Borrowing billions to borrow trouble

Andy Jacobs Jr.

Just before the 2,000th American military death in the unconstitutional and unconscionable Iraq war, our president said, "Sacrifice is essential to wining war and this war will require more sacrifice, more time and more resolve."

Of course, generally, the ones doing the resolving are not the ones doing the sacrificing. We ought to know by now that the only Americans in any danger from Iraq were the ones sent there by our fearless (at a distance) leaders to be slaughtered.

Our Constitution - the one that members of Congress and our duo presidents swore to God they would not violate - says the federal officials who sentenced these young American citizens to deaths in Iraq violated their oaths of office egregiously.

It is a sad commentary on communication that the American public is only now beginning to understand that this illegal, gratuitous and reckless American intervention was the product of presidential prevarication.

It is generally perceived now by an apparent majority that a clandestine "cabal" among some curious administration characters led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld cooked up the cock-and-bull assertions that Iraq had machines of terror and was in on the Sept. 11 monster of terror. One might even say the "cabal" cried Wolf-owitz. Paraphrasing Churchill, the "cabal" looks like a "grizzly gang that worked [the war hawks'] wicked will."

But, if so, why? Robert Bolt, in his play A Man For All Seasons, writes into the mouth of Thomas More, "I have no window to see into the motives of others." There is much speculation about the motive for our own government's terrorist attack against truth. But, at this point, "why" doesn't matter so much as "if."

The mounting and damning evidence of the "cabal" demands thorough and objective investigation. And, at long last, such investigation is about to happen. "Objective" because the Senate select-committee is slated to have equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. There's a good chance that we shall see for certain if the dark perception is truth or political poetry. If it weren't illegal (sort of) in Indiana to do so, I'd bet that it will not turn out to be poetry.

When we served together in Congress, I knew and liked Dick Cheney. He was very friendly and polite. I don't know the Dick Cheney who, according to a recent Associated Press dispatch, is working to exempt the CIA from proposed legislation banning torture of U.S.-held prisoners. The amendment is sponsored by Sen. John McCain who, at the hands of Communists, was once on the other end of torture. The only way "U.S." and "torture" belong in the same sentence is if "banned" or one of its synonyms is included in that sentence.

When testifying before Congress in favor of the more radical parts of The Patriot Act, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft - the one from the "Show Me State" who ordered the breasts on an old stone statue covered so that they would not be shown to anybody - said, "Terrorists do not deserve due process." Having just attended, with my beloved lawyer-nephew Tom Landwerlen, two days of the Indiana Trial Lawyers' Indiana Supreme Court-mandated "Continuing Legal Education," I can assure you that due process is not a favor for terrorists. It is a constitutional favor for the American freedom to determine who is and who is not a terrorist when there is probable cause for prosecution.

And you know something has gone awry when our present U.S. attorney general can find it possible to dub as "quaint" the Geneva Convention on civilized treatment of war prisoners, thus winking from the top at American torture of prisoners.

"They only said intimidate and talked and went their way. By God the boys who did the work were braver men than they." - Kipling

The 2002 congressional resolution purporting to transfer to the president the exclusive congressional authority to decide whether we go to war was brazenly unconstitutional. Only a constitutional amendment, God forbid, can do that. However, this is not the first presidential fiat war. Unconstitutional presidential wars started big time with Truman and his "Police Action" Korean War in which, as a teen-age Marine, I received the dubious honor of becoming an infantry combat-disabled veteran.

Perhaps God can forgive the Washington politicians, Democratic as well as Republican, who have illegally confiscated and continue to confiscate from these American kids in Iraq their lives, their liberty and their pursuits of happiness. Finite human justice says the confiscation "is a wrong that neither can, nor ever should be forgiven." - G.B. Shaw

I have a congresswoman who had the political courage to cast our congressional vote against this callously unconstitutional insanity.

God bless my little sister Julia.

A new version of Andy Jacobs' 1600 Killers is out, with a new chapter on the Iraq war. Available in local bookstores.

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