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Cheney's latest crime

Plus, Coakley's welcome move against DOMA
By EDITORIAL  |  July 15, 2009


As if there were any doubt, the latest CIA scandal once again reminds the nation that whatever former vice-president Dick Cheney touched turned to slime.

At issue is CIA plans to develop special commando hit squads to kill or capture senior Al Qaeda terrorists. When, on June 23, CIA chief Leon Panetta learned of the scheme, he ordered the program — which, for logistical and political reasons was never fully operational — canceled.

Whatever its viability, though, targeting top terrorists was authorized by President George W. Bush in 2001 after the 9/11 terror attacks on New York and the Pentagon, which also saw a commercial airliner crash in rural Pennsylvania after passengers tried to wrest control of the plane from hijackers.

All told, 2973 died in the 9/11 attacks.

Cheney ordered the CIA to keep the plans secret. That appears to be in violation of federal law requiring that the CIA notify Congress of covert operations.

Cheney argues that since the plan was never acted upon, congressional notification was not necessary. Common sense, however, suggests that presidential approval triggers a willingness to act. It also prompts the uncomfortable question of why the CIA allowed itself to be silenced.

But then, an agency that allowed itself to be bullied by Cheney into providing Congress with false or shoddy intelligence about nonexistent weapons of mass destruction as a bogus precipitant for Bush's attack on Iraq has already revealed itself to be spineless.

No one should be surprised that the Bush-Cheney junta would be capable of violating a mere federal law. This is the same duo that subverted the United States Constitution with its program of warrant-less wiretaps — a program, by the way, that the inspectors general of five of the nation's intelligence agencies recently found to be of, at best, limited use in fighting the very real terrorist threat.

There can also be little doubt that Cheney was acting on orders from Bush — just as there is little doubt that Scooter Libby acted at the behest of Cheney when he torpedoed the CIA career of Valerie Plame in retaliation for the finding of her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, that the African uranium supposedly used by Iraq to develop nuclear weapons was a myth.

When a president lies to get a nation into a war, he and his administration have to keep lying and slandering and even breaking the law to keep the whole show afloat.

Congress should act quickly and decisively on this latest outrage by Bush and Cheney. And instead of involving a special prosecutor, the House and Senate should put their full combined strength behind the investigation and resolution of this disgraceful matter.

We would have no problem seeing Bush and Cheney behind bars. In fact, we would welcome it. But that is not about to happen.

Since Democratic President Harry Truman created the national security state in 1947, Congress has too often rolled over for the White House. That is how the United States became embroiled in Vietnam. And that's how the nation landed in Iraq.

Cheney has delivered to Congress a perfect opportunity to reassert its rightful foreign-policy and intelligence oversight.

The question now is not whether Cheney broke the law. It is whether Congress will have the stomach to prove it.

Destroying DOMA
Attorney General Martha Coakley deserves three cheers for taking the initiative to eradicate the loathsomely conceived Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a shameful piece of 1996 legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton that prevents the more than 16,000 legally married Massachusetts gay and lesbian couples from enjoying federal tax, retirement, insurance, Social Security, and other benefits that straight couples take for granted.

Governor Deval Patrick likewise deserves a tip of the hat for approving the suit.

This makes Massachusetts, the first state to offer same-sex couples full marriage rights, the first state to challenge DOMA.

The legal battle will be long and torturous, but it should embolden other states to take similar steps until Congress — along with the overt leadership of President Obama, who has disappointingly retreated from his promises as Candidate Obama to right the wrongs of both "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and DOMA — has the decency to repeal these anti-gay laws.

Related: W. gets a B, Fascism in the eye of the beholder, The nanny state, More more >
  Topics: The Editorial Page , Deval Patrick, Barack Obama, leon panetta,  More more >
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Re: Cheney's latest crime
What a joke, prosicuting a guy for trying anything and everything to protect our country...he's a true hero.  It's like prosecuting the border patrol guards for shooting an illegal trying to smuggle drugs across the border while being shot at.  Grasping for anything to still try to attack Bush and keep the attention off the fact that Obama is slipping socialism into this country. 
By chbass on 07/15/2009 at 1:09:32
Re: Cheney's latest crime
I strongly agree with the statement ... We are Americans... We don't torture. It does not matter whether torture worked or did not work. The point is the Constitution was violated & International laws were broken.

We do not torture, and torture is a crime, not a method. If you want to work for a government and want to torture someone, you need to find another country. Government employees take an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. If you are a government official and torture someone, you have failed your oath to defend the U.S. Constitution and you have broken the law. We do not need or want people working in our government that conducted torture.

There is no way anyone can respect the CIA if it rewards torture interrogators with their job. Abscess of morality in any government agency will not result in respect, either now or in the future. This
controversy is not about legal opinions & the CIA its about the CYA mentality of the Bush Administration. The Bush administration motives may have been honorable but their actions were criminal they need to be held to account !

At the Nuremberg trials in 1946, the U.S., England, and France decided that just taking orders is not excuse for torture. Concentration Camp commander's defended their actions as just taking orders. No doubt Nazi lawyers declared their actions both necessary and legal under German Third Reich Law. At Nuremberg in 1946, the decision by the U.S., France, and England was unanimous, that a person is responsible for their own actions. No orders or shadow legality is a defense against a complete loss of morality. The trials at Nuremberg set the standard. Just taking orders does not give anyone, not even an American, the right to torture another person . We do not want our country to have Nazi morality standards.

I hope we still have today as much moral strength as our fathers that fought WWII to save our country and save our Constitution. If government officials today trash our Constitution to gain immediate ends, then we have lost any meaningful difference between our enemies and ourselves.

We are America, and We don't torture. Our Constitution and our morality are worth far more than any information obtained from torture. The ends do not justify the means & there are more intelligent , effective & efficient means to obtain accurate information. We should also keep in mind that who knew what & when is irrelevant & who did what and when during the Bush Administration is what is important ! If true, giving an illegal order to withhold information from Congress by Vice President Chaney is a crime !
We are Americans, and We don't torture. NO IF ANDS OR BUTS ABOUT IT ! See title 18 sec. 241 & 242 if you do torture, this is what you can expect from the law. Eventually the US Government will have to do the right thing and bring all those involved in this criminal behavior to justice ! NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW !
By Gezzer on 07/15/2009 at 1:16:36

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