An open letter to Representatives McKeon, Rogers, Ros-Lehtinen, Smith and King

>> Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dear Jackasses,

I know, I know--I'm already getting off on the wrong foot. Somewhere lying around I have an old college dictionary with an appendix that includes the proper forms of address for various officials and dignitaries; I'm too lazy to grab for it at the moment, but I am ninety-seven, maybe even ninety-eight percent certain that "Dear Jackasses" is not actually the proper way to address a member of the United States House Of Representatives. In my defense, I can only say that it seems pretty obvious to me that the five of you are, in fact, jackasses first and foremost and members of Congress secondly or perhaps even further down the line than that.

Dear Jackasses,

I have just read in the news that the five of you, Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon, Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, have signed a letter expressing your concern over President Obama's "lack of a comprehensive detention system to incapacitate and interrogate terrorists captured outside of Afghanistan." You're a bunch of jackasses, aren't you? I'm sorry--let me rephrase that: you're a bunch of jackasses, aren't you. (What a difference punctuation makes.)

It isn't that you're wrong about the present administration lacking a comprehensive system for dealing with alleged terrorists captured, well, just about anywhere that isn't American soil. Oh no, actually, you're absolutely correct about that, and I share your concern. It would be wonderful if all of these captured alleged terrorists could be put on trial somewhere--the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, for instance, which was the locus for the most devastating terrorist attack on American soil in our history and, conveniently, has extensive experience dealing with the prosecution of organized crime and criminal psychopaths, two categories that happen to overlap nicely on a Venn diagram with your usual terrorist suspect. It would be wonderful, but for the fact that a certain branch of government has passed laws making it nigh-impossible for the President to transfer and try terror suspects practically anywhere.

Indeed, the President did, in fact, give some pretty clear indications of what his vision for dealing with terror suspects was when he signed an order to close the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay. Unfortunately, that order has never gone fully into effect because Congress continues to pass legislation that prohibits the President from using any Federal money to actually try some of these people unless he can come up with a rationale for using military tribunals, notwithstanding the fact that military tribunals may not have jurisdiction in all cases and are widely considered improper for some detainees, regardless. Indeed, a rider to prevent the President from closing Guantánamo was part of the deal to avert a governmental shutdown this past April.

I will grant you that the obstruction has been bipartisan, with Democrats, especially in the Senate, being part of the problem. But as far as I know, those Democrats aren't writing the President letters to complain that he isn't doing what they won't let him do. I mean, that you won't fund trials for these people is, I suppose, your prerogative, and it makes you all sorts of terrible things (e.g. cowards), but it doesn't quite make you a bunch of jackasses; what makes you a bunch of damn, braying, ridiculous jackasses is the way you're trying to blame the President for not doing things that it would, quite literally, take the proverbial act of Congress to accomplish--and you people are Congress.

Of course there's a lack of consistency, of course there's a lack of a coordinated, focused effort: the President and his Attorney General were pretty damn clear on how they wanted to handle things and you people said "nuh-uh." And it isn't like your lot passed legislation that would, in fact, create a consistent and effective framework for handling the mess created by the previous administration. I mean, you could totally do that: Article I, section 8, paragraph 9 vests Congress with the power "To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court": i.e. you could totally establish The Official Federal Court For The District Of Railroading Terror Detainees pretty much any time you wanted to, and don't tell me you couldn't get the votes to pass the thing into law, because, let's face it, the Democrats are a bunch of total dinks on this issue. You could appoint a horse to preside over the hearing and appoint a goddamn baboon to represent the accused, and make it a procedural rule that any acquittal would trigger an automatic do-over; you could make it a bloody gameshow and allow the networks to bid on who would get to air Mr. Accused Terror Suspect spinning a big-ass wheel like the one on The Price Is Right to see whether he'd be dropped in a shark tank or fired into the sun. (I am being a bit facetious re: pesky Fifth and Eighth Amendment issues, but the serious points stand: Congress can create courts inferior to the Supreme Court whenever the hell they want, presumably including a court to try terror suspects, natch.)

I have no idea whether this bit of idiocy from you jackasses is the product of shameless pandering to the ignoramuses who have hijacked the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, or whether it's the product of the lot of you being a bunch of morons. Gods know, I have no idea which is worse, and the realization that they aren't actually mutually exclusive--that you could actually be both, that you could be a lot of pandering morons--honestly makes me wish I were French: their public figures aren't any brighter and most of them apparently belong on some kind of sex offender registry, but at least the French compensate by baking some pretty damn good bread and of course they're noted for their wines; I could get fat and drunk until I forgot it was even possible for anyone holding the public trust to behave as stupidly and shamelessly as you people are over a problem that you not only helped create in the first place but that you can also solve pretty much any time you decide representing the American people is more important than whatever corrupt moronic agenda you pinheads are presently pursuing.

This sort of thing is an embarrassment to your country and office. Please stop.





Sincerely,
R. Eric VanNewkirk
Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant Midgets





3 comments:

Steve Buchheit Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 8:46:00 AM EDT  

Eric, you really expected them to not only read the Constitution, but expect them to understand the words? Obviously you haven't taken a Freshman level college course in some time.

Nathan Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 8:57:00 AM EDT  

I know very little about 4 of those guys, but I do believe you can make some generalizations about people based on the company they keep. Peter King is consistently a knee-jerk, scare-mongering, reactionary blowhole. Nothing that's happened in the last couple of years has made me alter my opinions about how venue should be decided in cases of terrorism and I can't imagine Rep. King having any influence on my thought process.

And, not to change the subject, but since this is an "Open Letter" on SOTSGM, does that mean Congress has made you a "once in a lifetime" money-making opportunity? If they spelled everything right, I'd question its validity.

vince Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 10:42:00 PM EDT  

These people give new meaning to the word "stupidity."

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