Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Chertoff on Iraq

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff made a comment at a congressional hearing today that may be correct, but not in the way he meant. He made a comment about the time that it takes to plan actions (referring to the time they took to act on Huricane Katrina. Chertoff commented that the military took a "couple of years" to prepare for the war in Iraq.

We are told that the Iraq war was in response for the attack by a bunch of Middle Eastern (but non-Iraq) terrorists on 9/11. However, the air strikes on Baghdad started on March 20, 2003, less than a couple of years after 9/11.

Many have suspected that George Bush planned to attack Iraq before 9/11, but just needed an excuse. Did Chertoff let a secret slip our, or did he simply not remember the exact timeline? I think the latter is probably true. However, it is notable that the head of the government agency that seriously failed to keep the homeland secure (Chertoff was "Brownies" boss) may have made a correct statement only by accident.

Chertoff appeared before the House Select Committee on Hurricane Katrina today, and told them that the nations disaster relief system was overwhelmed by Katrina.

Still More Harriet Miers

So now we know, from the questionnaire she filled out in 1989, that Harriet Miers would support a constitutional amendment to ban abortions. That isn’t a surprise, considering what is known about her beliefs.

The question for Ms. Miers is how her personal beliefs affect her judgment on constitutional issues. As a conservative, she should believe in judicial restraint and in not allowing her personal beliefs interfere with her interpretations of the constitution and law.

Miers supported this principle in her written statement to the Senate: "'Judicial activism' can occur when a judge ignores the principles of precedent and stare decisis. Humility and self-restraint require the judiciary to adhere to its limited role and recognize that where applicable precedent exists, courts are not free to ignore it. Mere disagreement with a result is insufficient to justify ignoring applicable precedent, but reconsideration under appropriate circumstances is also necessary."

Referring to her service on the Dallas City Council in which she voted to urge the adoption of a flag discretion amendment, Miers wrote "There was a vast difference between our vote as a policy matter to prevent the desecration of the American flag, and the job of the courts (including the Supreme Court) to rule whether such an ordinance was constitutional."

We will have to wait and see whether Ms. Miers follows the true conservative viewpoint that judges only interpret the constitution and statutes, or, like such activists as Scalia and Thomas, she is willing to interject her personal beliefs into the judicial process.