Sunday, February 4, 2007
Getting Back To The Constitution
Hillary Clinton made headlines yesterday by declaring at the DNC Winter Meeting, "If we in Congress don't end this war before January 2009, as President, I will." Forceful, categoric, and obviously aimed to pre-empt criticism of her vote for the Iraq War resolution back in 2002.
All fine and good. What I'd like to see, though, is a Statement of Common Principles committing all the Democratic candidates, if elected, to return the executive branch to the limits of Consitutional authority. What would it look like? Well, for starters, I'd include the following:
- An immediate closing of GITMO.
- The right to trial in open court for all GWOT detainees.
- The categorical repudiation of torture, including inhumane treatment, for interrogation practices.
- The repudiation of extraordinary rendition for all GWOT detainees.
- The repudiation of all forms of domestic warrantless surveillance.
- The repudiation of elective war as an arm of US foreign policy.
- The return to executive transparency by limiting national security classification to a strict minimum.
As terrible a humanitarian and policy disaster as it's been, the Iraq War is in many ways only a symptom of the Bush administration's assault on the separation of powers as laid out in the Constitution. And as much as anything else, the Democratic candidates need to make it clear that they're committed to remedying that.