Four-score years ago our forefathers overwhelmingly
elected Herbert Hoover to serve as President of the United States. He was inaugurated
March 4, 1929, just in time to take the rap for not preventing the Wall
Street crash of October 29, 1929, which according to the conventional wisdom,
triggered the Great Depression.
Of course, it was a bum rap; under then current law, the President was essentially
powerless to affect what did or did not happen on Wall Street.
But the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act was pending before Congress in late 1929 and
was signed into law by Hoover in early 1930. Other scribes (most notably the
late Jude Wanniski)
have concluded that Congressional Act – whose protective tariffs not only could,
but did, affect what happened on Wall Street and Main Street –
was the real "cause" of the Great Depression.
So what has all that got to do with the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
the upcoming presidential election and the impending wars in Iran and Pakistan?
Well, scroll back to 1933. By then the Great Depression was worldwide and getting
worse. On January 30, Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany and on March
4, Franklin Roosevelt was inaugurated as our 32nd president, both
promising to do whatever it took to effect economic recovery in their countries.
FDR was reelected in 1936, but some scribes do not consider economic recovery
to have really began in this country until 1938. And why then?
Well, in early 1938, Hitler made himself Supreme Commander of all German armed
forces, and ordered them to enter
and occupy Austria. Hitler threatened to do the same to the Sudentenland,
so Brit Prime Minister Chamberlain went to Munich and "appeased" Hitler,
gaining "peace with honor."
Whereupon FDR began to lobby Congress to repeal certain provisions of the Neutrality
Act, to make it legal to produce and sell zillions of dollars worth of armaments
to Great Britain and France. By 1940, with FDR seeking an unprecedented third
term, with our construction of a powerful two-ocean navy underway and with Great
Britain and France at war with Germany, our Great Depression had begun to come
to an end.
Of course, the Great Depression had come to an end in Germany – under Hitler
– much earlier. Hence, the argument could easily be made that Hitler's successes
also inadvertently enabled FDR to seek – and obtain – unprecedented "emergency"
third and fourth terms.
But now, return to the present, with ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
the stock market crash of 2008, the upcoming presidential election and the impending
wars in Iran and Pakistan, with Bush the Younger constitutionally limited to
Scott Ritter, former U.S. Marine Intelligence Officer in the First Gulf War,
and Chief UN Inspector in its aftermath, an outspoken opponent of the Second
Gulf War and the impending wars against Iran and Pakistan, recently wrote at
"The war in Iraq has morally crippled the Republican Party, if not all
of America. The fact that a conflict which has taken the lives of more than
4,150 Americans to date, wounded tens of thousands more, and slaughtered hundreds
of thousands of Iraqi civilians serves as the centerpiece of the Republican
Party platform boggles the mind."
"The more I listened to Obama, the more I realized that on the major issues
of war and peace, there was in fact very little that separated him from the
Republicans he opposes. Both have sold out American sovereignty in the name
of Israeli security (or more important, Likud-inspired, AIPAC-driven policies
falsely sold as being in the best interest of the Israeli people). Both assume
Iranian nefarious intent, and point an accusatory finger at "Russian aggression"
without reflecting on the cause-and-effect reality of irresponsible American
foreign policy (the expansion of NATO, the invasion and occupation of Iraq,
withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, and the installation on Polish and Czech soil
of a ballistic missile defense shield claimed to be for the Iranian threat,
but optimized for missiles launched from within Russia)."
"The two-party system is failing America. There isn't time between now
and Election Day to create a viable third-party candidate, and so the sad reality
is one of two deeply flawed men, the byproduct of a deeply flawed political
system, will serve as president for the next four or eight years."
But, Ritter to the contrary, there could be an alternative to McCain or Obama
serving as president for the next four or eight years.
After all, on August 28, 2008, President Bush extended for another year the
National Emergency he first declared on September 14, 2001, "along with
the powers and authorities adopted to deal with that emergency."
Congress has also given the Commander-in-Chief of the War on Terror the "authority"
to commit U.S. Armed Forces to military actions in violation of the U.S. Constitution
and the UN Charter.
And, with the Military Commissions Act, Congress effectively "authorized"
Bush to suspend
the Constitutional guarantee of the writ of habeas corpus, by which "detainees
can seek relief from unlawful imprisonment."
Furthermore, with the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress effectively
overturned the Posse Comitatus
Act, which had prevented since the War Between the States the use of U.S. Armed
Forces to disrupt "civil disturbances."
Now, until recently it seemed likely that Bush would launch a preventative
attack – or would not object to the paranoid Israelis launching a preventative
attack – against Iran's nuclear facilities, notwithstanding all facilities being
subject to a Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Such an attack before the election would probably have not been opposed by Congress,
even though it would probably have resulted in the election of John McCain.
But the increasingly dangerous situation on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border,
coupled with the vigorous Russian reaction to the invasion of South Ossetia
by American and Israeli equipped and trained troops, have apparently much reduced
the likelihood of that attack.
Okay, but now comes this One in a Century financial crisis – which McCain initially
reacted to by "suspending" his campaign – and it looks more and more
like there's nothing Bush can do that could result in McCain succeeding him.
It's a slam dunk for Obama.
What to do, Bush?
Well, why not
suspend or cancel the election, citing his existing State of Emergency powers?
Or at least suspend the inauguration of Obama – if he wins – for the duration
of the emergency?
What are you going to do – write irate letters to your representatives in The
Best Congress Money Can Buy?
By the way; if you were thinking of staging a "civil insurrection"
on the White House lawn, there's now the Third
Infantry Division, all trained, armed and ready to ruin your whole day.