Constitutional Lawyer and Author
House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, should resign.
He has flouted his constitutional oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. He has surrendered the supreme national security and oversight powers of Congress to President Barack Obama without fighting a single battle.
Exemplary was the speaker’s embrace of the House Republican Task Force Report on National Security released on June 9, 2016. The report concedes limitless presidential authority over national security.
It concedes unchecked executive power to initiate gratuitous trillion dollar wars; to play prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner to kill American citizens based on secret, uncorroborated evidence; to conduct dragnet surveillance of the entire population for foreign intelligence purposes; to circumvent the Treaty Clause through executive agreements; to thwart congressional oversight by classifying congressional documents; and, to prevent judicial redress for unconstitutional executive branch assassinations, torture, or kidnappings.
The limitless executive power endorsed by Speaker Ryan is more alarming than King George III’s oppressions that provoked the American Revolution in 1776.
Philosopher George Santayana instructed that, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Speaker Ryan, like most members of Congress, is clueless about the past — and thus is facilitating its repetition.
In 44 B.C., the Roman Senate surrendered its constitutional powers to Julius Caesar, making him a dictator. Domestic convulsions, permanent war, bankruptcy, the death of liberty, and the sacking of Rome by the Visigoths ensued. The decline and fall of Republics triggered by limitless executive power has repeated itself for thousands of years. James Madison, father of the Constitution, wrote in Federalist 47 that the combination of legislative, executive and judicial power in a single official was the “very definition of tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson amplified, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
The Executive Branch sports a kinetic, belligerent personality that dominates the personality of any White House occupant. The executive constantly concocts justifications for war by logarithmically inflating danger for ulterior motives: to aggrandize power; to substitute secrecy for transparency to evade accountability; to bloat military and intelligence budgets; and, to leave a legacy of world domination or control. The result is a foreign policy that routinely employs bayonets to smash hornets’ nests abroad and then expends trillions to fight the angry hornets the military attacks created.
The Executive Branch’s perpetual, global war against radical Islam is illustrative. For two centuries, the United States and the Muslim world enjoyed at least peaceful co-existence. The Barbary Wars over the payment of tribute to Muslim rulers as a condition of trade in the Mediterranean was the exception.
Chronic conflict emerged after World War II when the United States sought to manipulate Middle East or North African Muslim nations in furtherance of an American Empire. Our gratuitous interventions over decades in supplying material support to hated regimes provoked popular anger and resentment in the Muslim world that we are now witnessing, i.e., blowback.
We orchestrated the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953. We helped organize the Central Treaty Organization in 1955 whose members included Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and Great Britain. We sought to undermine Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1956 by withdrawing support for the Aswan Dam. We dispatched troops to Lebanon in 1957. We sided with Libya’s King Idris over Col. Muammar Gaddafi in 1969. We became an arsenal of Muslim dictators, including the Shah of Iran and Saudi Arabian Kings.
We aided Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in his 1980-1988 war against Iran. We deployed marines to Lebanon in 1982. We fought the first Persian Gulf War in 1991 to reinstate a dictatorial Kuwaiti dynasty. We maintained troops in Saudi Arabia until 2003 to fortify a religiously bigoted and tyrannical regime. At present, we are engaged in military conflict in Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and against al Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Speaker Ryan’s task force report ignores this arrogant and belligerent history of Executive Branch provocations in the Middle East and North Africa which Congress could end at any time through the power of the purse or otherwise.
All that is necessary for the triumph of executive tyranny is for Congress to do nothing. That is why Speaker Ryan needs to depart.
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Original: Huffington Post