Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Treason











Behold the face of a traitor: David Addington, Chief of Staff to Dick Cheney, who spoke of collaborating with terrorists in an assault on the United States Constitution. He deserves the long, lonely drop to the end of a hangman's rope* -- along with several others we should compel him to name.


"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court."

U.S. Constitution, Article III, Sec. 3.

"We're one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious [FISA] court." --

David Addington, chief of staff to "vice" President Dick Cheney.


Absent a congressional declaration of war, it is extremely difficult for private citizens to commit acts that meet the statutory and constitutional definition of treason. The same cannot be said of executive branch officials, however -- as the statement from David Addington quoted above illustrates.

Clearly, Addington -- like lesser figures among the Bushcisti -- lusted for a dramatic terrorist attack that would vindicate the administration's accumulation of dictatorial powers. Unlike such reprobates as Rick Santorum, Dennis Milligan, and Dana Rohrabacher, however, Addington clearly believed that the administration was covertly collaborating with terrorists in an assault on the other constitutionally designated branches of the federal government -- the Congress and the judiciary.

How else are reasonable people supposed to interpret Addington's use of the collective pronoun "we" when referring to a terrorist attack that would upend the balance of power?

This is, simply and unambiguously, treason. Were we still living in a republic, Addington would be arraigned on the charge, assuming that a second witness can be found to his quasi-confession.


Jack Goldsmith, who briefly served as head of the Justice (sic) Department's Office of Legal Counsel, testifies that Addington made that remark to him in January 2004 during a debate over the merits of Bush's illegal warrantless wiretapping program. (As conservative legal analyst Bruce Fein points out, by authorizing and carrying out that program, Bush committed numerous federal felonies as well as impeachable offenses.)

As documented in a New York Times Magazine interview, Goldsmith supports the aggrandizement of presidential power. "I'm not a civil libertarian," he told the Times' Jeffrey Rosen, a remark that is difficult to construe as a revelation. He offered no principled objection to the creation of a presidential dictatorship, complete with proto-totalitarian powers of surveillance, detention, and interrogation. But he parted company with his comrades -- Addington, Alberto Gonzalez, Jay Bybee, John Yoo, and the others -- over matters of "means, not ends," seeking political support and institutional security by winning congressional support for the revolution. It was his Goldsmith's belief that a Republican-dominated Congress would enact the administration's entire program if asked to, and that this "wartime" legislative ratification would protect the new presidential powers from the Supreme Court's scrutiny.

Goldsmith professes to be alarmed to learn that his comrades were "highly contemptuous of Congress and the courts." And there was none so expansively contemptuous of the constitutional separation of powers than Addington, who ascribed to the president a nearly messianic status.

In October 2003, Goldsmith, at the request of the White House, examined the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention to see if they applied to Iraqi civilians accused of "terrorist" attacks on US occupation forces. Reading the text and history of the agreement honestly, Goldsmith concluded that civilian insurgents were covered by the Convention, and reported as much to Gonzalez and Addington.

The latter became "livid" at Goldsmith's report. "The president has already decided that terrorists do not receive Geneva Convention protections," proclaimed Addington. "You cannot question his decision."

As with so many other Bush Regime pronouncements, that statement should be rendered in the original German in order for us to savor its totalitarian tang.

A few months later, Goldsmith again committed the unpardonable sin of questioning a presidential decision, thereby prompting Adddington to warn that a lack of faith in the Grand and Glorious Decider's omniscience undermines his ability to hold the Evil-Doers at bay: "If you rule that way, the blood of the hundred thousand people who die in the next attack will be on your hands."

Of course, as Addington admitted on another occasion, the death of innocent Americans would be a good and useful thing, provided that they die ad majorem gloria Bush.


"Treason," as defined by the Bushcisti, captured in an uncannily perceptive satire.


Decorum prevents me from using suitable language to limn the utter depravity of David Addington and people of his ilk. As a key architect of the aggressive war in Iraq, Addington -- as well as Cheney, the ambulatory wad of unfiltered evil whose servant he is -- could properly be put on trial as a war criminal.

And for cheerfully predicting the death of Americans in the expectation that their innocent blood would baptize a presidential dictatorship, he deserves to be put on trial for treason.

He won't, of course, because the republic is as dead as the surface of Mars.




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*I hasten to point out that while Addington may be deserving of capital punishment, as an opponent of the death penalty I don't support inflicting it upon him, should he be found guilty by a jury of his peers -- y'know, people like you and me, whose lives he considers disposable. Life imprisonment would be a suitable alternative.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kudos Will, great piece as usual.
We get the government we deserve, which means there are about 200 milion who proclaim "Support tyranny, treachery and treason."
Remember, "treason is the reason for the season".

Anonymous said...

