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Emergencies Begat Emergencies

A few years ago I was working on a floor where a man who had suffered from a stroke a few weeks prior, was found breathing at a slower rate than normal.  He didn’t immediately respond to the nurse that was taking care of him.  Quickly, she called the emergency department and began situation the individual to move him to the front door.  In the middle of her quick actions she made a mistake and the man fell out of his bed.  Now there was a real emergency.  It turns out, the man’s baseline respiratory rate was below normal and had been documented that way.  He had no reason to go to the ER…that is until he fell out of his bed.  Sometimes our reaction to perceived emergencies turns what is within normal limits into extreme situations. 

Now, I always get a bit nervous when I find out that I agree with the ACLU, Juan Williams, or Dennis Kucinich on any given issue.  When I agree with all three, I start second guessing myself.  I’m further unnerved when I see the majority of conservative talking heads and politicians defending the President on the same given subject.  Still, that is where I find myself in regards to the execution authority of Anwar Al-Aulaqi.

Look, I get the argument from some on the right.  These are enemy combatants that we have declared war on… Only, we haven’t declared war have we?  The next slant in the defense is that we can’t really declare war on an entity that isn’t a country – this is a war on terrorism.  It is when we reach this point that I become a bit concerned.  You see, there isn’t a standard out there now that qualifies or quantifies who our enemies are because we don’t know how to define them.  Since we cannot define them, they are both everybody and nobody – two distinct groups that I find myself a part of depending on my surroundings. 

This is an issue of great concern.  We have the most powerful nation in the world carrying out covert attacks via missile strike on American citizens (albeit outside of the U.S. for now) and one elected man gets to say who is or isn’t the enemy.  Are there some confusing double-negatives in the 5th Amendment that I’m not aware of?  Where is the due process and Grand Jury?  They aren’t to be found.  Do you know why they aren’t to be found?  Because our federal government deems the assassination of these enemies (and I think we’d all agree that these people are enemies of the nation) an emergency situation. 

Apparently “emergency” is the new trump card for federal encroachments.  “Emergency” was the hot word when we passed our bailouts that gave private businesses trillions of dollars to save them from their own failures.  Where is the authority in the Constitution to perform such actions with our money?  It’s not there!  But…it’s an emergency.  Over the past decade, it seems that our federal government has been doing its business to the tune of Foreigners “Urgent”.  It was urgent that we bailout Wall Street, urgent that we pass Obamacare, urgent that we extend the debt ceiling, urgent urgent urgent…*cue sax solo*

The fact that our government has the ability to do such things under the guise of “emergent response” shows us something deeper than just their unhinged power, it is that we depend on them too much.  Whenever crises occur (or even threaten to occur) we turn directly to our government systems for their care and comfort.  Did you lose your house to a hurricane?  Turn to FEMA.  Did you lose your job?  Turn to the extended unemployment funds.  Did you become chronically ill?  Turn to Obamacare.  We’ve got a government program for every possible emergency situation out there.  The problem is, we can’t afford them and the evidence of that is in our debt and the quality of the programs. 

More importantly, when you depend so deeply on the government in emergency situations it becomes very easy for governments to take power – it requires nothing more than an emergency…or at least the fear of a possible emergency.  That is exactly where we are today.  Our elected officials simply conjure up an emergency situation and then legislate your worries away in a façade of safety.  If you question their programs then they just remind you of the doom that could befall you if they weren’t there to save you in your time of need. 

So now we’re killing U.S. citizens in the middle of the night under the banner of urgency.  It’s too urgent to use the court of law or legal system.  It’s too urgent to create legislation that defines our enemies so that we can, according to the Constitution, declare war on them.  It is too urgent to follow the rule of law, to operate under the hindering measures outlined in our founding document, to abide by the true safety net of Americans – their Constitution.  Our situation is too dire, too damning, too consequential, and too urgent to consider these obstacles and barriers.  We must give one man the power to make the decision on who lives and dies for the safety of us all…

The same man whose administration has called the Tea Party terrorists? Racists? Un-American? I know, it’s quite a stretch to believe that American citizens that gather together could be attacked by the federal government *Waco*.  It’s insane to believe that the federal government could set citizens up to be enemies of the state *Ruby Ridge*.  It’s crazy to consider the federal government capable of rounding up innocent citizens under the banner of “emergency safety” *WWI Japanese internment camps*.  I’m just saying, when we give the President unilateral power to start making this call, no matter who sits in that Oval Office seat, it is dangerous and contrary to who we are as a nation and our underlying philosophy.  If we remove our solid foundation and replace it with a safety net, we will fall through the holes and lose all that we are.

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RightHandMan

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Comments
  • Fuzzy October 3, 2011 at 2:08 AM

    Gorgeously-written post and very well-reasoned.

    Linked.
    Fuzzy recently posted..Are We Really Awake? (update: link to further discussion)My Profile

  • Steve Dennis October 3, 2011 at 5:27 AM

    It is a scary thought that the president can simply take out an American citizen like this. This was a bad man and I am glad that he is gone, but in an era where we are giving enemies caught on the battlefield constitutional rights, and in a time where Obama is doing all he can to get KSM a trial it is odd that he doesn’t feel as if an American citizen deserves constitutional protections.
    This is a bad precedent and who knows how far this could go in the future; the Tea Party have already been labeled terrorists…..
    Steve Dennis recently posted..Roseanne Barr calls for the beheading of bankersMy Profile

    • RightHandMan
      RightHandMan October 3, 2011 at 1:04 PM

      Agreed Dennis

  • John Carey October 3, 2011 at 7:30 AM

    Very well written and spot-on. Think about this…would you rush in to buying a new car or any other product because the sales person is pressuring you. If you do you’re a fool. If we can agree that it would be foolish to rush into a purchase just because of some perceived sense of urgency to do so, why would our elected representatives rush to support or pass a piece of legislation that it is advanced using the same pressure tactics. I would say they’re foolish. The problem is unlike my foolishness to purchase a product that only impacts me, their foolishness impacts everyone.
    John Carey recently posted..Emergencies Begat EmergenciesMy Profile

    • RightHandMan
      RightHandMan October 3, 2011 at 1:03 PM

      Unless you are buying a chevy volt…we all paid for those.

