“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Transnational Progressivism

Writing at National Review On-Line, Andrew McCarthy (who must have been reading the Elephant Bar) picks up on our recent theme that Hamdan v Rumsfeld had morphed from an issue about what is an appropriate military tribunal into the old issue of torture and the rights of a detainee. Having a better mind than most of us, he takes a the issue a step farther and looks at the impact on our national sovereignty. Little by little, its seems we are being bound, not by our own laws but by international laws and treaties.

To be sure, the Supreme Court was wrong in finding that CA3 was pertinent at all, even on the narrow issue of military commissions. By its own terms, CA3 relates only to civil wars, not international conflicts like the global war against jihadists. In addition, the Geneva Conventions themselves provide that alleged treaty violations are to be resolved diplomatically, not by litigation. Treaties are not for cherry-picking. If the Court was going to import any of Geneva into the UCMJ, there was no principled reason to ignore that the treaty’s enforcement mechanisms are not judicial. But even assuming, for argument’s sake, that it was appropriate to resort to CA3 in judging whether terrorist trials satisfied UCMJ standards, that would still not justify resort to CA3 for all purposes of terrorist treatment.

There is only one line of logic supporting claims that Hamdan’s invocation of CA3 bears on interrogation standards. And it is an exceedingly dangerous one. It is the conclusion that CA3 rights can be claimed by alien terrorists not because of the UCMJ but due to CA3’s own force under international law.

This is the dream of the internationalist movement the Hudson Institute’s invaluable John Fonte calls transnational progressivism: That because the Constitution makes treaties the supreme law of the land, all terms of a human-rights treaty must be deemed to have the full force of law; that treaty “rights” may be vindicated judicially by individual claimants against any country, including the United States, which has signed the treaty.
The CFR Grooms Future Leaders of North America

Over at Observanda, Tiger picks up on an alarming article in World Net Daily about students from 10 universities in the US, Canada and Mexico attending a mock Parliament which was held in the Mexican Senate in May. Quietly, we are being moved to a new, super nation comprising Mexico, Canada and the United States. Of course, the Council on Foreign Relations is in the middle of all this.

Free trade; all for it. Competing in global markets; all for it. Joining the new super country of "North America." I don't think so....


  1. Like Justice Souter? He was one of "ours", as was Mr Kennedy.

    The issue is not the individual Justices but the power they have been allowed to usurp.

    Next Session the nuclear option will be off the table, for Senate Republicans.

  2. I wish I had that much influence, rufus, but allowing or disallowing the Dems control of the US Senate is well beyond MY limited capabilities.

    Congress has devalued itself, over the past 60 years. The people have encouraged it, by sending the incumbents back, almost every time.

  3. This is not the first time the US has faced terrorism:

    Global Kamikaze Movement

  4. It's not the "liberals", whit, it's the Federals. Those unelected employees that wield Executive power. In AZ they are exemplified by the Forest Service and the BLM. Supported by at least one AZ Senator (McCain) these branches of Federal power knowingly break Federal Law often and at will.

  5. Having addressed on numerous other occasions the UN's lack of vitality in today's world I will proceed to my point.
    The UN lacks vitality in today's world. It as well as the Geneva Conventions and attached Protocols are specific for STATES, NATION STATES. There are no provisions for supra-atavistic tribes and non state organizations.
    This was heavily debated when Yasser Arafat became the first non nation-state person to address the UN as a formal representative of the PLO. Naturally the third world countries voted against the US and his address went forward.
    Now we find the mission creep of transnationals to attach overweening conventions and protocols to the US Constitution.
    It is bad enough that laws passed by the two branches of government,Legislative and Executive, can be via judicial review declared a nullity by five judges of a putative coequal branch of government. This in essence makes law by judicial fiat not representative democracy.
    I cry foul on both.

    Geneva Conventions

  6. Hey,hey..Buddy check out the BLUE shit....thx, my cherry is all over the floor.

  7. Agreed, habu, but the Congress could rein in the Courts, but it refuses. It is a Republican Congress.
    But there is little desire for those career Govermentals to rock the feed trough.

