Monday, August 27, 2007

HuffPo Calls for Coup de Etat

I missed this when it happend, but thank goodness Glenn Reynolds and Captain Ed Morrissey did not. A left-wing bloger called Martin Lewis wrote an entry calling for the United States military Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to arrest George W. Bush. Lewis's main point was apparently that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have the power to remove the President from his command. Lewis wrote,
General Pace - you have the power to fulfill your responsibility to protect the troops under your command. Indeed you have an obligation to do so.

You can relieve the President of his command.

Not of his Presidency. But of his military role as Commander-In-Chief.

You simply invoke the Uniform Code Of Military Justice.

The United States Code: Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47, Subchapter X, Section 934.

Article 134 reads:

"Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special, or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court."

It appears that Mr. Lewis somehow believes that the Uniform Code of Military Justice (something that would have applied to Massachusetts Senator John Kerry's antics in the Winter Soldier fiasco) somehow allow the JCS to arrest a sitting United Sates President. Further, he is calling for what amounts to a military coup de etat. Possibly he is unfamiliar with Section II, Article 2 of the United States Constitution, which clearly states
The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

Captain Ed Morrissey's response to Lewis' ignorance and mind-boggling calls for coup is worth quoting, as he wrote,
Lewis quotes extensively from the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but clearly his scholarship does not extend to the Constitution. The command of the armed forces follows from the president's election to office, and cannot be separated from the office itself. Bush isn't C-in-C because he got appointed to that position, but because the American electorate voted him into that role. In other words, the military cannot arrest the C-in-C but leave the President in power, and to argue otherwise is to demonstrate complete ignorance.

Secondly, the President does not serve at the pleasure of the Joint Chiefs -- and indeed, the military is subservient to the civilian command structure. They do not have arrest authority over the President -- nor over anyone else in the US other than military personnel, as the Posse Comitatus Act stipulates. Civilian oversight keeps the military from seizing power and is a long and vital tradition in this nation. It's what keeps us from becoming a banana republic, run by military strongmen.

Quite correct. What Lewis called for is no more and no less than the abandonment of the principles that cause the United States to be far above the so-called "republics" ike Hugo Chavez' Venezuela or Fidel Castro's Cuba- countries where the executive is uneleceted and kept in poweer only by the threat of the army (or the secret police in the case of Chavez). The United States has a long tradition of civilian preeminence over the military- as eveidenced by the firing of Douglas macArthur. And this tradition goes back further than Ledwis might think. The fledgling United States first met that threat when George Washington helped squash a plot of his officers to become king. Washington's actions set the civilian oversight and control of the military into stone, and yet Lewis would have us go the way of the banana republic, where the elected government is merely the thrall of the army, as Republican Rome eventually became when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon.

I guess the Left is not only ignorant of the United States military but has a more than passing ignorance of the bedrock laws of this country. Or maybe they truly believe that laws are made to be broken unless they suit the Left's political ends. No matter what the thoughts that guided the writer of this scurrilous piece, they should be anathema to most Americans- no matter what their political persuasion. Otherwise, we are doomed to the same fate that eventually met ancient Rome. And I can't think that Lewis and his left-leaning allies would like that.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

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