Restoring the Force of Constitutional Law

May 22nd, 2004

To the Editor,

The story of U.S. war crimes being reported in Cuba, Afghanistan and Iraq were handily summarized in these closing editorial statements; “The only solution is for Mr. Bush to formally forswear the abusive practices his administration has adopted. If he will not, Congress must prohibit their use.”

We must all take responsibility for the blank check that was granted an administration desperate to justify their unilateral march to war. Our chain of authority was obviously dedicated to the finding of WMDs and broad based conspiracies among multiple terror cells. Unfortunately, this appears to be more in the service of political aspirations for a November win than for national security purposes. Why else would Congress have been pressured to remove all the normal checks and balances of oversight for wartime expenditures and, more importantly, the conventions of law (constitutional or international) such as legal council for detainees?

Under the provisions of the ill-named “Patriot Act”, we have undermined the very nature of patriotism called for by the deaths of 3000 of my fellow New Yorkers. The only patriotic act needed is a return to constitutional and international law by all parties and in all situations. Congress must rescind this “blank check” to the executive branch. You cannot abrogate the basic tenets of democracy in order to preserve it. And we have the pictures to prove it, taken by our own sons and daughters, forever dehumanized by their perpetration of these acts in the name of “freedom”.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Washington Post

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