The Bush Minefield
By Roy D. Follendore III
Copyright (c) 2001 by RDFollendoreIII
December 19, 2001
The White House has said that the U.S. military's treatment of captive American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh is justified because battlefield detainees do not have a constitutional right to a lawyer. I have pretty much made it clear that from my perspective the Office of the President seems content with marching directly through a Constitutional minefield. How we choose to act can be a precedent and justification for what occurs later. The underlying issue that the United States faces because of this policy toward John Walker Lindh not only affects Constitutional rights of Americans, it affects the very concept of American national sovereignty.
Walker's family lawyer, James Brosnahan, of San Francisco, insisted on Monday that Walker has constitutional rights. On the other hand, the President's spokesman McCellan said that , "So long as he (Walker) is in military custody and is not being questioned for law enforcement purposes he does not have the constitutional right to a lawyer. He is being detained in a manner consistent with the Geneva Convention's protections and he has been given medical care and received the protection of the United States Armed Forces in these dangerous battlefield conditions."
This is precisely where national sovereignty is affected. Should our national leaders allow the Geneva Convention to supercede the United States Constitution which they have given an oath to uphold, defend and protect? Somehow I don't recall such a requirement for defending the Geneva Convention.
It must be pointed out again that the United States is not in a Constitutionally declared state of war because Congress has not seen fit to declare war. Mr. Walker may or may not be tried for treason, but there should be little doubt that if he is he should be given a fair and open trial by a jury of his peers. And, maybe he should be put to death or given a life sentence for his actions or perhaps be set free. That is for the evidence, jury and Judge to decide, not the President nor the Director of any law enforcement department. There is the Constitutional concept of separation of powers that is involved in this case each step of the way.
The justification of the Administration is full of holes. For some time now Walker has not been in dangerous battlefield conditions. For some days now Walker has been held in the brig of a Navy vessel. Before that he was being held in a metal container box in the desert. Each and every day and within minutes the wounded and the dead were being transported from the Afghanistan battlefield. The American people are being given a false line, and are expected to swallow a lie. This is not only wrong, it is the lightly veiled stone wall face of the beginning of a Constitutional cover-up.
An astute politician these days would have to be nuts to ignore the historical facts of Watergate. If anything, the Internet has made situations far more transparent since Watergate days. What is becoming increasing clear is that our President needs to replace his political and legal advisors with people who have the respect and authority to be able to advise him with a negative opinion. Yes men and absolute imperial power are dangerous combinations. The further George W. Bush walks into this minefield, the more difficult it will be to extricate the great office of the President.
Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved