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Profiles in US Presidential Violations of Justice – Introduction (Part 2 of 11)

July 4, 2011

>>INTRODUCTION<<

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The White House Southside

The White House Southside (Photo credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks)

“Democracy…while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy.     Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”  – John Adams  (1735 – 1826)

“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people”.  – John F Kennedy (1917 – 1963)

“I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions”.                                           – Barack Obama (1961 –   )

In addition to the first chapter the following comments are justified as part of a broader introduction.

The circles of Washington are  mysterious , dark and deep,  and each President has to balance wisely before he sleeps, – balance wisely before he sleeps.

Robert Frost  with his quote:  “The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, – and miles to go before I sleep…”, – phrased it slightly differently.

However, – despite the promises  the balance of how far one can go and except degrees of injustice to meet  perhaps more justice eventually, proved different for each US President. Sometimes it takes an inch,  sometimes it takes indeed miles.  However in general much depends on the integrity, the ideology and the wisdom of  the US President, besides obviously the circumstances  to be addressed, – but also the persons being nominated (or already in place) to advise the President on matters of both domestic and foreign policy.

Many issues as we know evolve in close coöperation with a variety of advisers, apart from e.g. Agencies such as  the FBI, the CIA and  the Pentagon.  Those Agencies in good  hands  serve for certain the right purpose as long as they stick to their original assignments.

“Profiles in Presidential violations of Justice”  does  not discuss the current US President ( Barack Obama)  as such as he still is at an early stage of his Presidency.  The article “Interim assessment of a President” (within this Blog)  gives a more detailed indication on this remarkable first African American President.

Presidential dynamics have not been always the same in US history and the selection of people in key positions of the Pentagon and the CIA  (after President Truman established the CIA in 1947) are and will be  always vital where it comes to both competence and integrity within the scope of the various obligations of those Agencies, – especially where US Presidents rely on the intelligence provided by those Agencies.

“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” does neither go into the finer details on the lives of some US Presidents in the past,  nor does it mention the broader legacy in any extended detail.

“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice”  is a reflection only on some significant incidents against the principles of justice, some worse than others. However what those Presidents did at crucial moments during their Presidency against this justice, sometimes already before entering this office,  has been a touchstone of their character. Not rarely it did effect far too many people.

Any new President at the start is facing the challenge to set up a cabinet of capable, effective and reliable people. Besides this there is the  building up of relationships with the various existing Government agencies including the Pentagon, which are all vital to set the tone for the rest of the Administration in the years lying ahead.  All those people and groups contribute to the making of a President but obviously the Presidency itself  provides the required choices to show what lies ahead. Those final choices give directions, –  either being in the positive or in the negative. Once an US President get compromised it is difficult at times to get out of it, depending on the strength of character.  John F Kennedy took e.g. the full blame of the Bay of Pigs failures which was however related with poorly provided information by the CIA.  Presidential failures still, whether they are genuine or deliberate, provide valuable lessons for the future. Deliberate actions to mislead the public with a criminal background or intend are obviously far more serious than the genuine mistakes anybody can make in such a place, as long there is evidence that  some quality ways to reach certain decisions were in place.

“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” gives an insight in the complexities and different dynamics of various Presidential Administrations and the choices being made. It starts  from the 22nd of November 1963 (when President John F Kennedy was assassinated) until the 21st of January 2009 when the last Bush Administration  ended and the Obama Administration did begin.

The greater call for all Presidents was to do better for the country and serve as such, besides obviously personal ambitions. Those last 2 aspects might have been different for each President. The ways and the programs have been different as well. Likewise the level of integrity has been different for earlier Presidents being faced with the bigger questions and the larger  picture,  which did include  the Presidential coöperation with various US security Agencies and the dealings with both US Congress and US law. It proves that whatever is public knowledge is not always the truth, and that some Presidents were in principle and by principle compromised already before they took the Presidential oath to the Constitution.

Some US Presidents  did contribute towards a program for domestic reforms whilst at the same time approving various CIA covert operations at a level neither in line with morality nor US law.

Both the Pentagon and the CIA have the duty to protect the interests of the US and make recommendations  to the President, who has the final responsibility of decision-making.

Both Agencies have admirable people on board with the highest levels of integrity and duty of service where it comes to the protection of the US against dangers from abroad, – whether those dangers are inflicted by eg Al-Qaeda terrorist cells at present, or dangers of so-called rogue states who may prove an increasing danger in the future. The past showed  however under various Presidents that those Agencies were not governed (anymore) by some reasonable required standards of morality, or accuracy in providing intelligence or security information.  Neither did it prove that the Presidential powers as they were exercised were in line with the required standards given by US Law and Constitution.

“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice”  gives at least an insight where and how those standards with some Presidents failed, and it gives  an insight why they  failed and which areas of systems might be subject for further improvement.

