Happy Fourth of July, everyone.
I’m not barbecuing or anything today. Instead, I’m writing this article for all of you and before I get to the meat of it, I have a couple of things to say about the constitution and freedom of the press.
See, the press is the only profession named in the Constitution. It serves as an additional check on all the branches of the government–or it should. Too often, though, it doesn’t serve that function anymore–just the profit motives of corporations.
We at Kaffeine Buzz write mostly about pop culture, music, movies, and the like. But we bring you Political Buzz because we believe that knowing what’s going on is important. And even popular film and music can have something to say about our system, but sometimes you need to hear the news straight.
We don’t make money on this, and that makes it hard to go out and do real investigative reporting. Hell, networks that make millions don’t go out and do investigative reporting. There are just a few reporters out there that do, and The New Yorker‘s Seymour Hersh is one of them.
Basically, a Presidential Finding must be issued to Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate whenever a covert intelligence operation is begun. Because these operations are highly classified, only a small group from Congress, rather than the entire body, must decide if funding for these operations will go through.
The Democratic members of Congress who authorized this were Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes.
The Bush administration wanted funding for covert activities within Iran (Yes, Iran, not Iraq) that are purportedly designed to combat Iran’s nuclear program. And despite misgivings from the Democratic leadership, not to mention military higher-ups like Admiral Fallon, until recently the head of CentCom, and even the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the funding was approved.
Since the administration has determined that it doesn’t need authorization from Congress to conduct military operations, and the CIA works with the military in many covert missions, even this small minority of Congress doesn’t really know what it’s agreed to.
And how can we justify attacking Iran within their own borders, on possibly false claims (questioned by Hersh and the New York Times)that they’re attacking us in Iraq, when we ourselves are the invading nation in Iraq?
So when John McCain jokes “Bomb Iran, Bomb, bomb Iran,” on the campaign trail, we must indeed take such threats seriously. It’s already beyond the planning stages.
For a president to begin a preemptive war just before leaving office would be unprecedented, and disastrous. Yet this administration has shown little concern for either precedent or disaster. I dislike armchair psychology, but it seems to me that George W. Bush has always shown the attitude that someone else will clean up his messes.
And John McCain, despite his ‘maverick’ reputation, has shown himself quite willing to go along with Bush’s plans, and his ‘stay the course’ attitude is just what we don’t need if the Bush crew does decide to go against the recommendations of even administration officials like Gates, who Hersh quoted as saying, “We’ll create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America,” of the possible consequences of an attack on Iran.
So while I am not happy with Barack Obama’s recent actions, especially regarding FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act–check out this for more) and a statement that appeared to qualify his promise to withdraw troops from Iraq, I will still note the strong difference, perhaps the strongest difference between this candidate and both his opponent and of course the one we have now.
Obama has come out for diplomacy with Iran. I could not find any statements from him regarding this latest development, and I hope to hear one. But if you agree with me (and Secretary Gates!) that unilaterally invading another country is stupid and just plain wrong, there’s really only one possibility to vote for.
But we have to pay attention. We have to hold our officials and candidates responsible for their actions, and we must know what is being done in our names. Much of the mainstream media has failed in its responsibilities, but there are still options out there.
Because that’s real patriotism, not wearing a flag pin or shooting off fireworks while eating hot dogs and hamburgers. Being informed and being involved. Caring about what your country is doing.
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