A random sampling of the stupid.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

How to prevent lawlessness

The Washington Post reports:

"A crucial yet overlooked deadline looms over the Iraq debate: Unless further action is taken, the war will become illegal on Jan. 1, 2009. ...
The most recent U.N. resolution expires on Dec. 31, and the administration has announced that it will not seek one for 2009. Instead, it is now negotiating a bilateral agreement with the Iraqi government to replace the U.N. mandate."

This is an interesting point, which I was unaware of. Much more interesting is the authors solution:

"There's a simple solution to all these problems: Extend the U.N. mandate for 2009. That would put the use of U.S. armed forces on firm international and domestic legal footing. And it would allow the next president and Congress time to consider the future in a deliberate way.

Reps. William Delahunt (D-Mass.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) have proposed legislation to do just that. This initiative deserves bipartisan support. It represents the only practical way to confront the lawless unilateralism that the administration plans for New Year's Day."

This was a bit of a curveball. The logical progression appears to be as follows:

1. The U.S. occupation of Iraq becomes illegal Jan. 1, 2009.

2. The U.S. occupation won't actually have ended by then [implied, and I don't think anyone will argue that this is true].

3. We must change the law to make the occupation legal.

Classic government. Most other institutions are in a rather awkward situation when they break the rules; they actually have to face consequences. The government can, and according to the Post should, just changes the rules to fit whatever they decide to do at the moment.

Also, if your problem is "lawless unilateralism", pre-emptively making legal the action which was to be lawlessly and unilaterally imposed doesn't actually solve anything. You might just as well solve all crime by abolishing laws.

Pretty dumb, but the main problem the article is concerned with is the president exercising authority which he doesn't technically have, not the consequences of that authority. Sort of like a piano teacher telling their young student not to do drugs. Not a bad thing to do, just outside their authority.

On the error scale, I'd give it a 7.

No comments: