Sometimes even the journalistic mainstream gets it.
It is only now, nearly five years after Sept. 11, that the full picture of the Bush administration’s response to the terror attacks is becoming clear. Much of it, we can see now, had far less to do with fighting Osama bin Laden than with expanding presidential power.
Over and over again, the same pattern emerges: Given a choice between following the rules or carving out some unprecedented executive power, the White House always shrugged off the legal constraints
That’s from an editorial in the New York Times Sunday July 16. (Times link, via Truthout). (Emphases and outlines added.) The times refers to the Bush Administration’s
… perverse determination:
- never to consult,
- never to ask and
- always to fight against any constraint on the executive branch.
One result has been a frayed democratic fabric in a country founded on a constitutional system of checks and balances. Another has been a less effective war on terror.
The editorial cites clear examples from handling of Guantanamo and “Eavesdropping on Americans”, then deals with the very high costs of this “Real Agenda.” It is worth reading for good short summaries of the current status of affairs in both matters. For example, there’s this under “eavesdropping on Americans.”
The president had no need to go it alone – everyone wanted to go with him. Both parties in Congress were eager to show they were tough on terrorism. But the obsession with presidential prerogatives created fights where no fights needed to occur and made huge messes out of programs that could have functioned more efficiently within the rules.
I guess playing by the rules is for liberals and sissies, for people who believe in old simple notions like honesty and Constitutions and the dangerous depravity of human nature. Some of us believe EVERY human being in power (or out of power for that matter), including George W. Bush, has a depraved streak that MUST be watched by the rest of us. That idea, you know, is a major theme in the Bible.
This “real agenda” of George Bush to obtain absolute power is not Christian. Christian theology and morality teach that no one man or group is to be trusted with absolute and unquestioned authority.
This “real agenda” of George Bush is not American. American political theory and Constitutional history teach that no one man or group is to be trusted with absolute and unrestrained authority.
The article further states that
Jane Mayer provided a close look at this effort to undermine the constitutional separation of powers in a chilling article in the July 3 issue of The New Yorker. She showed how it grew out of Vice President Dick Cheney’s long and deeply held conviction that the real lesson of Watergate and the later Iran-contra debacle was that the president needed more power and that Congress and the courts should get out of the way.
That is profoundly unAmerican and unChristian.
And look what it produces. This list wraps up the editorial – behaviors with which we are all already very familiar.
The results have been devastating.
- Americans’ civil liberties have been trampled.
- The nation’s image as a champion of human rights has been gravely harmed.
- Prisoners have been abused, tortured and even killed at the prisons we know about, while other prisons operate in secret.
- American agents “disappear” people, some entirely innocent, and send them off to torture chambers in distant lands.
- Hundreds of innocent men have been jailed at GuantÃ¡namo Bay without charges or rudimentary rights.
- And Congress has shirked its duty to correct this out of fear of being painted as pro-terrorist at election time.
These are the things we fought WWII (against the Nazis and the Japanese) and the Cold War (against the Communists) to prevent.
This is immoral and illegal;
it is not Christian, and
it is not American.
What then IS it?
I do not understand why a vast number of Christians in our country today hold George Bush and his family is such high esteem to the point of deifying him. This is then idolatry as far as Iâ€™m concerned. Since the late 70s, Pat Robertson has been pounding in our heads that the Democrats are immoral and satanic and the Republicans are of God. In the 70s and early 80s I faithfully watched the 700 Club until at some point in the early 80s I realized that every time I watched the show when Pat Robertson talked about politics, I felt an enormous amount of fear and became extremely anxious. What has happened on the 700 Club is a mix of Scriptural truths and political arrogance and pride, however, many of us fundamental, Charismatic Christians have taken the bait without testing to see whether what has been said if of God. We accept it, after all Pat Robertson says so. The demons behind the bush were uncovered and they are Democrats. The conclusion many people come to, therefore, is that anything the Democrats stand for is bad and anything the Republicans stand for is good. Now, it matters not one bit what the Republicans do or donâ€™t do, they are for good and for truth!
Further, not too many months ago, I watched in horror as Pat Robertson had Tom Delay on the 700 Club declaring his innocence. Tom Delay spoke on that show and declared his innocence. He, after all, is being religiously persecuted and weâ€™re asked to just ignore anything he might have done in the name of God. Tom Delay has a mission from God and shouldnâ€™t be stopped no matter what laws he criminally abused.