I don't like to argue with God, capitol punishment is what he deserves if the blood of ONE is on his hands, but again, on the word of two as the constitution and the Bible requires. Jefferson agrees as well, we all know the quote about the tree don't we.
Wayne

Anonymous said...

Curious about your stance on capital punishment, I recall an excellent article (written years ago) by one of your peers explaining the difference between revenge and retribution...(it supported the death penalty) Just curious...

William N. Grigg said...

I think you're referring to a piece by the estimable Tom Eddlem in The New American. Tom and I have discussed the death penalty, and we amicably disagree about the subject.

As I've pointed out before, I support the right to armed self-defense, including lethal self-defense when necessary. But I don't support discretionary killing by the degenerate state that rules us.

Oddly enough, it was the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia that actually prompted me to change my mind about the death penalty: The spectacle of the US government murdering people for NO reason convinced me that this government and all of its subsidiaries (which is what the previously independent states have become) must be denied, possibly in perpetuity, the power to carry out the discretionary killing of ANY human being for ANY reason. I suspect that Ron Paul's opposition to the death penalty has its origins in similar concerns. (I wasn't aware until just a few days ago that Rep. Paul opposes the death penalty.)

I grant that I've not yet examined my views to any adequate depth, but in the interest of candor -- there they are!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Will, it was the Yugoslav bombing that likewise pushed me over the edge. I'd been teetering for years seeing the Republicans for nothing more than the flip side of the same corrupt political coin but their blood-lust and limp wrist excuses for "supporting the troops".... like we haven't heard THAT before... then giving Clinton everything he wanted, only drove the last nail in the coffin. I finally snapped and from there on out have moved steadily away from two party worship. I also was an ardent death penalty advocate but even there I have decided that a government that can execute one man has the power and means to execute ME! That is frightening enough especially in light of the craziness going on. Still, the unregenerate in me, wants to see these evil rats dance but I know that revenge is not for us but for God. We simply can't see inside everyones heart and it's hard enough to deal with ourselves.

dixiedog said...

As I've pointed out before, I support the right to armed self-defense, including lethal self-defense when necessary. But I don't support discretionary killing by the degenerate state that rules us.

Hmmm, where to start. Why is it that logic and reason seem to only play a minor role in some people's positions?

For instance, if we logically extend what you said above, your logic begins to show its emptiness. If the state in question is degenerate, doesn't that likewise obviously indicate that the people who populate its various Amts are also degenerate?

IOW, by that same logic and reasoning you use to describe the State so eloquently, I don't even trust most of the commoners themselves to sensibly and rightly dispense deadly justice, nevermind government! I've seen too many folk who were ready to shoot someone dead if there was merely a hint of wrong-doing, e.g. molesting a child, and to hell with carryin' on a trial.

I'll just say that if somebody in my family was killed by a mob of folk on merely whimsical allegations like that or anything else, you can bet the house that the possibility of plenty of killin' commencing would be very real. I pray that I could restrain myself and likewise wait on a trial, but the rage would be great. I think others would probably feel the same in a similar situation, if it ever (God forbid!) arose.

Remember, we are (uh..were...sorry) a self-governing people in America, hence why our constitution worked adequately for so long. To paraphrase John Adams, our constitution is only adequate for a morally sound people to start with; it's the critical reason why, even though it's been copied in other parts of the world, but in real world practice failed miserably. The people themselves were not morally sound and their laws were not of a Christian foundation.

So, of course, goes America likewise as it's people become degenerate. Our constitution becomes over time, in practice, meaningless. It's exactly what's happened and is happening increasingly. It's only written words and statements on a piece of parchment, after all. If the words therein are not a critical ingredient of your overall mindset and thinking, the words are simply that, words, just as the Bible would likewise be just as meaningless if the precepts therein weren't also a critical ingredient of ones overall mindset and thinking.

The spectacle of the US government murdering people for NO reason convinced me that this government and all of its subsidiaries (which is what the previously independent states have become) must be denied, possibly in perpetuity, the power to carry out the discretionary killing of ANY human being for ANY reason.

This is ridiculous. Firstly, if we agree that the State is degenerate, as you said, and the State has, by default, a virtual monopoly on force, and the folk who make it up have to by extension be also degenerate, what, pray tell, on God's green Earth is to stop or prevent this degenerate State from killing innocent folk? Do you really think that the State can be trusted to somehow show integrity in regards to laws against capital punishment when it cannot be trusted in any other area to uphold the law??

Or, on the other hand, some enterprising totalitarians, like Addington from your piece, will help to ensure a change of "law" to at least make the dastardly and depraved deeds in question congruent with, not to mention retaining the appearance of following, the "rule of law."

I mean, gee, already the dawn of life are innocently killed, as are the twilight end of the spectrum, with the disabled taking up the flanks. If the people themselves were not also largely degenerate, we wouldn't see 4 million+ abortions a year. The people would at the very least disregard, if not heavily pressure the Congress to repeal, such a "law" that sanctioned such acts.

