Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Have we done in the balance of power?

Oh, scary thoughts from Shaun Waterman in his Costs of War: Little shop of legal horrors at ISN.
Among all the allegations that are thrown at the architects of the US war in Iraq, perhaps the most far-reaching and unexpected is this: that they broke the US government.

Let's be precise. The charge is that, by driving through the war policy in the face of opposition from Secretary of State Colin Powell; by keeping Congress in the dark; and by creating policy - for instance on the transfer and interrogation of suspected terrorists - in secret, and based on a radically broad interpretation of presidential powers, the war party in the administration has damaged, perhaps fatally, the complex web of authorities and inter-relationships that have constituted the national security policymaking apparatus of the US government since World War II.

The three elements of the charge each implicate a different institution or set of institutional relationships: The National Security Council failed to create policy coherence on the war; congressional oversight of administration counterterrorism policy appears to have been cursory at best; and underpinning the other two, what critics have painted as a radical re-interpretation of the president's war-time powers has led to the creation of a body of secret laws and regulations of as-yet unknown size and effect.
My head hurts.

No comments:

Post a Comment