Our forefathers would turn over in their graves if they could hear how they are being deified now to simply justify the actions of the Republicans today and all in the name of God! Facts are completely irrelevant and forgotten. Further, we are too just blindly and unquestionably trust this present administration. After all, theyâ€™re fighting off the terrorists and protecting us all.
What is happening today is more than immoral it is pure evil as far as Iâ€™m concerned. 2 Timothy 3 is correct. I grew up in the 50s and 60s, but Iâ€™ve never seen the politically arrogant attitudes from Christians as I do today. IF thatâ€™s not bad enough, but it is also mixed with being mean spirited, judgmental and intolerant. It seems to me today that weâ€™d pick up the first stone and willingly throw it at anyone, ignoring Jesusâ€™ teaching and His love, in blind hypocrisy declaring we own self-righteousness.
â€˜Thinking Personâ€™, I might have been overrbearing, in that case sorry. The bible says we shall be â€˜quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angryâ€™, and I admit Iâ€™m often drawn away from this word of scripture (James 1: 19) because Iâ€™m pretty high-strung owing to menacing outlook of both personal and political background. The reason for the latter you find in my text. Itâ€™s plain and shocking enough, isnâ€™t it. Unfortunately, itâ€™s also true, though God have mercy on us and may give itâ€™ll not unfold so clearly that even you will see it.
However, let me invite you to give us some of Bushâ€™s merits. Letâ€™s discuss what else he says or does, and Iâ€™ll vow Iâ€™ll personally keep restraint and let others answer you. Fair enough?
Please, substantiate your argument. Let us know why Bush, in leading 280 million Americans needs distrust a congress dominated by his own party more than did practically every other president up to now, a lot of whom faced comparable tasks and none of whom put himself so much over the law as Bush! (?)
Think especially of FD Roosevelt, who not only defended the world from Eurasian nazism but also did a, probably even trickier task, to defend his nation from the Spirit of Nazism, which was at large and a threat of dictatorship in America too, – even though posterity in the western world liked to systematically blanch over it. FDR might have been overbearing against a (recalcictrant! please think thatâ€™s a difference) congress too, but he bequeathed posterity an intact system of checks and balances. Which reason can you give us to trust Bush will do the same? And if there is none, why shall not his deeds bespeak his heartâ€™s intent? As far as I know, FDR did not make a lot ado about his faith, but Iâ€™ll tell you what: There is a word of Jesus in the bible, relevant in this context (even while not showing who is â€œborn-againâ€? and who is not, which is a question to be decided when Jesus returns, but not in todayâ€™s politics!):
Now, itâ€™s your turn, Thinking Person. Whatâ€™s so â€œridiculousâ€? in judging Bush according to his accomplishments? Please, speak up. Will you?
â€šThinking Personâ€˜, what you demand goes without saying, and IS consistently observed by the administrator of this site. Which standards would you like to apply in order to determine what is it then that IS in Bushâ€™s heart? Shouldnâ€™t this be biblical standards too, rather than the usual taking for face value of a self-professed faith?
What is this â€˜overflow of the heartâ€™ of President Bush? Iâ€™ll give you the most recent sample:
Quite apart from any consideration about who is to blame in this unending conflict, do you earnestly believe that a responsible person in the highest political office on earth, let alone a compassionate one, would issue such a language? Then you are really beyond ridiculous, my dear thinker.
At the moment this president is setting off his third major war (at least by passivity, for the true backstage machinators are Cheney and Netanyahu, at the line of George Shultz, who himself is beholden to the synarchist power grabbers of the international money elite), which might well escalate and lead up to the nuclear bombing of (the none-nuclear power Iran due to congressâ€™s unspeakable negligency to not pass emergency legislation and withdraw from the president the right to launch nuclear bombings against a remonstrating military) at this very moment this so-called believer, the follower of that Jesus who is â€œgentle and humble in heartâ€? (11:29) IS IDLE AND TALKS VULGAR RUBBISH. And you come here and reproach us judge by whatâ€™s in the manâ€™s heart!?
Indeed, this must be a very bad dream. Itâ€™s unheard-of.
Thinking? Personally, I view competence (his ability to direct an enormous bureaucracy) as being just as important as his good intentions (whatâ€™s in his heart), if not more so. What’ that line about the road to hell?
His lack of real competence is making the situation worse, and to view that as acceptable is “beyond ridiculous”. After all, he is “responsible for protecting 280,000,000 people”. It would be nice if he had a clue about what might actually improve our security.
These views are beyond ridiculous. Judge the man by what’s in his heart, not by his ability to
direct an enormous bureaucracy. How would you like to be responsible for protecting 280,000,000