Archive for category Pollution in war zone

The War Power, The Sergeant, the Senator: Treason or Heroism

The Sergeant who some years ago left his post in that unnecessary and unwinnable war in
Afghanistan is either a hero, a traitor, or just a terribly young man in the wrong war at the wrong time. He spent terrible years of torture and probably said things he didn’t really mean.

Some years ago in Vietnam, Senator McCain was shot down over Vietnam, another unconstitutional war, and equally unwinnable war, confessed repeatedly to things he later recanted, once safely in the United States, and is, quite rightly regarded, despite his confessions to American war crimes, a hero. The two cases are not quite completely on all fours, as we say in the law. But the similarity is sufficient to compare with each other and with the undergirding of law.

Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, who are visited by war, either their own or, like Obama, inherited from another (in Obama’s case two other) fools who preceded them, have always had this power. While not yet president, and without this act may well not have become president, Ronald Reagan communicated with Iran, telling them, in effect, just to refuse to deal with Carter on releasing our citizens from the U. S. Embassy in Iran, and await his presidency. Their deal (which killed Jimmie Carter’s hope for a second term and by the way was treason, meriting a firing squad.)

The 30, 60, 90 day notification of Congress is also unconstitutional, but not for the reasons the Republicans and Democrats alike, trumpet. Saint Paul, as I recall, said “this trumpet has an uncertain sound.” And I know he said that some leaders have “zeal without knowledge.” This is Republican and Democratic leaders on steroids, just like my former wife.

The reason the War Powers Act is unconstitutional is not what is now said by either Republicans or Democrats, as I told Joe Biden when he was both Minority Senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and when he was chair. I testified before his committee a few times, and he called me at the law school sometimes to chat about this. The reason is simple. Due to both a few but very senior Democrats and almost all Republicans, Congress forced the Demo’s to give the president 30, 60, or 90 days to play with Congress’ army while he picked his nose. War has not been officially declared since FDR did it in WW2. George Bush (the first) and Colin Powell, in my opinion, got it right, constitutionally, by voting 50-50 in the Senate, and then the Dark Lord, Vice President Cheney, broke the tie and we went to war in Iraq the right way by law; and they had the smarts to stop when their limited mission was accomplished. And until this time, the President, as Commander in Chief, has no constitutional power to use the United States armed forces, save self-defense.

In the Framers’ mind that means only when the United States of America, not our allies, are attacked. For Utahns, the reason J. Reuben Clark, my hero and a great patriot, a rock-ribbed Republican who served under many Republican presidents, served variously as chief legal adviser to the Department of State (then, as an deputy Attorney General on loan from Justice to State,,,,,,now called Legal Adviser to the State Department; and Vice Secretary of State, and Ambassador to Mexico; and advised many presidents between world wars one and two, on all arms control treaties between those to dreadful wars) opposed NATO was because it delegated the war power to a generation not yet born and for the defense of people, and nations, not yet born. Neither the United Nations (Korean War) nor NATO (Ukraine?) can declare war for the United States of America. This is the statement of law, the War Clause, that makes this beyond debate. Remember, that it is also the sole right of Congress: not the President of the United States, nor NATO, nor the United Nations, that decides what constitutes International law, as well. So, both Constitutional Law and International Law, save an attack on the United States, inform us that Congress, not the president or these international bodies, who determines for war or peace.

So screw the people and the Congress and president now living. When the president, any president, has this army to use, that army will never return to Congress’ care. This is unconstitutional because it is an illegal attempt to delegate to the President a plenary power, given exclusively, textually, to the Congress. Like the power over interstate commerce (the road by which most civil rights legislation is constitutional), along with the equal protection and due process of law clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments. It’s as if Congress were to say to Obama, “Say, friend, we’re so damned tired of life in Washington, despite the cherry blossoms, we will do what the Supreme Court does, and reconvene when good weather returns. We’re going to go to Balboa Island, California, where it’s nice and sunny, in ocean or on the beach, and pick our nose and scratch our butts. And better yet, we have one in eight chances not to pick both with the same finger. Even though we’ve proven, time out of mind, that we in Congress cannot chew gum and pick our nose, simultaneously (a great blessing). So, pres., you now have the taxing and the spending power, and we’ll sweeten the loaf by throwing into the pot, since you do have to stick around in this shitty weather, and give you the power also to fund and provide for the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. And don’t sweat it about financing things by the provision in the Constitution that spending bills begin in the House. Since you already have the taxing and spending power, do all this in the White House. P.S. please instruct the Treasury Department to deliver our checks, our salaries, and all the REALLY big bucks from the armaments industry and all those other lobbyists. We really have earned this right by selling our souls to the devil. Have a good life.

