The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb participated in a conference call with former Senator George Mitchell yesterday, during which Mitchell advocated a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. This is what Goldfarb wrote about that call:
Pam Hess, the UPI reporter who gave us this extremely moving and persuasive glimpse of the liberal case for the war in Iraq, asked if timetables for withdrawal "somehow infringe on the president's powers as commander in chief?" Mitchell's less than persuasive answer: "Congress is a coequal branch of government...the framers did not want to have one branch in charge of the government."
True enough, but they sought an energetic executive with near dictatorial power in pursuing foreign policy and war. So no, the Constitution does not put Congress on an equal footing with the executive in matters of national security.
So apparently, the American Founders risked their lives and fortunes in order to wage war against Great Britain and declare independence from the King -- all in order to vest "near dictatorial power" in the American President in all matters of foreign policy and national security. And, of course, for the Michael Goldfarbs of the world, "war" and "national security" -- and the "near dictatorial power" vested in the President in those areas -- now encompasses virtually every government action, since scary and dangerous Muslims are lurking everywhere, on every corner, and the entire world is one big "battlefield" in the "War on Terrorism," including U.S. soil.
Until the Bill Kristols and John Yoos and other authoritarians of that strain entered the political mainstream, I never heard of prominent Americans who describe the power that they want to vest in our political leaders as "near dictatorial." Anyone with an even passing belief in American political values would consider the word "dictatorial" -- at least rhetorically, if not substantively -- to define that which we avoid at all costs, not something which we seek, embrace and celebrate. If there is any political principle that was previously common to Americans regardless of partisan orientation, it was that belief.
But The Weekly Standard has an agenda single-mindedly focused on the Middle East and Muslims that outweighs everything else, and nothing can impede that agenda -- certainly not something as comparatively unimportant as the American constitutional framework. That's why, to Goldfarb, there is nothing at all odd about advocating "near dictatorial power" vested in the President (at least the current President). For this faction, anything that promotes the all-important agenda of Middle East hegemony and war against "our" enemies is, by definition, good.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Glenn Greenwald: Neocons Espouse Bush "Near-Dictatorship"
Glenn Greenwald at Salon
Posted by Humbug at 10:54 AM