logo PRE-ORDER NOW

« An Idea I Have for a Car | Main | Looking for a Volunteer to Occasionally Help Me With My Blog »

June 01, 2008

Treason?

I have a second job. Regular readers to this blog know that this second job is playing poker at the fantastic Commerce Casino in the great city of Los Angeles (“fantastic” and “great,” of course, both being highly subjective terms). While in Los Angeles for the month, I have been spending inordinate amounts of time at my second job. Last night, I got into a conversation with a fellow at my table, a man notable for his friendly demeanor, beady eyes, and ability to drink fourteen Bud Lights without pause. He was also a conservative.

Like most gay-seeming Jewish showbiz types, I place myself firmly on the opposite side of the political spectrum than this, although I certainly hold many conservative positions (which I will not get into now because they are irrelevant to the body of this post, but one of which is that I think we should go back to the gold standard because gold is pretty). As we were talking, though, I found myself saying, “I think you could strong case that George W. Bush is guilty of treason.” He disagreed.

And then I kind of doubted it myself. I remember thinking, “That sounds kind of extreme, even from a pinko lefty like me.” But then I thought, “Could I?” meaning could I make that argument? I decided to try because, among other reasons, I am going to play Rock Band with my friend David Wain in about an hour and I had some time kill.

Keep in mind I am an actor and a comedian, not a lawyer. Not only do I have no legal training, I have never even played a lawyer, although on the TV show “Ed,” my character Phil worked for a lawyer who owned a bowling alley. That is about as close to legal training as I have ever come. Even so, I will attempt to make my case.

Because treason is such a loaded word, I decided to do something that I find utterly loathsome in writing, which is to inject a dictionary definition into my prose. I do this because, if I am going to make the case for treason against the president, it seems like I have to define the term in a way that everybody can see. For this, I choose the most trusted source on language, the built-in dictionary that came with my Mac.

This is an abridged definition, but it serves my purposes.

Treason: noun (also high treason)
the crime of betraying one's country, esp. by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government: they were convicted of treason.

I believe the president’s most sacred duty is that of commander-in-chief (followed closely by master of ceremonies at the annual White House Easter egg hunt). As commander-in-chief, it is the president’s responsibility to choose when and if to send our soldiers into harm’s way.

I understand that Congress has the responsibility of declaring war, which they essentially ceded to the president with the H.J. Res 114 “The Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002,” which was probably not such a great idea. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Congress passing this act? Not a great idea at all.

For this of you unclear as to what this act was – it gave the president the authorization to use force against Iraq when and if he saw fit. As it turns out, he saw fit.

Why did he see fit?

The reason we were given at the time, as all of you know, was that Iraq was a grave and imminent threat to the United States. After all, we’re the USA. We don’t just go invading other countries willy-nilly without there being a reason, do we? Apparently we do.

Or I should say, the true reason was never given. If you ask, as I do, people why we went into Iraq, nobody really knows. Was it weapons of mass destruction? Was it oil? Was it establishing a beachhead for Middle Eastern democracy other than Israel? Why did we invade? It seems to me if you are going to war, the Commander in Chief should have a pretty compelling reason. Historically, nations leading offensive campaigns define their reasons for doing so defensively, which is what we did.

For the year or so leading up to the war, various administration officials paraded in front of television cameras attempting to gin up fear for a country that had never expressed any intention of attacking the United States. They were, however, lumped in with an organization that did: Al Qaeda. Repeatedly, the administration attempted to establish linkage between the government of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. In fact, this linkage (which didn’t exist) was referred to in the bill authorizing force:

Within the body of the Joint Resolution we read (among many other things, all of which begin with the word “Whereas,” which in my opinion sounds very fancy.)

“Whereas members of al Qaeda, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 are known to be in Iraq.”

Let me just point out – not true.

And:

“Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war on terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding requested by the President to take the necessary actions international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations.”

Of course, al Qaeda was never based in Iraq, and none of the hijackers who flew the planes on September 11 were from Iraq. They were mostly from Saudi Arabia, which to my knowledge, we have not attacked. 

And also:

“Whereas the President and Congress are determined to continue to take all appropriate actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations.”

