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Democracy's Great, Except When It's Not

From Joshua Micah Marshall's Talking Points Memo:

[Deputy Secretary of Defense] Paul D. Wolfowitz said something extraordinary, and deeply controversial, on Turkish television ten days ago. He essentially said that bringing democracy to Iraq was so important that the Bush administration wished the Turkish military had subverted Turkish democracy to achieve it. I explain the details in my new column in The Hill.
From the column referenced above:
Last week, Wolfowitz gave an interview to CNN-Turk, a joint venture of CNN and a Turkish media conglomerate. When asked about the future of U.S.-Turkish relations, Wolfowitz said that if Turkey wanted to get back into America's good graces, the Turks would have to admit they were wrong to deny the U.S. permission to use their territory as a staging ground for invading Iraq and, in essence, apologize.

That’s a rough demand for a fellow democracy and a longtime ally. But what raised the ire of many Turks was another of Wolfowitz's statements: the Bush administration, he said, was disappointed that the Turkish military "did not play the strong leadership role on that issue [i.e., the Iraq debate] that we would have expected."

Outside the context of Turkish politics, that statement might seem obscure or insignificant. But in Turkey the meaning seemed painfully clear: The United States wished the Turkish military had either overruled the elected government or perhaps even pushed it aside in favor of one more subservient to U.S. demands.

As numerous Turkish commentators have noted, that's an odd stance for a country now presenting itself as the champion of Middle Eastern democracy. But it's particularly ill-conceived at the present moment in Turkish political history...

There's nothing special about saying you want democracy. The real question is whether you still want democracies -- full-fledged, multi-party, rule-of-law democracies --- even when they disagree with you. If the U.S. is serious about spreading democracy in the Middle East, that’s a question we'll have to confront again and again. Paul Wolfowitz's comments leave his answer to that question in serious doubt.

In other words, democracy is great, except when democracy leads another nation to disagree with us or thwart our goals, in which case we're all in favor of autocracy.

I wish I could say that this surprised me, but it didn't. Nothing this administration does surprises me these days. The President could announce he was invoking martial law and it wouldn't surprise me. Instituting random body cavity searches at airports? Wouldn't surprise me. Invading Syria? Withdrawing from the World Trade Organization? Resuming nuclear testing? I'd be outraged, but not surprised.


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As I understand it we already are under matrial law. This stems from the invocation of the Emergency War Powers Act in 1933 and extended by executive order by every president since then. That is why the flags in federal courts are fringed in gold braid. This is the sign of a military flag.

This is a hoax. You can see a page of information on this here, but you don't even need to go there to work it out for yourself.

First, if every President of the US since Franklin Roosevelt has decided to extend martial law, what have they done with this awesome power? Restricted travel? Instituted curfews? Rationed goods? Taken over the media? Surely we must be able to see the effects of martial law in our daily lives.

Second, if this great secret is actually true, why has no mainstream journalist ever pursued it? Wouldn't it be the story of a career to break the "US Under Martial Law Since 1933" story? Sounds like a sure-fire Pulitzer Prize to me.

Of course the judge denied it was a military flag. If it became common knowledge that it was it would incite rebelion among the people. Plus if he admitted it he would be disbarred and ruined for life.

"Pursuant to 4 U.S.C. chapter 1, §§1, 2, & 3;Executive Order 10834, August 21, 1959; 24 F.R.6865; a military flag is a flag that resembles the regular flag of the United States, except that it has a YELLOW FRINGE border on three sides. The president of the United States designates this deviation from the regular flag, by executive order, and in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief.

The Placing of a fringe on the national flag, the dimensions of the flag and the arrangement of the stars in the union are matters of detail not controlled by statute, but are within the discretion of the President as commander in Chief of the Army and Navy." 34 Ops. Atty. Gen. 83.

President, Dwight David Eisenhower, by Executive Order No.10834, signed on August 21, 1959 and printed in the Federal Register at 24 F.R. 6865, pursuant to law, stated that: "A military flag is a flag that resembles the regular flag of the United States, except that it has a Yellow Fringe border on three sides."

According to Army Regulations, (AR 840-10, Oct. 1, 1979.) "the Flag is trimmed on three sides with Fringe of Gold, 2 1/2 inches wide," and that, "such flags are flown indoors, ONLY in military courtrooms." And that the Gold Fringed Flag is not to be carried by anyone except units of the United States Army, and the United States Army division associations."

The adornments (FINIAL) on the top of the flag pole are for military use only. The gold eagle is for the use of the President of the United States only, and only in time of war.(Army Regulation 840-10, chapter 8).

You do know that judges can lie if they feel like it don't you? Particulary under admiralty law where he is considered the "captain" or "master" of that enclave with absolute authority and can make up the rules as he goes. Judges are lawyers. Lawyers run the country. They protect themselves. It ain't that hard to figure out.

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