Remember, "just because one CAN" does not at all mean that "one WILL," as a previous piece of yours alluded to. As should be clear to anyone, government is a reflection of the people, not vise versa, and only in a society that looks to government (themselves in a power position) as the arbiter of right, wrong, good, evil WILL. "If it's legal, it must be right." "If illegal, it must be wrong." Etc.

Again, remember, you said the State was degenerate! If I'm missin' a key point here, by all means, please explain. As you say, my mind might be "in flux" on this issue.

I guess my chief befuddlement with some of your positions at times is that you seem to relish compartmentalizing and conveniently attempting (valiantly, but still vainly, IMO) to delineate key aspects of everything you discuss into "the State" and "the people" as if "the State" is an unrelated beast estranged from "the people." I really don't get that at all when I listen to people talk and watch how they act. They are in most cases (yes, perhaps inadvertently in their ignorance, but that's little consolation and it's irrelevant to the point I'm about to make) SUPPORTING, PROMOTING, and SHAPING the kind of government WE have ruling over US.

Of course, you saying the State "rules" US, rather than WE ruling ourselves says a lot, as well...sigh.

dixiedog said...

...heavily pressure the Congress to repeal, such a "law" that sanctioned such acts.

add to "the Congress" above "...and state legislatures to repeal such a "law" that sanctioned such acts."

William N. Grigg said...

D.D. -- Degeneracy (call it "total depravity," "sin nature," or what one will) is a universal trait, of course. It afflicts all human beings, and governments are staffed and run exclusively by flawed creatures of that sort.

There is a peculiar quality of government, however, that acts as an alembic, refining and magnifying the worst elements of our nature. What was inchoate in mass humanity is concentrated in those exercising government power in ways that are supposedly sanctified. That's what makes the State uniquely dangerous and deadly.

I've often adverted to Isabel Patterson's insights about how the inchoate weaknesses of relatively decent people become the stuff of mass murder and other atrocities when they're combined with the power of government. This is particularly true where government is believed to exercise a monopoly on the legitimate use of force (a definition I don't subscribe to, obviously, but one the Framers rejected as well -- else the Second Amendment makes no sense).

Where government exercises a negative influence -- forbidding and punishing crimes against persons and property -- it is a defensible institution. The right to a jury trial is probably the most important example of that function, and I'll have more to say about this later today. But there is no earthly plague deadlier than "positive" government, and that's the sort that afflicts us today. Such governments routinely kill not in defense of the innocent, as a necessary resort, but rather as a kind of tutorial for the rest of us. THAT's what happened in Yugoslavia in 1999, and what's happening in Iraq today. The same can be said, I think, of the promiscuous use of lethal violence in the "War on Drugs."

A government that practices didactic killing, in my view (whether it's strictly rational or not, I cannot say), must have its license to kill revoked.

On a (somewhat) related note, "The Simpsons Movie" -- which is larded with wonderful anti-government messages -- contains a scene in which the chief villain, the head of the EPA, is admonished by a worried underling that he's gone "mad with power."

"Of COURSE I've gone `mad with power!'" exclaims the murderous bureaucrat (in the voice of Albert Brooks). "Have you ever tried going mad WITHOUT power? It's boring -- nobody pays any attention to you!"

Henry Bowman said...

You write How else are reasonable people supposed to interpret Addington's use of the collective pronoun "we" when referring to a terrorist attack that would upend the balance of power?

Well, I am a very reasonable person, and it seems to me that your interpretation is remarkably narrow and ignores the possibility that Mr. Addington is simply expressing the possibility that such might happen. In fact, I have known several people who are staunch opponents of the Bush Administration who have expressed similar views, though they were expressing a fear that such might occur. In other words, I think your interpretation is, at best, a rather dubious interpretation, and because of that most of your arguments in this instance are simply wishful thinking.

William N. Grigg said...

I take your point. It is possible to perceive Addington's statement as being something more benign than a confession of collaboration with terrorists.

BUT -- and we're taking a Rosie O'Donnell-sized one here -- Addington was talking about something he clearly wanted to happen, namely the abolition of the FISA court. You allude to the fact that this is a strikingly different perspective than that offered by Bush administration critics who WORRY that such developments may transpire should we be hit by another terrorist attack.

People in airports who make ill-considered jokes about bombs can expect to be detained, interrogated, and prosecuted. The same is true of those who make jokes about murdering the president. The official prescription for dealing with such things is "Zero Tolerance." I think the same treatment should be given to powerful executive branch officials who make public utterances that suggest -- however ambiguously -- that a terrorist attack would be a useful development.

Henry Bowman said...

Will, I cannot agree with that sentiment, for the idea of "zero tolerance" is wrong in itself. People should not be arrested or detained for thought crimes or jokes, plain and simple. The fact that the current government detains people for jokes is a travesty.