All of these passages explicitly link al Qaeda to Iraq, a tie that has been disproved. Incidentally, for those of you who think “Al Qaeda in Iraq” is the same thing as al Qaeda – it’s not. It was created after the invasion, and did not exist beforehand. Unfortunately, its creators could not think of a more creative name. For the record, when I create my terrorist organization I’m going to call it “The Kimbo Slice All-Star Freakout Terrorists and Ragtime Band.” We will probably not have an actual ragtime band in the organization just as al Qaeda in Iraq is not (or at least was not) actually part of Bin Laden’s al Qaeda.

Why is it important that these false passages were included in the Joint Resolution? Again, to give us defensive cover for invading a nation that had never threatened to invade us.

The other means of doing this was, of course, the weapons of mass destruction. There’s no need to recount this debate, but to remind readers who may still be wearing protective chemical suits and cowering behind duct tape covered doors and window sills, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found. The president can say whatever he wants about the intelligence he was given in the run-up to the war regarding Saddam Hussein’s stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons (not to mention the famous mushroom cloud that National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice warned us would be blooming over American cities if we didn’t do something about Iraq RIGHT NOW!!!), but the fact is there was conflicting intelligence about this matter, and there were also United Nations weapons inspectors in country at the time looking for those same weapons. Not surprisingly, they didn’t find any. Why? Because they didn’t exist.

In other words, the two main reasons we were given for going to war, linkage to al Qaeda and Saddam’s stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction were both false. False. Another word for a falsehood is a lie. The nation was lied to about why the United States was going to invade a sovereign nation. In my mind, when somebody lies to me, I feel betrayed.

When you lie to a nation, and that lie results in the deaths of over four thousand Americans, the wounding of tens of thousands more, the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars, and utter calamity caused to Iraq, the Middle East, and the reputation of the United States, I would say that the lie rises to the level of betraying one’s country, which as we’ve seen by my built-in dictionary, is the definition of treason.

George Bush and his cronies, for whatever reason, betrayed this country when they set in motion a plan to make war on Iraq. This was an aggressive, unnecessary war that defied everything I believe this nation to stand for. Whether or not we ultimately emerge “victorious” is irrelevant. When a nation invades another nation, there better be a damned good reason. Over five years after the fact, we are still waiting for that reason.

I am not advocating impeachment or bringing the man up on charges or anything else because I think such actions would be counterproductive and would probably greatly affect future airings of “Desperate Housewives” for network coverage of the proceedings. I’m just pointing out that one could make the argument that George W. Bush committed treason.

Now, as I said, I’m not a lawyer. Did not major in political science. Visited Washington once, but mostly hung out at Hooters when I was there. So I know that I am not the most qualified person to take on this subject, but I do know that my president betrayed his country, and one of the reasons I am such a staunch patriot is that I have the right to post my feelings of betrayal on my blog, which is usually reserved for observations about the Hulk and half-baked attempts at erotic fiction. And it is to both of those that I now return. 

I also want to point out that I wrote this in about twenty minutes. You shouldn’t be able to make a case for treason against the president in twenty minutes while waiting to play a video game at your buddy’s house.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00e54edada5e883300e5529648df8833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Treason?:

» Lipitor vertigo. from Lipitor dangers.
Lipitor negative side effects. Lipitor 40 mg. [Read More]

» Lipitor and pvcs. from Lipitor side effects.
Lipitor. [Read More]

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Senor Ding Dong

My favorite part was when you were going to play the video game

me again

Wow. This blog is heading in an entirely different direction, and I have to say I really like it. A lot of people probably won't, but I think you've grown accustomed (addicted?) to hate mail.

ps.- Can I pleeeeease come play Rock Band??? If you don't respond, I'll just assume it's because you're afraid I'll kick your ass.

Jillian

Thank you Mr. Black. That might be the clearest anyone has ever told it to me.

I agree- impeachment SHOULD be done but at this point? It would distract from the real issues and waste a LOT of time, money and media coverage.

Maybe he should be arrested instead. Or... what is it they do to people who commit treason?
Oh yeah....

dyre

what instrument do you usually play on Rock Band?

Camille

You sure enjoy throwing out tasty tidbits of your whereabouts,dontcha? When I read "loaded word" I immediately thought of loaded potato skins and hastily skimmed the rest of the blog.
If anyone can build a case against anyone in 20 minutes, it's you.

SK

what limits are you playing? would love to come say hi.

Therese

I recall some people here in the UK trying to take a class action suit against the Blair government for similar crimes.