I say that both Senator and Soldier are bona fide heroes. Ed Firmage xoxox


Terrorists Bring Deadly Nuclear Weapons Material to Utah

Depleted uranium is obtained during the process of destroying nuclear weapons. Depleted uranium was used in the first Gulf War. The United States coated with depleted uranium, 1000 anti-tank artillery projectiles and the Brit’s 100. A depleted uranium missile cuts through a tank like a hot knife through butter. At the moment of impact the missile so coated turns what was a tank into thousands of shards of radioactive porcelain, which spreads over the vast sands of that sad state, virtually forever. Now, in Gulf War II, the numbers are hugely greater. Iraqi and now Afghanistan’s people are literally, cooked. Young Iraqi and Afghan women, in their sandals, trudging though the sands, will die terrible deaths. Their children, those who live, may well be born with savage birth defects. Afghan and Iraqi peoples will suffer through endless centuries for our wars of aggression. Birth defects in Fallujah have already increased ten fold.

In simpler times, a state would declare war and thereafter the war would end. Now, we make wars upon whole nations though a very small number of combatants are our supposed enemies. These the macabre gifts that keep on giving for hundreds of years, thousands of years, and in the case of depleted uranium, for millions of years. We are, in effect, making wars that will never end. Thousands of years from now, we will still be slaughtering people in these two wars of choice gifted us by two presidents named George Bush.

Now our leaders want us to accept millions of tons of depleted uranium here in Utah. Depleted uranium is in fact already here. Much more is on the way. We are now being told that foreign waste will be on the way too. And we find that the state of Utah has no real choice in this matter. Our two Senators from Energy Solutions, Hatch and Bennett, protect their money spigot by lamenting that our cause is just but they can do nothing for us, pointing to Utah politicians. Police power, that is, the power and the obligation to protect our health and well-being, does reside here and the Governor should stop all trains with depleted uranium and demand that the train turn right around and go back where this deadly poison came from. But real power is with Hatch and Bennett. The Commerce Power of Congress will trump anything the state can do to preclude entry of this most toxic of poisons. These two villains are bought and paid by Energy Solutions. One of our congressmen has been a paid employee of Energy/Solutions. Hatch and Bennett are the only people who have the law…the Commerce Clause…by which all these issues will be judged and determined.

If Osama Bin Laden and his henchmen had planned this idea of bringing nuclear material into our country’s innards he would be captured and imprisoned. Just how do the owners and all who profit by destroying our land, water, and all life forms, and the politicians who make this atrocity possible, stay out of jail when quite obviously they are among the most successful terrorists in our history?

Ed Firmage
Salt Lake City, Utah



How Bush Supports the Troops – Balad Air Base Burn Pit

Is this any way to support our troops?

The SL Trib has an article about the toxic conditions caused by the burn pit at Balad Air Base in Iraq. It’s a familiar theme to read about a high rate of illnesses among soldiers returning from war zones. Some of these issues have been blamed on exposure to such things as depleted uranium. Who knows what soldiers are being exposed to in Balad. Apparently, the military knows, but won’t reveal the information as it could “damage national security”.

Military officials insist there’s no problem.

But veterans’ advocates are calling for full transparency about the health risks faced by service members who have been stationed at the largest U.S. air base in Iraq, where one inspector called an open-air burn pit “the worst environmental site I have ever personally visited.” . .

. . . the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine is refusing to make the document public, saying that the information it contains “would damage our national security.”[snip]

. . .burn pits are used to get rid of garbage — including weapons, chemicals, plastics, and even amputated limbs. [snip]

. . . a memo penned by Hill Air Force Base officer Darrin Curtis, who served in Balad in 2006 and 2007 and called the burn pit — and it’s distinctive black smoke plume — an “acute health hazard.” In his memo, Curtis cited the 2006 site assessment, including the quote from the unidentified inspector.

According to the memo, that inspector claimed he had never seen anything worse than the situation in Balad, in a decade of reviewing toxic waste issues.

Now that report has been classified. And Col. Thomas Logan, who commands the center, refuses to say why. Logan declined to be interviewed by The Salt Lake Tribune. A spokeswoman only repeated that information in the report could damage national security if it were made public.

According to the Curtis memo, that [exposure] might include dozens of toxins, including arsenic, formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide. [snip]

Troy Whittaker, president of the Utah Society for Respiratory Care, said the toxins listed in the Curtis memo might have a “broad range of effects,” including respiratory hyperactivity, cancer, liver disease and pulmonary fibrosis. “

I apologize for excerpting so much from the article. There is just so much that needs to be said about this. Author Karen Kwiatkowski writes about the. . .

larger toxicity problem created by the American government in both Iraq and Afghanistan. [snip] Balad . . . produces, among other things, 250 tons of waste per day. That’s over 90,000 tons of waste per year. . . Today, three “green” incinerators exist at Balad. But to date, the majority of waste is still burned in the open pit. It’s only news today because some apparently unpatriotic American servicemen have been complaining about possible health effects of living downwind from the burn plume.

Just Google the Balad Air Base burn pit to find a great deal more about this problem at Balad.

We Utahns, home of downwinders, are well aware of our government’s willingness to lie while putting people’s health at risk. American soldiers deserve to know the truth. As do the Iraqi people living near Balad as well.

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