A Common Cause
Cindy Sheehan and Sam
ago, President George Bush ordered United States military forces
to invade and occupy Iraq. Since that invasion, which was unconstitutional,
illegal by all international standards, and immoral by any just-war
theology, the world has watched as the Bush administration has directed
the killing of tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers, civilians, and
insurgents at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. It has
watched as over 2300 U.S. troops have been killed to date and almost
18,000 more wounded or maimed for life. It has watched the Bush
administration kidnap, imprison, and torture hundreds of foreign
nationals, as well as American citizens, without trial or conviction.
It has watched as Bush administration lackeys have transported prisoners
to secret prisons and then delivered them to torturers in less-developed
countries. For three years, it has heard George Bush, Dick Cheney,
Don Rumsfeld, and Condi Rice move from one lie to another to justify
each of these actions.
Americans learned that these war criminals also have been secretly
spying domestically in clear violation of federal law. On Monday
February 6, 2006, the Attorney General of the United States of America
appeared before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to defend the
"terrorist surveillance program" that President George W. Bush ordered
into existence in 2001. Both in a prepared statement and in his
testimony before the committee, Alberto R. Gonzales defended the
National Security Agency's warrantless, domestic wiretapping program
as "lawful, reasonable and essential."
that domestic spying is an essential tool in the overall "War on
Terror." He gave as the legal basis for this NSA program his opinion
that Article II of the Constitution of the United States gives the
President of the United States the authority and "inherent power"
to do anything he thinks necessary to protect Americans. He also
said that many of the presidency’s lawyers agree with him on the
question of presidential power. And, besides, he added, Congress
even authorized the President to respond with military force to
the September 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks with its "Authorization
for Use of Military Force" of September 18, 2001 and he characterized
this domestic "spying" as a "military action." He denied that the
President was in any way constrained by the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act that Congress had passed in 1978.
Gonzales was not testifying under oath and he refused to answer
any specific questions about the spying program or to give any examples
of instances where the program provided protection for Americans.
We are all just supposed to take his word for the content and effectiveness
of Bush's domestic spying program. We are all to take the word of
a member of this criminal administration that what they are doing
is completely legal and for our own good.
In an opinion
editorial in the February 13, 2006, Wall Street Journal,
University of Chicago Distinguished Service Professor of Law Richard
A. Epstein presented the reason why George Bush has clearly exceeded
his constitutional powers in ignoring the FISA. It is that nothing
in Congress's authorization of the use of military force in 2001
allows President Bush to ignore the FISA it had previously passed.
Congress sets policy in matters of war and peace; the president
executes it. It's just that simple. Epstein adds that only Congress
can declare war; only Congress can fund war; and, only Congress
can "make rules for the government and regulation of the land and
naval forces." We would add one more important fact Congress
has not declared war! Bush declared it when he invaded Afghanistan
and then Iraq in clear violation of the Constitution he swore to
uphold. We also would like to remind the Attorney General of the
United States that the "War on Terror" is a catchphrase containing
an amorphous and invented opponent. Just look at the phrase: "War
on Terror." What can be worse than terror? We must have a war against
it. We are allowing our leaders to wage war on a word. A concept.
But real people are being destroyed by their expedient tail-wagging-dog
This is a time
when people from all colors of the political spectrum must unite
against this lawless administration. The recent escalation in fighting
among Shi'ite and Sunni factions, and their joint call for an end
to the U.S. occupation, show clearly that the continued presence
of U.S. forces in Iraq serves no interest of the American people.
All Americans must demand that George Bush stop his war in Iraq
and bring our troops home now. All of us must demand that he stop
using the war he started to justify his continuing lawless campaign
against whomever he decides to call an enemy. The discovery of this
latest spying program makes it clear that he has been using his
foreign wars to justify a domestic one he has been attacking
It is clear
that the Bush administration seeks nothing less than to use the
wars it started in order destroy the rule of law in this country
and replace it with the rule of an undistinguished former cheerleader.
After all, in terms of being governed, there are only two alternatives:
either we are to be ruled by law or we are to be ruled by someone
else. To be ruled by law means that every one of us has a solid
foundation in law for planning his or her personal future and achieving
personal goals. That was the original purpose of the U.S. Constitution
to give us that legal foundation. To be ruled by someone
else is to be a slave.