And Mr Blair has found religion since he stepped down from the Leadership. He's gone all Catholic on our asses. That to me says guilty conscience and a deep seated fear that his ass is gonna burn when he dies.

As much as I love your 'half baked' erotic fiction, blogs like this are an absolute treat.

KM

The drums are always the primo instrument of choice when playing Rock Band. I imagine you as the mellow jazz drummer in sunglasses sort of drummer.

Also- a falsehood is not necessarily a lie. One would have to prove that the administration knew the falsehoods were, in fact, falsehoods, but went ahead with them anyway.

Clearly one can make the argument that, at the time, they knew the intelligence was shaky, and that is arguably enough to prove they are incompetent douche nozzles. But the lying part would take a bit more.

Also- what is Major Quimby's official military opinion on the matter?

some person

I recall an NPR interview with "Three Kings" director David O. Russell (I know, maybe not a reliable source) regarding a conversation he had with George W. Bush, when George W. was Governor of Texas. The conversation centered around the displaced Iraqi refugees from the first Gulf War. GWB's response was that they'd just have to go back over there and finish the job. (I'm paraphrasing, and may therefore not be a reliable source)

What this tells me is that Bush had in his mind, pre-Presidency, the goal of returning to Iraq. 9/11 (never forget) was the opportunity to do so. Propaganda and fear mongering paved the way (with foul intentions).

Now, even as a Bush detractor, I had hoped there was a potential humanitarian aim for this war. Freeing oppressed peoples. I never bought into the WMD line, or the al Qaeda connection, but thought (wished) perhaps these were just tactics and approaches to garner support from our ignorant war-hungry masses. Oil was the more likely sub-cause. Haliburton won the contracts. Deviousness confirmed.

If our government had selfless world interest in mind, Darfur might be a priority. The UN might've been on our side. Freedom Fries could've remained Frenchified.

And don't forget, Saddam tried to kill his daddy.

I suck at Rock Band. I like to call it Iraq Band, though. We all put on turbans and long beards and hide in a cave (in Afghanistan) and plot our world domination tour. Ay yi yi yi yi (I think that's Mexican).

Reen

Agreed, agreed, agreed.

This administration will go down as one of the worst in history.

Re: Bush committing treason, I agree, but you know they'll just find some Oliver North-like-patsy to take the fall for him.

Of course the reason for the absence of bombing in Saudi Arabia is due to the relation $ oil(OPEC)$ ship between the Bushes and Saudis. They had their eyes on Iraq all along. It was just a matter of spoon-feeding the lazy, half-comatose, Fox viewing American majority a hefty dose of bullshit, fear and "patriotism".

Thanks for using your podium to clarify the situation for so many.

Jaime

A falsehood I think is necessarily a lie when the falsehood is sold as absolute truth without reason. You can always back out of something by saying, "Well, it's not my fault it was shaky info," but it is your fault if you know it is shaky, but you sell it as solid. That is a lie.

When my students drum up totally ridiculous theories that defy logic using thirty year old sources, wikipedia, and People magazine, I say, you are telling your readers you've done the research and can be trusted. "Believe what I am saying. You can trust me. I did research!" But you cannot be trusted. You are lying. Treason!

Also -- I want to play! I can score 97% on expert with the mic in Rock Band. Eh?? Need a front woman? I'll be there in 5!

Ryalye

Oh what's the big deal? Just a couple of white lies here and there, no harm done. Wait...

Ralph

I am glad you have posted such knowledge. I don't read or research politics, so when I try to talk about such matters at parties, your blog will be the only info I will be referencing.

AmbroseKalifornia

Great blog, Michael. I love that you don't feel like you have to be "on" all the time, and that you just say what you think. And you're totally right. You SHOULDN'T be able to make a case for treason against the president in twenty minutes while waiting to play a video game at your buddy’s house.

I guess war profiteering isn't the crime it used to be.

Great title by the way.

Reen

Good morning Michael.

Big news last night, yes? Dare I anticipate a lil sumpthin-sumpthin in regards to Baracks nomination? (Oh great. I went ahead and typed the ever perverted sounding statement: "sumthin-sumthin").

