Wednesday, January 23, 2008

William Pfaff: "A coup d’etat has taken place ... not as an act of law defiance, but by faithful execution of their duty as required by law."

Image: Salvador Dali, Premonition of Civil War

William Pfaff: "A coup d’etat has taken place ... not as an act of law defiance, but by faithful execution of their duty as required by law."

Here is an excerpt from an important and provocative piece written by the distinguished William Pfaff, whose column has appeared in the International Herald Tribune for many years.

In it, Pfaff articulates a theme that Words of Power has explored over the past several years, i.e., the widespread revolt of professionals within the US military, intelligence, law enforcement and diplomatic communities. (See "Some Related Posts" below for context.)

I commend Pfaff's column to you with one caveat, he refers to the revolt of the professionals as a coup, indeed it is a counter-coup; a coup had already occurred. (See Hard Rain Journal 9-28-07: Ellsberg Says It, "A Coup Has Occurred.") -- Richard Power

It is widely felt that what amounts to a coup d’etat has taken place in the United States, removing George Bush, without his even recognizing this (or at least admitting that it has occurred) from control over the principal issues of war and peace.
This coup has taken the form of what amounts to a mutiny of the professional foreign policy services of the U.S. government, acquiesced in by the new Secretary of Defense, the service chiefs, and Director of Central Intelligence Bush has himself appointed.
It was specifically carried out by the 16 recognized intelligence services in the American government, not as an act of law defiance, but by faithful execution of their duty as required by law, which is to form a common judgement, free from partisan pressure or interest, on matters vital to the nation.
The National Intelligence Estimate made known December 3, after an elaborate civilian and military interagency consultation, carefully walled off from interference by the politically partisan figures in the Bush administration, was presented as a fait accompli to the White House, the press and the nation as a whole. Its finding was that the claims made by the White House and others that Iran was actively developing nuclear weapons were untrue, contradicted by the consensus judgement of all the American government’s intelligence agencies.
Implicit in this was a threat. This threat was that the main military service chiefs and their Department of Defense superiors would not act on a presidential order to attack Iran. This decision would not take the form of direct and insubordinate refusal of orders. It would be a refusal by the military and their chiefs to act on such an order until Congress had been informed and consulted, and had performed its constitutional duty to give formal legislative consent to acts of war.
The pathetic and pusillanimous refusal of recent American Congresses – and we are not simply speaking about the Congress now in office, but of practically every Congress since the beginning of the cold war – to fulfill their constitutiuonal responsibilities with respect to the declaration and financing of wars, has now generated its own rebuke from within the executive branch of government. ...
I am perhaps taking a romantic and unjustified view of what has happened. I hope not. I believe that only grave malfeasance in government and unconstitutional conduct justify an executive ‘coup d’etat’ – however ‘postmodern’ the form that it assumes, and however elevated its motives.
However I would suggest that the present election campaign demonstrates that powerful forces in the Washington political and foreign policy communities, reinforced by financial and industrial interests, are committed to suppressing all challenge to policies that already have altered the political character of the United States. The American form of government itself needs to be defended.

William Pfaff, The Coup d'Etat against Bush, International Herald Tribune, 1-18-08

Some Related Posts

Hard Rain Journal: The NIE and Its Implications for the 2008 Election and the Fate of the Republic

There is Treason in High Places -- Joe Wilson & Valerie Plame Ask, Where is the "Contempt & Anger"?

Hard Rain Journal: "NIE on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgment"

Larry Johnson, Valerie Plame & 22 Others Sign Letter from Intelligence, Military, Diplomatic, & Law Enforcement Professionals

Hard Rain Journal 7-3-07: Joe Wilson -- "The commutation of (Libby's) sentence in and of itself is participation in obstruction of justice."

Hard Rain Journal 4-24-07: DoJ Scandal Primer -- Your Guide to the Long Hot Summer; RFK, Jr. and Mike Papantonio Break It Down on Air America

Hard Rain Journal 9-27-06: The Republic Strikes Back!

Words of Power #18: 48 Hours -- What Happens When Military and Intel Officers Must Challenge Political Leaders to Uphold the Rule of Law

Words of Power #16: Lt. Gen. Newbold Bears Witness, Sy Hersh Sounds the Alarm & Patrick Fitzgerald Raises the Stakes

Words of Power #8: Odom and Wilkerson Bear Witness

For an archive of Words of Power posts on 9/11, Terrorism, etc., click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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