And there are
people in this country who are willing to accept the role of obedient
servant to a state that is out of control and dangerously corrupt.
During the week of February 12, a former employee of the Justice
Department told attendees at the annual meetings of the Conservative
Political Action Conference that the rule of law must be abandoned
in order for George Bush to protect us from al Qaeda. The response
was not boos and cries of "For shame, for shame"; it was a standing
ovation! The boos were reserved for former congressman Bob Barr
when he responded that the first loyalty of all Americans is to
our Constitution. In reporting on the CPAC goings on, Paul Craig
Roberts aptly labeled this audience response as a signal that American
Conservatism is transforming into "brownshirtism." We agree.
Even more do
we agree with one another that the ideological differences that
exist between Cindy and Sam must be set aside in the interest of
a united front against this obscene war. If she had to do so, Cindy
would describe herself as a progressive humanist who wants the militarism
of America and the world to be replaced with kinder, more gentle
foreign and domestic policies. She passionately believes that the
vast amounts of our tax dollars that are being dumped into war and
wasted by the "War" Department every year need to be returned to
our communities to build a culture of plenty and peace.
If he had to
do so, Sam would describe himself as a political and economic libertarian
who wants a government that is limited solely to the protection
of our human rights. This would eliminate almost all departments
and agencies of the federal, state and local governments as they
exist now. Like Cindy, he wants an end to militarism, the return
of all U.S. military forces to the continental U.S. and the closure
of all foreign bases.
and Sam are "we" in this struggle against the fascist, warlike society
that America has become particularly under the Bush regime and "we"
want a lot of company.
political identification, please join us at Easter for a protest
at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, from the 10th of April
to the 16th. There, "we" will be joined by Katrina evacuees
who are still unbelievably and unconscionably ensconced in the Astrodome
and who will be invited to stay on our leased land next to the Secret
Service check point of the Bush faux-ranch on Prairie Chapel Road
until their homes are rebuilt in the Gulf States and they can return.
The displaced Katrina victims care nothing about partisan politics
or demented pork barrel peddling and cronyism; they just want to
go home. "We" will be joined in Crawford by Progressive Democratic
Congressional candidates from all over the country, who are running
for office against pro-war Democrats and Republicans. "We" will
again be joined by old hippies, grandmas and grandpas and young
activists; and we will be joined by Iraqi war veterans, as well
as fresh-faced students who look like they just walked off the pages
of a Gap catalog onto the Texas prairie.
above for full-size version.
Cindy Sheehan © Copyright 2005 by Robert
Shetterly. All rights reserved.
"We," the authors
of this article, have formed an unlikely friendship and partnership
for peace. Our last collaborative piece, "The
Human Cost of War," appeared in diverse online journals from
Marxist sites to Libertarian ones. Those journals may be in deep
philosophical opposition on other questions, but on this one they
are as anti-war as we are. "We" the people of America need to reach
deep inside ourselves and pull out the essential goodness that connects
all of humanity together. Then, we can honor our differences, while
uniting in opposition to the exploitation and ruination of our American
way of life by the Bush crime family and its cronies. However, our
biggest enemy is the citizens of this country's general ennui and
complacency in the face of BushCo's blatant and bloody affronts
"We" the people
of America need to form a true coalition of peace if we are to reclaim
our humanity and our inalienable birthrights.
welcome. Everyone is needed.
Sheehan is the mother of Spc.
Casey Austin Sheehan, KIA 04/04/04 She is co-founder of Gold
Star Families for Peace. She is the author of Not
One More Mother's Child and Dear
President Bush. Sam Bostaph, Ph.D. [send
him mail], is Professor of Economics and Chairman, Department
of Economics, University of Dallas. He is the author of numerous
scholarly articles on topics in intellectual history, economic theory
and economic theory. A former Marine, who later served as a U.S.
Army intelligence staff officer during the Vietnam War era, he is
the proud father of Katie and Megan Bostaph and prays that they
may never go to war themselves.
© 2006 LewRockwell.com