See, I feel as if you can do some more good from behind the information desk there. (If you're so inclined). For instance, I received an email from an old friend in regards to another old friend who used to be the smart, pretty, popular, head (I said "head") cheerleader of our High School many MANY moons ago. What happened to her, I'll never know, but, she is sure that scary man, Barack Obama, will lead the country to galluping ruin. She's fearful of his "socialist" ways and his "racist" wife. So I have a 3rd friend (believe it or not) who is an Obama supporter (and a reader of your blog) who wrote me this; and I quote because it gave me the giggles this morning: "Yes, well everyone can't be as intelligent and sane as us...there has to be some assholes in the world. Tell your friend to tell your other friend that when Barack is elected he's gonna elect Sadam Hussein as his Chief of Homeland Security. Tell her to put that in her pom-pon and shake them until she passes out. One asshole down billions more to go".

tee hee.

Lookie here!

Breaking News:
Articles of Impeachment Being Introduced in Congress Right Now

Right now, Monday night, Rep. Dennis Kucinich is on the floor of the House of Representatives introducing articles of impeachment against George W. Bush. He is presenting a 35 count indictment which is being broadcast on C-Span. We will provide a more detailed update, but wanted to be sure to let everyone know right away.

The intense work of the ImpeachBush.org/VoteToImpeach membership is forcing impeachment on the table. During ImpeachBush.org's National Call In Day for Impeachment held just one week ago, the offices of Rep. John Conyers were flooded with calls demanding impeachment. We have received reports that there were more calls than could even be answered.

And something else in this mornings mail

Our campaign for accountability for the Bush administration is making legitimate progress.

I am pleased to announce to you that the House Judiciary Committee has met my public call for Scott McClellan's immediate testimony with action:

Today, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers officially invited Mr. McClellan to testify under oath on Friday, June 20th at 10AM.

After all of our hard work pushing for impeachment hearings for Vice President Cheney – the McClellan hearing provides our cause with a legitimate opportunity to showcase the crimes and violations of this Administration for the American people, the mainstream media, reluctant members of the Democratic party, and sensible Republicans. This hearing provides us our first genuine opportunity to enter the public consciousness and change the dynamics that have prevented true accountability for Bush and Cheney.

Mr. McClellan was a major figure in the Valerie Plame/CIA scandal, as well as a leading propagandist for the Bush White House's deliberate attempts to hide the true costs of this war from the American public. As such, Mr. McClellan will testify under oath (and be subject to perjury charges should he lie) and be asked about the following matters:


What role did President Bush, Vice President Cheney , and key administration officials take in the effort to reveal the identity of covert CIA agent Valeria Plame Wilson – thus destroying her network and putting lives in jeopardy?

What role did President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and key administration officials take regarding the firing of U.S. Attorneys or political reasons?

What role did President Bush, Vice President Cheney, key administration officials take in conspiring to blatantly break U.S. and International laws prohibiting the use of torture?
I call on Mr. McClellen to immediately accept this invitation and testify under oath as he previously agreed to while being interviewed on national television.

During the hearing I will have roughly five short minutes to question Mr. McClellan and undercover the illegalities committed by this Administration – which is why it is critically important that every representative on the Judiciary Committee hears your voice. Please let them know that you demand answers to these questions.

Nor should it stop there: Karl Rove has thumbed his nose to the Judiciary Committee's subpoena – joining Harriet Miers, Joshua Bolten and Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff David Addington as the only Administration officials in history to claim Congress has no power to even bring them before a committee to be questioned.

I have called for Karl Rove to be held in inherent contempt and for the other renegade officials to appear as required by their subpoenas, or be forced to do so by the House Sergeant of Arms.

What the Judiciary's request of McClellan proves is that if we stay vigilant – if we call loudly and repeatedly for accountability - that we become very difficult to ignore.

Please stay tuned. I hope for more developments soon.

With great respect,

Congressman Robert Wexler

Air Jordan 4

KOKO....TELL ME WHY...ANYTHING BUT A MISTAKE....

Dr Dre Beats

It is very necessary to the beginning of the warm-up, my suggestion is to pop music, or small-scale chamber music and so, do not come up can not wait to listen to their favorite rock and heavy metal, or the volume is turned up to a lot of listening to, such as Symphony of Destiny a class of large-scale classical music.

Moreover, regardless of headphones in what state is the so-called pot headphones or listen to, my advice is do not leave their ears, the ears to appreciate him a little bit of subtle changes and progress.

The comments to this entry are closed.