Dangerous situations may arise when Government Agencies are not operating under the full control of the US President, or when e.g. the nominated persons being CIA Director or chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not have full control of both  “the culture” and working dynamics of their own organisations, or when they simply hide information for the purpose of their own agenda’s. The system fails as well when those Agencies (the FBI included)  have an Organisational agenda neither being in alignment within the Constitutional balance of powers, nor with US law.

History proves that there have been incidents in which US Presidents acted on proper and correct information of those Agencies, however history proves as well that if the US President would have acted on the intelligence provided, – the world would not have existed anymore as due to failures to give complete information as required. The Cuba crisis in 1962 is a clear example of this.

The Assassination of US President John F. Kennedy in 1963 did show many years later CIA involvement,  including  involvement at the highest US political powers in the cover up. All for various dark reasons and both – needless to say – against the Constitution and the US law.  The public was seriously misled by the Warren Commission and some do show  that the “9/11 Commission” was of similar nature with the intend to mislead US citizens. The people supposed to protect the Constitution and the law at the time,  were reportedly involved in various cover up’s at the highest levels of Government, – which is neither a good reflection of a democracy nor the justice systems being supposed to be fully operational without discrimination of any nature.

History does further show that US Presidents already compromised before they even started their Presidency, were unlikely to resist the pressures from above Agencies.  For this reason they did collaborate  in close coöperation with some of those Agencies at times the independent view and the wisdom of the President was required to make final decisions. The lack of required integrity did involve certain activities neither known by the public, nor by Congress, – and obviously profoundly against US law or common justice.

In the most positive scenario, “Profiles in US Presidential violations of justice” may support further discussion to improve the regulation systems within “the US balance of powers”. The last actually to protect the US against itself.  If those systems do not improve, some  historical events being reflected on  would be able to  repeat itself with an unpredictable and different identity.  Those situations could potentially provoke  the most dangerous situations the US as a Republic and Democracy could face.

US Presidents may fail for various reasons, as long as the detection systems (including the internal checks within the Constitutional balance of powers) do not fail, and as long it is clear that neither US Presidents, nor the CIA,   neither Officials of the Pentagon nor any other Agency, are able to work outside the powers of the law, or the Constitution, or outside the legitimate requirements of  US  Congress.

US Presidents (with full Congressional support) need  to be strong enough to rule the major background powers in the US, –  based on fair common sense and proper value systems with evidently both the broader picture in mind, together with a high level of integrity.

Within the context of those earlier Presidential dynamics including a variety of covert operations for different reasons, it is realistic to say that never ever had the US so much to lose or so much to gain, and that all decisions within the US Constitution delegated to the Executive branch should be based on merit and purpose for the US future itself.  Hence the political system in the US needs to work optimal in line with the principles provided by both the law and the Constitution.

With the fall of communism but still an ongoing Arab – Israeli conflict;  with wars in Vietnam and Iraq behind us, but still the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban as part of the war in Afghanistan (where the “war on terror” designed to defend Western values escalated into a conflict with disregard for human rights), – we now may face a reality that China may overtake the US as the world’s greatest superpower. Where the Holocaust did show  genocide at a never experienced scale,  the cold war brought us close to global nuclear destruction in 1962 through incomplete management and advise of both the CIA and the Pentagon against the dangers inflicted by the Soviets. It was wise management however of John F. Kennedy as President which saved the world due to his independent and broader views. The US needs internal protection that a history of military confrontation for the wrong reasons, is not going to compromise a  future for the right reasons.

The US has a history of many costly wars which brought the federal budget deficit at record level without any proportionate benefit, however never took it the time and the opportunity to reëxamine its own attitude and responsibility in the many predicaments it both faced and created.

It takes the wider community of US Government Executives and Controlling powers to raise the US above the standards of the past, and to embrace both the opportunities and challenges of the future with a wise balance of principle centred leadership where proper value systems are at the core of the decisions being made. The last to ease a direction towards more positive global dynamics, based on fruitful interdependence with in the end a better economy and prosperity for those nations being involved. This direction includes reduction of terror activities by at least not provoking this terror within the domain of US power.

“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice”  gets at the heart of this required principle centred leadership –  with examples where it went wrong against both the Constitution and the law.

Each Presidential profile offers material for sustained discussion as it does touch base on the fundamental question which direction to go in a world facing more dangers than ever before. The response on problems, crisis and disasters is as important as those pending disasters, crisis and problems itself and it will be clear that US response in e.g.areas of  foreign policy has been highly inadequate and dangerous at times.

The following 8 chapters will picture the problems and foundations of the decision-making US Presidents differently and the last epilogue will summarise some events.

Next article will start with Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President who took over after the assassination of President John F Kennedy.

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Written by Paul Wolf 
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About Paul:

Paul Wolf is connected on LinkedIn. For more information about him see Google: Paul Alexander Wolf – Physician, FRACGP, DFFP

If interested in more articles feel free to look into the “Archives” on the upper right page below. If interested in more “Recent Posts” look at the above part of the right side of this page at the top.

Feel free to leave a comment!

Profiles In US Presidential Violations of Justice – Front page (Part 1 of 11) on July 5, 2011

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