Monday, August 27, 2007

Save the Nation General !

Because of Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev's inability to perform his duties as the president of the USSR, due to health reasons, in accordance with Article 127 of the Constitution of the USSR, the vice president of the USSR has temporarily assumed the office of acting president.
. . .The Chamber of Deputies agrees:
. . . To likewise point out that by virtue of their responsibilities, their pledge of allegiance to the Constitution and to the laws. . . it is their duty to put an immediate end to all situations herein referred to that breach the Constitution and the laws of the land with the goal of redirecting government activity toward the path of Law and ensuring the constitutional order of our Nation and the essential underpinnings of democratic coexistence among Chileans. . .
"Declaration of the Breakdown of Chile's Democracy" passed by the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, 22 August 1973: widely held to be an invitation for the military to carry out a coup d'état against left wing President Salvador Allende. The coup finally took place on 11 September 1973.
Somebody named Martin Lewis, writing in the Huffington Post, playing guardhouse lawyer, opines that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should place the President of the United States under "military arrest."

General Pace - you have the power to fulfill your responsibility to protect the troops under your command. Indeed you have an obligation to do so.

You can relieve the President of his command.

Not of his Presidency. But of his military role as Commander-In-Chief.

(bold in original)

Mr. Lewis says this is necessary, under his own reading of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, because of "current imperilment of US troops," and the President's "'Conduct Unbecoming Of An Officer And A Gentleman.'" The Huffington Post biography of this worthy contains no indication that Mr. Lewis is a lawyer, but it does mention that he was "a protégé of fabled Beatles publicist Derek Taylor" and is a "humorist" a "political commentator," a "human rights activist" and also a "noted raconteur and Bon Vivant."
Sounds like a splendid person to give General Pace advice on his legal and service obligations. Maybe we should give similar credence to President Bush's opinion of the Beatles and Hollywood parties.
Quite aside from the question of whether such a reading of the Uniform Code of Military Justice squares with Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution's designation of the President as commander in chief; just where does Mr. Lewis think we live -- Pakistan or Chile ? Mr. Lewis swears that he's not calling for a military coup, but just what else would he call placing the President in military arrest ?
I suppose this is one of those Bill Clinton definitional situations -- revolving around the meaning of "is" or something. My copy of Luttwak's Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook is still packed-up someplace, but I'm sure if we put our minds to it, we could take five minutes and find a round half-dozen coup plots since 1950 in which the plotters swore that what they were doing really wasn't a coup.
Mr. Lewis assures the general that he -- Pace -- is an "honorable, patriotic man." Somehow I suspect General Pace does not stand in need of such panegyrics from Mr. Lewis. Funny, though: if the general actually did something like this, what do you bet the Lefties would proclaim General Pace a deity -- God-Emperor of America by the next breakfast-time ? The Lefties are so crazy they'd blow up the whole world to get rid of Bush.
Going back to that biography, maybe all this is the humorist Mr. Lewis's idea of a bad joke. He should stick to being the noted raconteur at Hollywood parties.
(Hat tip: Belmont Club).
UPDATE: Mr. Lewis now says he was joking. It wasn't very funny. That would be the first joke I've ever seen quoting the Uniform Code of Military Justice or providing a list of a military officer's decorations.


hank_F_M said...

El Jefe

I did a search on Mr Lewis’s name. I think he is a theater critic.

Ignoring the constitutional problem.

He wants to charge Bush on the “General Articles”. Those things have a judicial history that only defense lawyer could love. They are a little broadly stated and without regulations providing for more detail they are unenforceable. The UCMJ follows article 134 with a large number of things that are specifically included. The JAG officers told we should not even think of using that article for anything else. Article 133 is so constrained in practice that it amounts to a platitude.

Offhand he advising Gen Pace to take action that has problems with several other articles. it at least has the appearance of incitement to Mutiny or Sedition, treason, disobeying orders, and the article that prohibits commissioned offers afrom treating elected officials disrepctfully.

El Jefe Maximo said...

These people have absolutely lost their marbles. Trying to say this is a joke?