  8. Transnational Progressivism (TNP) or Global Oligohegemonic Patriarchy (GOP), choose your poison.


  9. Kirk Sowell, writing at Threatswatch describes the current political situation in Iraq. The word count is commenserate to the subject

  10. DR,
    I agree. Plus it would be considered a revolutionary act since Marbury vs. Madison Madison vs. Marbury is taught in every Constitutional Law School class in the country. Usually on day one.
    Judicial review has since 1803 been heavily debated and is now considered sacrosanct. It is however a destroyer of the theory of three coequal branches of government.

  11. "... All across America, mammoth construction projects are preparing to launch. The NAFTA Super Highway is on a fast track and it's headed your way. If you don't help derail it, you may soon be run over by it - both figuratively and literally.

    The NAFTA Super Highway is a venture unlike any previous highway construction project. It is actually a daisy chain of dozens of corridors and coordinated projects that are expected to stretch out for several decades, cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and end up radically reconfiguring not only the physical landscape of these United States, but our political and economic landscapes as well. ..."

    Highway to Hell?

    "Coming Through!
    The NAFTA Super Highway"

  12. habu said:

    Judicial review has since 1803 been heavily debated and is now considered sacrosanct. It is however a destroyer of the theory of three coequal branches of government.

    Well remember, the Constitution says, "The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour".

    In other words, naughty judges get Impeached.

  13. Do not hold your breath waiting for the next impeachment hearing for a biased Federal Judge in the House.

    You'd turn blue and die.

  14. Ms T,
    Good point. The point DR made is the heart of the matter however because the Constitution only established the Supreme Court. It did not even define the number of judges on the court.
    Congress is the authority that establishes all lower courts and has the power to eliminate them also, thus returning to one Court, the Supreme Court.
    There are a number of things Congress could do but will not, for, as I said before, one or both parties would scream "revolution" and the man/lady/person on the street would probably be so confounded as to see it as a bastardization of the Constitution instead of one of the built in checks and balances

  15. DR,
    Your ThreatWatch piece was very instructive and well worth the time.
    One of the most frequently used words, and fittingly so, was factions.
    This was a great concern during the establishment of our Nation and was addressed most eloquently by Federalist #10 authored by James Madison writing under the name Publius.
    I cannot stress enough how important this section of the Federalist Papers is to understanding factions and their influence. It provides unbelieveable insight.

    Federalist No. 10

  16. redaktør
    I understand your point of basically national nullity of an international law should it conflict with national sovereignty.
    The conundrum is how to balance the two on the big blue marble.
    I have advocated a return to treaties and protocols between indvidual nations. It is clear to me that the UN is sclerotic and on life support. It needs a DNR executed (pun fully intended).
    The League of Nations finally fractured with the rise of the Axis Powers and WWII. The UN has been failing for decades and needs the needle.

  17. For a synopsis of the past week's Elephant Bar discourse, go read wretchard's latest post.

    Love being ahead of the curve.

    A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.

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  19. Christopher Hitchens

    Playing It Safe
    The fatuous politics of compromise

  20. DR
    Wretchards latest post is our military "factions" kerfuffle.

    Here the President should step in and provide the definitive direction. He may not be an expert on military matters but the experts don't agree and he has let the discord go on far too long.
    It has now become a topic that had and has an answer in the strong Chief Executive, but that executive ostensibly is AWOL on his Commander in Chief duties.
    Whereas a meal cannot be consumed in one bite, the remake of a superpower's defence should not be undertaken in the middle of a worldwide breakout of non state terrorist and state sponsored terrorist operations.
    It does not appear our SECDEF has the insight to pivot when necessary.

  21. Wretchard has up an excellent thread.

    One fine day

    “The Army, with an active-duty force of 504,000, has been stretched by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.”

    “[A] $2-billion cut from previous guidelines. The cuts would grow to $7 billion a year after six years…”

  22. Looks like I'm behind. Thanks habu and DR.

    Oh, 2164th and Whit are doing an outstanding job of keeping this site ahead of the rest.

  23. DR,
    I have been a reader of Christopher Hitchens for decades, usually disagreeing when he was a mad Marxists. But by his admission 9-11 was a moment that changed his life too.
    He now produces, with the same cadence and delivery the message we here at the EB get out daily. The choices are vibrantly illuminated and a victory is the only fuel that will secure freedoms future light.
    Churchill said upon Baldwins death
    ""Embalm, cremate and bury," he replied, "take no chances."

  24. DR,
    Earlier you got that Forrest Service and BLM thing nailed.

    I have two sides of my Oro y Plata in Montana bordering BLM.

