Saturday, November 10, 2007

An Open Letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

It is my understanding, from an interview conducted with Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz, that you would prefer that the Democrats in Congress spend no time impeaching, trying, convicting, and removing from office, Vice President Richard B. Cheney (nor President George W. Bush, for that matter). You would prefer, instead, that they focus on obtaining a bigger majority in the House and a Democrat in the White House in the 2008 elections. I would remind you, Madame Speaker, that the 2008 elections are still twelve months away, and the expiration of their terms of office another two-and-a-half months beyond that. That is more than enough time for them to start a war of choice with Iran. If you do not proceed with impeaching Vice President Cheney, the driving force behind the march to war with Iran, good men and women in our Armed Forces and innocent Iranian civilians alike will die. And you will have to live with the fact that you allowed them to serve out their crime-ridden terms unpunished and undeterred in their destruction of the Constitution you took an oath to support and defend against all enemies "foreign or domestic". President Bush and Vice President Cheney are two such domestic enemies, and it is your constitutional duty to defend the constitution against them. To prioritize your political party over your nation and your constitution is inexcusable.

Both of these men have claimed extraordinary, almost plenary, Executive powers found nowhere in the Constitution. They claim that the President has this "inherent authority" in his role as Commander-in-Chief during wartime (an excuse to always keep this country in a state of war, in case you hadn't noticed). The problem, Madame Speaker, is that they are making this up. No such authority exists anywhere in the Constitution. What does exist in the Constitution are the following:
Article I, Section 8:
The Congress shall have Power...
Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Clause 18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Clearly it is the Congress that decides how our military, including its Commander-in-Chief, will conduct themselves. Nowhere in Article II does it state that the President, acting as Commander-in-Chief or otherwise, during wartime or in peace, has the authority to do whatever he wants with the military. The authority he has comes from the Congress, and it comes with a trust, a trust that he won't abuse that authority. Yet, time after time, President Bush has done just that. He has even gone so far as to lie to Congress about a terrorist threat against the Congress in order to get them to grant him more unconstitutional authority to spy on Americans. And for no reason or rationale I can understand, you want to keep trusting that he won't overstep his authority one more time. You want to trust that he won't lead this country toward an unstoppable war with Iran. Have I mentioned that good men and women in our Armed Forces and innocent Iranian civilians alike will die if he starts another war?

You and your party have let the President and Vice President define just how far his "inherent authority" goes. And based on their many public statements, they believe that this authority includes taking us to war pre-emptively against another nation. They cannot claim that declaring war falls within the President's constitutional authority to determine foreign policy, for declaring war is a power exclusively granted to the Congress. You know that President Bush has been listening to neo-con war hawks like Norman Podhoretz, William Kristol, and Sen Joe Lieberman. All of these men have publicly advocated that we go to war against Iran. You also know, Madame Speaker, that President Bush has no interest in hearing the views of those who oppose his ideas. So not only is he not listening to anyone who might try to talk him out of a war with Iran, he must have already made up his mind about it to be listening to people who think that's what we should be doing. And what excuse do you think he's going to use? How true are his reasons going to be and, more importantly, will the true statements be justification for war? Remember everything they said about Iraq and Saddam Hussein? (If you don't, just listen to what's being said about Iran. It's very similar.) As time went on, one thing about those statements became clear: Everything that was a justification for war turned out not to be true, and everything that turned out to be true was not a justification for war. The rhetoric from this administration toward Iran is following that same path. Given the number of times that they have lied to the Congress and the American people, why on earth would you ever consider giving them the chance to resolve our differences peacefully with the rest of the world? I beg you to tell me what it is in their history that makes you think he will only go to war with Iran "as a last resort"? Why do you even accept the premise that any war with Iran is necessary in the first place? In all the intelligence estimates that you have been granted access to, have any reported on how many good men and women in our Armed Forces and innocent Iranians alike will die in a war of choice with Iran?

Madame Speaker, the ONLY way to ensure that President Bush and Vice President Cheney will not lie this country into another war of choice is if they are no longer in a position to do so. They are not going to stop themselves. The American people are counting on you to do that. You have the authority. You have the capability. You have the responsibility. Impeach them both for ignoring their oaths of office. To do otherwise is to ignore your own oath. How many good men and women of our Armed Forces and innocent Iranian civilians alike will have to die because you put loyalty to your political party ahead of loyalty to your Constitution?

Wayne A. Schneider


Anonymous said...

Excellent Wayne. Just excellent.


Anonymous said...

Well said, Wayne.


Gregg Mattocks said...

You are The Man!, Wayne. This is a terrific letter. Yes, there's really no need to vote more Democrats in come 2008 if they're just going to sit on their hands now. Some action now might actually help get them elected next year.

Bluedahlia said...

Excellent and spot on as usual. Great writing.

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