  • republicanmother October 3, 2011 at 7:33 AM

    Have you seen the Jake Tapper vs. Jay Carney exchange on this issue? 10 years ago, I would have sworn it was a SNL skit. Basically, Tapper asked if we were going to see the evidence that this hit was based on and Carney said no. Must see: http://youtu.be/c6bgwZGZiIo
    republicanmother recently posted..CrapitalismMy Profile

    • RightHandMan
      RightHandMan October 3, 2011 at 1:02 PM

      Watched after you linked…amazing.

  • Infidel de Manahatta October 3, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    And I thought we had a limited government. Silly me.
    Infidel de Manahatta recently posted..Redistribute!My Profile

    • RightHandMan
      RightHandMan October 3, 2011 at 1:01 PM

      If by limited you mean able to find you in a cave in a foreign country and bomb you because you have been put on the list….

  • Trestin October 3, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    Amen. We have basically given the executive power be judge jury and executioner to anyone they please. Combine that with the recent push to focus on domestic terrorism and you have the structure for a totalitarian nightmare.
    Trestin recently posted..Foreign Policy Pop Quiz AnswersMy Profile

    • RightHandMan
      RightHandMan October 3, 2011 at 1:00 PM

      You should just trust your elected officials!

  • Silverfiddle October 3, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    Congress passed a law authorizing the president to take military action against Al Qaeda:

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-107publ40/content-detail.html

    Awlaki noisily joined Al Qaeda and provided support to terrorists looking to attack America. He operated in Yemen, where Al Qaeda is attacking that government.

    We schwacked him in a military operation. Per the law cited above, he was a legitimate military target. He made his bed and he died in it.

    God Bless America
    Silverfiddle recently posted..Progressives Hate the US ConstitutionMy Profile

  • Silverfiddle October 3, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    Steve Dennis articulately voices dissent. It is indeed a black day for America if a president can order a citizen assassinated at will.

    That is not what happened. Awlaki made himself a legitimate military target by joining an organization our congress had authorized military action against.

    Had he been merely preaching anti-American hatred in Paris and we killed him, that would be wrong. But that is not what is happened. He was a self-avowed AQ combatant killed on the battlefield.
    Silverfiddle recently posted..Progressives Hate the US ConstitutionMy Profile

    • RightHandMan
      RightHandMan October 4, 2011 at 7:14 AM

      It is something for me to consider Silver. I will look into it further and work on it in my head. Something still smells wrong when we’re killing Americans who have aligned themselves with groups but haven’t actually killed anyone. Also, when the President doesn’t allow evidence to be presented to the people in regards to why individuals are on his “hit list”, I get a foul feeling. Let me process it for a while and I will get back to you. Thanks for the comment.

      • silverfiddle October 4, 2011 at 7:12 PM

        “Something still smells wrong when we’re killing Americans who have aligned themselves with groups but haven’t actually killed anyone.”

        Indeed it does. I do not discount your argument, but merely offer another legal explanation on how the president was authorized by congress to do this. It does not immediately follow that the president assassinated a citizen; there are other explanations. Their authorization (public law) made no mention of geography, citizenship or specific role one had to play in AQ in order to be subject to military action.

        Many argued that it was too open-ended, and others like Just a Conservative Girl wonder if it is even constitutional. Valid questions.

        The Bush administration failed to construct a coherent legal framework to deal with terrorism. Much was due to a lack of cooperation by democrats and European nations. So we ended up with a hodge-podge, where some terrorists are afforded Geneva Convention protections, others are simply enemy combatants, and others are indicted criminals.

        This is a legal lacuna, we need to clean it up, but it does not logically follow that this was an unconstitutional assassination with no other explanation allowed or considered.

        Great post, btw!
        silverfiddle recently posted..Fractured BankingMy Profile

  • just a conservative girl October 3, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    OK, Fiddle, are you sure that this law is constitutional? It couldn’t be that congress passes laws that aren’t is it? Obamacare comes to mind.
    just a conservative girl recently posted..Are We Going to Follow the Constitution or Not?My Profile

    • silverfiddle October 4, 2011 at 6:14 AM

      If someone were to challenge it, it could indeed be ruled unconstitutional, but I don’t know on what grounds. It’s short an simple, basically a permission slip for the president. The standard criticism since it was passed is that it is too broad, and the Bush administration was often accused of abusing it.
      silverfiddle recently posted..Fractured BankingMy Profile

      • just a conservative girl October 6, 2011 at 11:44 AM

        Oh, maybe considered unconstitutional due to the lack of due process, which is not something that we should be overlooking. Your entire premise for being behind this is based on a law that is broadly written and doesn’t give protections to US citizens. That is really scary to me.
        just a conservative girl recently posted..Steve Jobs in His Own WordsMy Profile

        • Silverfiddle October 6, 2011 at 6:00 PM

          I share your dislike of such broad, open-ended laws, but that law was passed using our constitutional procedures and as such is the law of the land until struck down.
          Silverfiddle recently posted..Got Bank Card Fees? Thank the Durban Tax!My Profile

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