Tuesday, June 8, 2010

So Apt

This is taken from Talking Points Memo by reader SG:
One of the characteristics of privilege is that people without privilege are expected to constantly account for themselves. An African-American in a prestigious job faces accusations of "you're not really qualified; you were just hired to make a quota". A woman who is a victim of sexual assault has to convince others--sometimes, even the police--that she didn't "deserve" what she got. Gay men and lesbians advocating marriage equality have to present an image of perfect loving eternally pair-bonded couples. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ignorance is No Defense

Re: Lt. Col. Driscoll's ruling on admissible evidence for Lt. Col. Lakin's Article 32 hearing:

President Obama does not have to show his (hospital) birth certificate. He has not committed any crime. Accusations are not evidence. Suspicion is not proof.

The Courts Martial of the US military have no authority to compel the POTUS to do anything. They can't make Obama do anything. Even if they could somehow compel the POTUS to testify, this would effectively convict Obama for a crime there is no proof he committed--directly contravening the Constitution. President Obama is not the accused: LTC Lakin is the accused.

Side note: It's fascinating to see all these Birthers, who staunchly insist they are protecting the Constitution, demanding all the judges throughout the land ignore the Constitution to force Obama to show proof he is an American citizen--when there is no evidence at all he isn't.

As LTC Driscoll noted, the POTUS never gave LTC Lakin any order. The orders to go to Iraq were issued by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In point of fact, his orders to go to Iraq were probably issued by his Headquarters. Odds are LTC Lakin knows this, since he went to officer's school where the difference between organizational authority and direct authority were explained to him. I know it was explained to me when I went through Air Force basic training as a slick-sleeve.

All of the people from Hawaii requested to be compelled to give evidence have no bearing on LTC Lakins refusal to obey orders. They were not there when he refused to get on the plane, they were not involved in his decision. Again, accusations are not evidence, suspicion is not proof. LTC Driscoll asked LTC Lakin's defense team to give him reasons, with citations ("scholarly"), to compel such testimony; none were given.

Even if the Witnesses from Hawaii were somehow compelled to attend and testify, they still can't reveal anything about Obama's birth records. To do so would force the witnesses to break the law. And no court, civil or military is going to make a witness break any laws by violating Obama's privacy. The POTUS is not the accused.

There also seems to be some confusion--or willful ignorance--between President Obama and the office of the POTUS. Barack Obama is occupying an office; he is an elected official. The office of President maintains and confers the authority, not the person. The final authority for this Article 32 hearing is derived from the Consitution and the UCMJ, not from Barack Obama or whoever holds the office of POTUS.

LTC Lakin has willingly--even eagerly--put his foot right into a bear-trap. I cannot believe his is so ignorant as not to understand the differences in organizational and direct authority, chain of command, the source of his orders, and the limited jurisdiction of a military court martial. To believe such means he must have slept through all of his classes in officer school. And I do know officers have to pass written tests for their promotions, and he must have passed them because he's a Lt. Colonel in the Army.

It would be better to believe LTC Lakins is simply pig-ignorant. Otherwise we see a crafty and cunning opportunist, who has willingly sacrificed his honor, his career, his compatriots--and his country--for the sake of some immediate gain. I would not be surprised, once this preliminary hearing is over, if LTC Lakin is given the opportunity to resign his commission rather than face a General Court Martial. I hope for his sake he takes the offer.