We’re a nation of laws. We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.
I’m not a lawyer. I don’t even pretend to be one on the Internet but the above statement, according to the Constitution of the United States, is just so egregiously wrong that it is hard to believe that it was uttered by a lawyer much less one that purports to be a “Constitutional Law Professor” and sits in the Oval Office. If I were a lawyer, I’d be embarrassed by this man claim to be a member of my profession. As a citizen of the Unites States, I am more than embarrassed, I am ashamed.
Not just worse than Bush but worse than Richard Nixon, too. I can’t imagine Eric Holder telling Obama to say he “mispoke”.
Immediately upon reading Michael Whitney’s post about President Barack Obama’s statement to Logan Price about Bradley – “we are a nation of laws…. he broke the law!” – I was reminded of Richard Nixon’s statement about Charles Manson in the midst of his trial:
“Here was a man who was guilty, directly or indirectly, of eight murders without reason.”
What I didn’t recall from that time was that John Mitchell, easily American history’s crookedest Attorney General ever, was at Nixon’s side when he made that statement in Denver. He recognized right away that there was a serious problem with Nixon’s statement:
“This has got to be clarified,” he told Presidential Aide John Ehrlichman immediately afterward.
Even in an era of news moving only as fast as the wire services, reporters rushed to telephones and the story moved. In half an hour, White House press secretary Ron Ziegler appeared before reporters:
After some minutes of verbal fencing, Ziegler agreed that Nixon’s words about Manson should be retracted. When Ziegler told Nixon what had happened, the President was surprised: “I said ‘charged,’ ” he replied.
Which, of course, Nixon had not said. And, as in Obama’s case, there was video.
During the 3½-hour flight back to Washington, Mitchell persuaded Nixon to put out a statement backing Ziegler up. It read in part: “The last thing I would do is prejudice the legal rights of any person in any circumstances. I do not know and did not intend to speculate as to whether or not the Tate defendants are guilty, in fact, or not.”
Michael Whitney: Obama on Manning: “He Broke the Law.” So Much for that Trial?
This is the President of the United States speaking about a US military soldier detained for almost a year on charges of leaking classified (but not top secret, the level of files released by Ellsberg) documents. Manning’s lawyer is
consideringconsidered (corrected: his transfer made the writ moot) filing a writ of habeus corpus for the length of time and totality of abuse suffered by Manning while in military custody.
President Obama has already made up his mind. He thinks Manning “broke the law.” It’s no wonder he considered Manning’s abuse to “meet our basic standards” when he thinks Manning is already guilty.
This is vile.
As a reminder: the Pentagon plans to hold Manning indefinitely. Might as well, since they think he’s guilty already.
Glen Greenwald: President Obama Speaks on Manning and the Rule of Law
But even more fascinating is Obama’s invocation of America’s status as a “nation of laws” to justify why Manning must be punished. That would be a very moving homage to the sanctity of the rule of law — if not for the fact that the person invoking it is the same one who has repeatedly engaged in the most extraordinary efforts to shield Bush officials from judicial scrutiny, investigation, and prosecution of every kind for their war crimes and surveillance felonies. Indeed, the Orwellian platitude used by Obama to justify that immunity — Look Forward, Not Backward — is one of the greatest expressions of presidential lawlessness since Richard Nixon told David Frost that “it’s not illegal if the President does it.”
But it’s long been clear that this is Obama’s understanding of “a nation of laws”: the most powerful political and financial elites who commit the most egregious crimes are to be shielded from the consequences of their lawbreaking — see his vote in favor of retroactive telecom immunity, his protection of Bush war criminals, and the way in which Wall Street executives were permitted to plunder with impunity — while the most powerless figures (such as a 23-year-old Army Private and a slew of other low-level whistleblowers) who expose the corruption and criminality of those elites are to be mercilessly punished. And, of course, our nation’s lowest persona non grata group — accused Muslim Terrorists — are simply to be encaged for life without any charges. Merciless, due-process-free punishment is for the powerless; full-scale immunity is for the powerful. “Nation of laws” indeed.
And lest we forget that last year this same president appointed himself not only judge and jury but executioner as well.
U.S. Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric
By Scott Shane, April 6, 2010
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday.
The Bush/Cheney cabal may have shredded the Constitution, this president wants to bury it.