Bush Pushes Military To Revolt… Or Not. Yoo, Bush, Cheney Seek To Cripple JAG

The Judge Advocate General corps – military lawyers, serving in uniform – may well be one of the last hopes for the United States to avoid a headlong tumble into fascism.

George Bush has now targeted the JAG.  He has proposed a regulation that would bring the JAG under the control of political appointees, giving the appointees final say over the promotion of JAG officers.

Any JAG officer giving legal advice stating that a White House policy is illegal would be looking at the end of his career.

It was the JAGs who told the Bush Administration that Bush did not have the right to bypass the Geneva Conventions “and other legal protections for wartime detainees.”

Retired Major General Thomas Romig, the Army’s top JAG from 2001 to 2005, called the proposal an attempt “to control the military JAGs” by sending a message that if they want to be promoted, they should be “team players” who “bow to their political masters on legal advice.”

It “would certainly have a chilling effect on the JAGs’ advice to commanders,” Romig said. “The implication is clear: without [the administration’s] approval the officer will not be promoted.”

And further on:

Stephen Saltzburg, a George Washington University law professor who is also general counsel to the National Institute of Military Justice, agreed that the regulation boils down to giving political appointees the power to veto JAG promotions.

“The message would be clear to every JAG, which is that when you have been told that the general counsel has a view on the law, any time you dare disagree with it, don’t expect a promotion,” Saltzburg said, adding “I don’t think that would be in the best interest of the country. We’ve seen how important it can be to have the JAGs give their honest opinions when you look at the debates on interrogation techniques and the like.”

The new regulations are being pushed by John Yoo, probably best described as a morally defective lawyer, who wrote several of the legal opinions supporting Bush’s power to ignore the Geneva Conventions and anti-torture laws. Yoo is in league with William Haynes, appointed by Bush as General Counsel at the Pentagon. Haynes, in that position, would be able to veto the promotion of any JAG officer.

“It only makes sense to put this in if you want [general counsels to exercise the power to give] thumbs up or thumbs down, in order to intimidate JAGs,” said retired Colonel Gordon Wilder, who was the Air Force’s top JAG specialist in administrative law until last January.

Like most of the attempts to undermine the Constitution and American liberty, this one emanates like a slimy tentacle from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office.

In the early 1990s, both Haynes and Vice President Cheney’s top aide, David Addington, were politically appointed lawyers in the Pentagon during the Bush-Quayle administration. On their advice, Cheney proposed making each service’s general counsel the boss of his JAG counterpart, but the Senate Armed Services Committee forced the administration to back down.

In 2001, Haynes and Addington were restored to power in the Bush-Cheney administration, and the conflict over JAG independence resumed amid the fights over such war on terrorism policies as harsh interrogations.

Responding to the conflicts, in 2004 Congress enacted a law forbidding Defense Department employees from interfering with the ability of JAGs to “give independent legal advice” directly to military leaders. But when President Bush signed the law, he issued a signing statement decreeing that the legal opinions of his political appointees would still “bind” the JAGs.

Can there be any clearer picture of the legal, moral, and ethical depravity of George Bush, Dick Cheney, and their crew of thugs? These people have infested the government like a plague of termites chewing at the foundations of freedom and democracy. And they should be treated accordingly.

If the military of the United States allows this regulation they might as well start setting up controls and checkpoints in American cities, because at that point United States military forces will have ceased to be an instrument of democracy and become instead the main force of fascism, not only in this country, but in the world.


2 Responses

  1. These roaches are going to be as hard to get rid of as the real ones.


  2. I’m not at all surprised by this. I’m sure you know that Bush & Co. will never be impeached (Pelosi guaranteed that). Right now, they’re probably doing everything possible to hide their tracks in order to forestall the hassle of being indicted after they leave office. They’ll probably get away with it too.

    The thing that amazes me is that Bush & Co. have gotten bolder since the Dems took over Congress. What’s up with that?

    It could be the case that the Democrats who, based on headcount, should “control,” the debates, legislation, etc., proposed by Congress have headless and spineless leaders. Consequently, they can’t bring themselves to do anything except whine about how unfairly Bush & Co. play. It’s utterly sickening that the Republicans control the agenda even when they don’t have a majority, any committee chairs, etc. The current Dem Congress critters, at least the leaders, are, for the most part, losers.

    Another possibility is that the Dems are letting Bush & Co. show their true colors in all their ugliness, in the hopes that Americans will reject the Republicans by an overwhelming margin next fall. That’s a risky gambit, to say the least, particularly in the light of the fact that the Repugs are far better political operators than the Dems are.

    Long and short of it: we’re stuck with Bush & Co. for another year.


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