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  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  27. The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;
    the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.
    Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
    --George Bernard Shaw

  28. Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
    --George Bernard Shaw

  29. Imperial Farce:

    Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s front-pager in yesterday’s Washington Post, about how Jim O’Beirne allegedly hired Bush loyalists over experts to staff the Iraqi occupation, was a hit piece, pure and simple: thinly sourced, fantastic in parts, and propagandistic. Note, for instance, the photo accompanying the story.

    It shows two “U.S. troops” relaxing in a swimming pool in the Green Zone, where, according to the caption, “many Coalition Provisional Authority officials spent their days.” (In the pool?) This has nothing at all to do with Chandrasekaran’s thesis—O’Beirne, even on the reporter’s account, was in charge of political appointees, not the R&R of troops.

    Imperial Farce

  30. CDR John J. Klein, USN via

    Space Power

    “Principles are unchanging, independent of the kind of weapons, of historical time and of place.”___ Baron Antoine-Henri de Jomini; fn 23

  31. Allen,
    Good to see you quoting Jomini. A great military mind.


    Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them.
    Immanuel Kant

  32. C/o Austin Bay:

    Beretta Backers Beat Down the .45 Revival

    “The Administration needs to publish a declassified version of the NIE. If the NY Times spun the story the paper’s spin deserves to be exposed. If it didn’t, we need to know that, too.”___Austin Bay

  33. Allen
    Very,very bad decision on keeping the 9mm over the .45,. In CQC there is no better weapon than the 1911A1 for stopping the enemy cold, real cold

  34. redaktør; 12:32:02 AM

    re: Here’s a question for your Major General

    The sworn testimony of two Major Generals and a Colonel to the Congress yesterday was self-explanatory: too few troops with too few specific skill sets and inadequate equipment directed by incompetent civilian leadership. Any number of recent publications by former administration functionaries make many of the same complaints, e.g. the total absence of a post war occupation plan in the face of a blatantly aggressive, intact, undefeated opposition.

    At the moment, the interests of both the Kurds and the US government mesh. Moreover, the Kurds did not see America as an invader; instead, the invasion was seen as liberation. If the US follows historic form and the Kurds are abandoned when their usefulness ends, the congenial relationship may end violently.

    In the words of one of the aforementioned officers, “There is no substitute for victory.” Jomini, quoted earlier, would have seconded that observation with, “Principles are unchanging, independent of the kind of weapons, of historical time and of place.” For those content with current force levels, funding, leadership, and the novel concept of a "Long War", both observations may appear clichéd.

  35. Coffee, tea, or Ahmed?

    Some of us civilians still remember how a group of American trained foreign pilots wrecked havoc on 9/11. It appears that after five years some within the Federal bureaucracy did not get a heads-up, despite hundreds of billions spent for homeland security, at a time when the Armed Forces are starved for cash.

    Dozens of Foreign Pilots Training Illegally at US Flight Schools
    “An internal Homeland Security document obtained by ABC News, says the post 9-11 program to prevent terrorists from entering US flight schools has been marked by ‘confusion and misinterpretations.’”
    “In a July, 2006 memo, the TSA complains the program has been flawed because other agencies, including the Department of State, have provided "conflicting and ambiguous" information about whether applicants had valid visas for flight training.”
    “The result, according to officials involved in the program, is that "dozens" of foreign nationals have been able to receive pilot training and FAA licenses without full background checks.”
    “In a handful of other cases, according to officials, foreign nationals have been able to enroll in flight schools and receive pilot training without any TSA approval.”
    “The 9-11 hijackers attended 17 different American flight schools to train as pilots, according to another document obtained by ABC News.”
    TSA Memorandum of 21 July 2006

  36. More on air transport and homeland security:

    Glenn Reynolds, taking his lead from Strategy Page, writes, “Have the terrorists scored a victory?”

    Not Flying the Unfriendly Skies

  37. rufus; 8:08:40 AM

    re: He's getting ready to run for office as a Dem in 08'.

    Does that make his analysis incorrect? What about the other officers?

    Because the Democrats put on a show trial yesterday does not render the testimony false or inaccurate.

  38. redaktør; 12:01:32 PM

    re: the US can lay waste to the whole of Iraq with 1 mechanized regiment

    You are a civilian not employed by the DoD, I hope.

    A regiment, indeed!