Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Baseless Debate

Legal Affairs Debate Club is hosting a debate about the limits of presidential power. The premise of the debate:
Critics of the Bush Administration have attacked the president for a host of unilateral actions he has taken. The president, critics say, took the country into two wars without congressional approval, detained suspected terrorists without trials or even charges, and pulled the United States out of longstanding agreements like the Kyoto Accords.
Or, "when did you stop beating your wife?"

The debate is baseless because the answers to the critics' charges are straightforward:
  • Military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq were -- and are -- expressly authorized by Congress.
  • Terrorists (as opposed to members of the Iraqi Army) who have fought against American forces abroad merit none of the protections of the Geneva Conventions and certainly none of the protections of the Bill of Rights -- no matter what the Supreme Court says.
  • The U.S. Senate has never ratified the Kyoto Protocol and, therefore, the U.S. is not bound by it.
Perhaps the next debate should be about the greatest movie ever made. At least there would be something to debate, even if no one could win the debate.