(Photo of Glenn Greenwald by Robin Holland)
NOTE NEW PROGRAMS COMING UP ON TV FOR BILL MOYERS'JOURNAL: Bill Moyers' Journal
Friday, December 19, 11:00pm (ET on some stations) - The war in Afghanistan is discussed with Sarah Chayes.
Friday, December 26, 11:00pm (ET on some stations) - The commonalities shared by the world's religions.
This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with political commentator Glenn Greenwald about the Bush administration’s assertion of expanded presidential powers and the prospect that Barack Obama may renounce them in favor of a traditional American vision of the rule of law.
Glenn Greenwald ***(NOTE: Link to Greenwald article on Bush link to detainee deaths/killing just below - look for ***) said:
“What we have in the last eight years is not merely a case of individual and isolated law breaking. It’s a declaration of war on the whole idea of law itself, on the idea that our political leaders are constrained in any way by the limitations of the American people imposed through our Congress... The last two years running for President, [Obama] renounced the core theories of the Bush administration that vested the President with the powers we’ve been describing and vowed that he would renounce them almost immediately upon taking office... I think he needs to say that he doesn’t intend to view himself as being above the rule of law, that he intends to be faithful to the vision and design of the founders that the President, like everybody else, is subject to the rule of law and to the laws that the American people enact through their representatives in Congress.”
Political science professor Jean Edward Smith of Marshall University suggested that the Bush administration’s actions are part of a historical continuum including numerous previous presidents in times of war:
“'The Constitution has never greatly bothered any wartime President,' wrote Francis Biddle, F.D.R.'s attorney general during World War II... National survival or, perhaps more accurately, the President's perception of national survival always takes precedence. George W. Bush has been no exception... Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War, and in several states he ordered the trial of civilians by military tribunals... [Woodrow] Wilson requested that Congress give the president absolute authority to censor the press in the event of war, to make it a federal crime to promote the success of America's enemies and to close the mail to any material deemed 'of a treasonable or anarchistic character'... The 1942 relocation of Japanese-Americans from their homes on the West Coast was, in [Franklin] Roosevelt's view, simply another act of wartime necessity dictated by the risk to America's defenses.”
What do you think?
# Do you expect Barack Obama to renounce or dial back the executive powers that the Bush administration asserted? Why or why not?
# Is it appropriate for Presidents during wartime to disregard the Constitution in the name of national security? Why or why not?
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