Mr. Addington may well be a king-sized jerk, a buffoon, or a Nazi, but neither he nor anyone else should be accused of a thought crime. If he actually helped to carry out a bombing, either through conspiracy or direct help, then of course he should be locked up and the key discarded [or worse]. But, no one should be arrested for what they may be thinking.

dixiedog said...

Degeneracy (call it "total depravity," "sin nature," or what one will) is a universal trait, of course. It afflicts all human beings, and governments are staffed and run exclusively by flawed creatures of that sort.

Yes, we all have a sin nature, but we are all not depraved. Depravity is just one sin, like jealousy, envy, etc.

The point is, though, that a self-governing people (in the aggregate, not EACH and EVERY person...sigh), as the Founders thought they, and we, "the People" were, could restrain themselves by the assistance of Providence. After all, neither the Founders nor any other people, utilizing their own destitute wisdom, would ever have even thought up a Constitution like ours without the assistance of Providence in the first place.

It simply couldn't happen otherwise as looking around the world demonstrates. People swirling around in their own wisdom is futile; people are too self-centered and lusts, of which power over others is merely ONE such lust, dominate. This Constitution would simply make no sense whatsoever.

It's not like just our measly colonists were the most intelligent and most wise people walking the face of the Earth. Our constitution came into being because most of them were spiritually-attuned not just materially and with what's seen. The odds of winning freedom against the British crown were astronomical and were it not for their spirited dependence upon Providence, it would of ended as the vast majority of "slave" revolts inevitably end throughout the centuries, i.e. Spartacus in 71 BC, in annihilation.

I believe that they were correct for the most part until we unwisely thought we could somehow manage to keep a constitutional republic in full bloom without the assistance of Providence. Well, the results are, and were, utterly predictable.

This is particularly true where government is believed to exercise a monopoly on the legitimate use of force (a definition I don't subscribe to, obviously, but one the Framers rejected as well -- else the Second Amendment makes no sense).

I believe in the SA, Will, since I'm a constitutionalist. I never thought I'd ever implied or conveyed otherwise. No, I was simply pointing out the obvious.

I said...

...the State has, by default, a virtual monopoly on force

I mean by "virtual" above that it possesses a practical monopoly on force, irregardless of the Second Amendment. Do you honestly disagree that, indeed, it most surely does? I'm not talkin' about belief here, I'm talkin' 'bout reality.

IOW, I don't just believe government has a practical monopoly on force, it's simply the fact of the matter, the reality, Will. When you can own some tanks, missiles, helicopter gunships, grenades, etc., etc., I'll think otherwise. Pee shooters are great, but they are practically like bringin' a box cutter to a sword fight or simply disarmed when viewed in light of the force vector available to government itself.

I've often adverted to Isabel Patterson's insights about how the inchoate weaknesses of relatively decent people become the stuff of mass murder and other atrocities when they're combined with the power of government.

Hmmm, are you saying that your inchoate weaknesses would spiral out of control if you had the power of government behind you? If so, you're saying in essence you don't have faith in Providence to assist you in keeping those lusts and passions restrained and under control. Yes, Will, all humanoids possess God-given appetites, but He intends for us to seek His guidance in keeping them under control.

You act like everything is on auto-pilot. Otherwise, how do "relatively decent" people auto-morph into "mass murderers" if they were already under self-control?

Again, like I said in the previous post:

"As should be clear to anyone, government is a reflection of the people, not vise versa, and only in a society that looks to government (themselves in a power position) as the arbiter of right, wrong, good, evil WILL. "If it's legal, it must be right." "If illegal, it must be wrong." Etc."

So yes, when the people are rudderless, or as you say "relatively decent," which to me implies no foundational rudder whatsoever, we indeed have much to fear from government since it's shaped from those same people!

William N. Grigg said...

Henry (I hope it's OK to address you that way) -- Again, you're making valuable points, and I appreciate this tremendously.

And I should refine my earlier comment: I think that zero tolerance should apply ONLY to people in government, at least for purposes of removal, not for criminal prosecution. There's no right to occupy an elected or appointed position, after all.

In Addington's case, however, I honestly believe we're dealing with something much more serious than an ill-conceived joke or unthinking slip of the tongue (let alone a "thought crime").

If, God forbid, we get clobbered again (as Addington and his ilk obviously desire), at the very least, an effort should be made to interrogate Addington to find out if said what was attributed to him (he's not denied it thus far) and what exactly he meant by it -- and it should be made clear exactly what kind of charges could result if material evidence of ANY KIND of collaboration were produced.

I remain a skeptic (albeit a persuadable one) regarding many of the revisionist assessments of 9/11. But when someone of Addington's exalted station says something of this sort, it makes me wonder if, and to what extent, the people he works for have courted catastrophe as part of their strategy to consolidate power.