Friday, March 25, 2011

At What Point Do You Call It Tyranny?

When your government is not at all constrained by laws that's tyranny. We all know that wars are to be authorized by Congress. Obama didn't even bother to ask them as he attacked Libya.

Rights of habeus corpus go back hundreds of years, to the Magna Charta. In cases where our government doesn't want to abide by them though these days they are out. What about cruel and unusual punishment? Bradley Manning is being subjected to mind destroying isolation and isn't even convicted yet.

Bush has admitted torturing, which violates laws that are on our books. It's not merely international law that he violated. Seems it doesn't matter. The rules don't apply to top governmental officials. At what point do you call it tyranny?


Miles Rind said...

We all know that wars are to be authorized by Congress.

(1) If you mean that Congress alone has the authority to declare war, your statement is true, but of questionable relevance. The Congress has not issued a declaration of war since 1942. All military actions by the US since then have been without any such declaration.

(2) If you mean that the president does not have the authority to send military forces into action without Congressional authorization, your statement is false.

Rights of habeus corpus go back hundreds of years, to the Magna Charta.

Spelling: "habeas," not "habeus"; it is a conjugated verb, not a noun. I have seen the spelling "Charta," but the prevalent one is "Carta."

Jon said...

If that's true then why have a Gulf of Tonkin resolution? Why did Bush get Congressional authorization for the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan? Doesn't the law require some consultation with Congress in some sense for what we are seeing in Libya? What is the legal basis for doing that without consulting Congress?

Miles Rind said...

Jon, as far as I know, the only thing compelling the president to get congressional authorization for military action is political expedience.

Jon said...

What's changed here though is major military operations did come along with a consultation with the people. I suppose if the law applied they'd declare war and they've been blowing that off for decades. But at least they tend to consult Congress even if they are violating the Constitution. That seems to be entirely out the window at this point. Failing to declare war is violating the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law generally was adhered to. Bush I got Congressional approval for the invasion of Panama for instance.

Nixon invaded Cambodia but that was done in secret. Reagan attacked Latin America but that was secret. He tried to pretend he didn't know and all that. Now it's just out in the open. I'm going to go to war anywhere and I decide with no oversight. That and habeAs corpus, etc. At what point is this tyranny?