We’re on the eve of another D-Day, another epic moment in the battle for democratic values.
Once again, Andrew Sullivan, no liberal by nature, has captured one of the fundamental reasons why Obama must win. And it’s something we don’t often hear about in time of
Cheney and Bush, unlike any presidency in American history, have dangerously pushed constitutional government to the brink of collapse…. They did not merely act in the immediate wake of an emergency to protect American citizens swiftly – again a perfectly legitimate use of executive power, unhampered by Congress or courts. They declared such power to be unlimited; they asserted also that it was as permanent as the emergency they declared; they claimed their dictatorial powers were inherent in the presidency itself, and above any legal constraints; they ordered their own lawyers to provide retroactive and laughable legal immunity for their crimes; they by-passed all the usual and necessary checks within the executive branch to ensure prudence and legality and self-doubt in the conduct of a war; they asserted that emergency war powers applied to the territory of the United States itself; they claimed the right to seize anyone – anyone, citizen or not – they deemed an “enemy combatant,” to hold them indefinitely with no due process and to torture them until they became incoherent, broken, brutalized shells of human beings, if they survived at all. They did this to the guilty and they did this to the innocent. But they also had no way of reliably knowing which was which and who was who. Never before in wartime has the precious, sacred inheritance of free people been treated with such contempt by the leaders of the democratic West.
They seized countless individuals with no trials and no hearings. They tortured dozens to death. They subjected many more to some of the worst psychological torture techniques devised by Communist totalitarians and the worst physical suffering devised by the Gestapo. They crossed lines no American president had ever crossed before. They withdrew the US from the Geneva Conventions – and did so secretly. They tapped American’s phones without warrants, and forced many of their randomly grabbed prisoners into the black hole of insanity. They set up secret sites in former Soviet gulags to torture their victims. They single-handedly devastated America’s reputation for human rights and the rule of law in the minds of the vast majority of people in other Western democracies, let alone the developing world, let alone the millions of Muslims across the Middle East who now suspect that America is not really better than their own thugocracies, that America also tortures when it wants to, that the shining city on a hill is actually a place where men above the law can do anything they want to other human beings in their custody.
No economic mismanagement can compare with this attack on the basic institutions of our democracy and the constitution
From an avowed conservative, the virtual coup d’etat. Force over the barricades.
Unlike the other D Day, we will probably have sweat and tears, .