionalism vs political status almost since it has been created.  Do we want a professional bureaucracy, one that borders on technocracy – or is it meant to be a political institution?  I actually think I would argue for the later – and that leaves me with the question of whether these firings were problematic or not. 

According to the Constitution, the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”  The modern bureaucracy came into being around the time of the New Deal, in part to help deal with the magnitude of this task.  It is my opinion that if we have a completely professional bureaucracy, then the election of a President doesn’t make a very big impact.  The bureaucracy should reflect the views of the President.  It is his constitutional power to see that laws are faithfully executed, and to determine what deserves highest priority.  We elected the President.  Even if we didn’t personally cast our vote for him (and not getting into the correctness of the Bush v. Gore decision) – he is the President of the U.S.  The rights and duties accorded him under the constitution are his.  And the politicization of the bureaucracy should go along with that.  I certainly want the implementation and faithful execution of the law to change and reflect the politics of our next elected leader (I guess that somewhat assumes a party change in leadership of course!).  Complete professionalism would largely prevent that.  Just because the choice of president in the election and the actions of the administration don’t reflect my politics doesn’t make it constitutionally wrong. 

That being said, I don’t understand why they don’t just own up to the truth.  This was a calculated political move.  Executed poorly.  The attorneys received no warning, and that clearly is not appropriate.  Gonzales appears to be lying.  And it all just seems like another perfect example of the willingness of the administration to hide and distort the truth.  That, in my opinion, should be the bigger story here.  The implications of the Bush presidency on  the transparency of the executive branch towards the public may outlive and prove even more troubling than the legacy of Iraq War.  Hard to imagine, but possible.  At least, that’s my opinion.  Now I just need to figure out how to put it on a bumper sticker.

March 12, 2007

Support the Troops

Posted in Iraq at 1:57 pm by saracallow

Today, Vice-President Cheney asserted that members of Congress who are anti-war are “undermining” U.S. troops in Iraq.  I struggle with this concept.  Does saying “I support our troops” mean that you have to give up the right to question our leadership?  Once we begin a war, would we be better off converting to a dictatorship until hostilities end?  Is it impossible to be truly supportive of our troops and anti-war at the same time?

No, no and no…. that is my answer.  Members of the military have contracted with our government to follow its direction in times of war.  I appreciate their commitment and honor their sacrafice  However, I think they are dependent on the citizens of the United States – and need our support in the exercise of democratic society.  How many of them would have readily joined the military if the U.S. was a dictatorship?  I would have to guess that it is far fewer in number than currently serve.  There is a security in knowing that your leadership answers to the people whom you call friend, brother, and neighbor… the citizens of the United States.  We have a duty to our soldiers to remain informed and question the leadership who commits their lives to peril.  To do any less would be to condemn them to the war of a dictator.  This is a democracy, it is a democracy they committed to serve because they ostensibly believe in the fundamental principals underlying the government.  Freedom of speech and the freedom to question are inherent rights to our citizenship and rights which our soldiers depend on us to exercise. 

Does this make the conduct of war more difficult?  Of course it does.  President Bush must answer to the public in his conduct of the war… Our enemies can factor in public opinion in their strategies.  It is a fact of democracy that the public has a say.  However, to sacrafice this basic tenet of our government would be to destroy everything our troops are fighting to protect.  I hardly think they want to come home to a United States so fundamentally different from the one they signed their allegiance to.