It is possible that Jeremy Scahill’s book Dirty Wars is the most important book to hit Washington D.C. since Uncle Toms Cabin. I haven’t talked to anyone in Washington in the past month who hasn’t been reading it, talking about it, thinking about it, etc. There are a lot of people in Congress, of both parties, who have been deeply influenced by the book, and its implications. One of the interesting legal questions being raised by Congressman who were not in Congress in 2001 is whether their predecessors, absent a constitutional amendment, could authorized a permanent state of war without basic congressional oversight, binding on the Congress forever. While programs like Social Security clearly don’t sunset, war declarations do when the circumstances giving rise to war are over and, by many calculations, the post 9/11 war ended on the day when bin Laden died. That is the subject of intense debate right now, and I give Scahill full credit for the fact that Obama rushed to the microphone on Thursday and began to back peddle on the Global War on Terror. Proof positive that a healthy journalistic community is a valid check on executive abuse.
But declaring a rollback, even partial, of the War on Terror, doesn’t cure war crimes and high crimes and misdemeanors already committed. Increasingly, folk in Washington are referring to these crimes by the page numbers of Scahill’s book. By way of example, you hear of 424Gate. Page 424 includes tells “the curious case of Raymond Davis,” an apparent private contractor arrested in Pakistan for murder. The chapter details the efforts of the Obama Administration to get Davis out of Pakistan and to avoid a trial, and it contains all of the elements of the high crimes and misdemeanors that should lead to Obama’s impeachment–violations of the sovereignty of Pakistan, interference with and manipulation of the American media in reporting the story, interference in the domestic criminal justice system of Pakistan, murder, mayhem, deceit and fraud. On page 424, Scahill narrates how the Obama Administration sent then-Senator John Kerry to Pakistan to lie for the administration. He writes that John Kerry trotted out the falsehood that Davis was a diplomat, noting that “it is highly doubtful that John Kerry believed that Davis was an ‘administrative, technical employee of the embassy…” At least one Washington insider has posited that Kerry, who was likely to be the next Secretary of State, was sent on this mission to “make his bones,” to prove to Obama that he was willing to lie to the world as an audition for his future job, and that he was subsequently rewarded for his efforts. Of course, the incident also reflects on the Benghazi episode, as it makes clear the extent to which Obama has converted our embassies to military outposts, thereby making our diplomats legitimate military targets. There is a huge difference between attacks on our diplomatic missions overseas in the Bush years (which were clearly terrorist attacks) and the attack on the consulate in Libya (which had become a legitimate military target) As a constitutional professor, this is clearly understood by Obama. What happened in Libya is not surprising when you know that the Obama Administration was acting in violation of dozens of treaties and laws that protect our diplomats. But the story also demonstrates the degree to which the American media has become untrustworthy as a conveyor of truth about the war on terror. 424Gate ties together all of the Obama sleaze–failure to protect diplomats, targeting internal enemies and manipulating the media, not to mention cover up and deceit, all make their appearance in this one curious episode.
424Gate encapsulates all the worst abuses of the Obama Administration, and provides the ideal blueprint not only for the impeachment of this president, but also the need for criminal process against Obama–if not here than in the Hague.