Monday, January 19, 2009

Oaths Have Consequences

In the eight years since Dubya committed perjury when he swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, we seem to have forgotten that the Presidential Oath of Office is not an introduction to a speech, but a legal, enforceable oath.

Through eight years of dictatorial rule by an imposter placed in office by a judicial coup, we've forgotten that the president has actual duties he must fulfill or be removed from office and prosecuted for malfeasance.

Hilzoy explains how the Oath of Office binds Barack Obama to constitutional duties ignored by Smirky/Darth and why those duties give him no choice but to prosecute George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales and their whole mob organization for war crimes.

Some Facts For Obama To Consider

(1) According to Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, the President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed".

(2) According to Article VI of the Constitution, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land".

(3) The United States is a party to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

(4) As Dahlia Lithwick reminds us, the Convention Against Torture not only prohibits torture, it imposes a set of affirmative obligations on its parties.


It seems to me that these facts imply that if Barack Obama, or his administration, has reasonable grounds to believe that members of the Bush administration have committed torture, then they are legally obligated to investigate; and that if that investigation shows that acts of torture were committed, to submit those cases for prosecution, if the officials who committed or sanctioned those acts are found on US territory. If they are on the territory of some other party to the Convention, then it has that obligation. Under the Convention, as I read it, this is not discretionary. And under the Constitution, obeying the laws, which include treaties, is not discretionary either.

On Thursday, Eric Holder, Obama's nominee, for Attorney General, stated categorically in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, countless television cameras, the FSM and everybody:

"No one is above the law."

That doesn't just mean that neither the new president nor any member of his administration may break the law or undermine the Constitution. It means they have the affirmative duty to enforce the law, including international treaties.

Failing in that duty - breaking his Oath of Office - in the name of "moving forward" or "bipartisanship" or "changing the tone" or getting 80 votes for the economic stimulus is a crime in and of itself for which brand-new President Obama would deserve impeachment.

Not prosecuting Bush war crimes is not an option.

Read the whole thing.

Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic ....