03 April 2007

An Open Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President:

I am very, very disappointed in the stance you have taken on the Iraq funding Supplement, as indicated by your press conference this morning. I am particularly disappointed by your bellicose name-calling and refusal to even acknowledge the will of the majority. You blame the representatives of the people for voting the way the last election clearly indicated the people want their Congress to vote: to begin to bring to an end the occupation which has emerged from the war in Iraq, which you started on false pretenses. The people have spoken, and they demand that your protracted war, with no end in sight, to fight the wrong enemy at the wrong time for the wrong reasons, must come to an end.

You claim, against all evidence, that the people are with you. But you are wrong. By a significant majority, the American people want this useless, baseless war ended. It seems that only you, and others so isolated in their blind support of you that they cannot see the evidence before their eyes, continue to believe a majority still supports this war.

More disturbingly, you seem to fail to grasp the essential principles of American government. Foreign policy, especially military policy, is ultimately decided by Congress in our system. The power to declare war is explicitly reserved in the Constitution to the Congress. The practice since World War II of ceding this power to the presidency with “resolutions,” or sometimes simply acquiescing in the illegal usurpation of this power by presidents, without any authorization, has proven unwise and dangerous. The Iraq occupation proves this yet again.

Regardless of the appropriateness of war-by-resolution, it should be clear that when the Congress unambiguously votes to bring a military operation to an end, as it has here, the permission given to the president in some past resolution is revoked, and his failure to comply with the express wishes of Congress is unlawful usurpation of powers he does not have. I only wish this Congress had made even clearer that the 2003 resolution, passed as it was on the basis of misinformation and deceit, is now revoked. But how you can conclude that the Congress continues to authorize the indefinite continuation of this occupation is beyond me. Apparently, you do not consider yourself answerable to the electorate, or the Congress, at all.

If funds are ultimately denied for the continued military occupation of Iraq, it will be because, and only because, you have refused to accept the clear will of the people and their representatives, in appropriating funds conditioned on the commencement of the process of disengaging from this war of occupation.

You are not the Emperor of America, sir. You are the servant of the people, whose will you are now openly and dangerously defying. This is shameful, illegal, and very, very dangerous.

I hope you will reconsider your reckless disregard for the principle that government of the United States is by consent of the governed. I hope you will sign the appropriations supplement bill when it comes to your desk, and begin, as is your real job, executing the instructions of the people’s representatives, which are clear: you are to end the occupation of Iraq and bring the troops home.

David Studhalter

Update: Glenn Greenwald's related comments on Giuliani's scary views on presidential power.

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent and clear letter. I hope Bush gets thousands more like it and someone will read them to him.


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