Monthly Archives: June 2010

Kucinich on Afghanistan

by email 6/30/10:

As you know, I’ve been leading the effort to try to stop our country from continuing its tragic mistake in Afghanistan. We need to rally, America, to say it’s time to end the war once and for all: To set a date and to stick by it to end the war and it can’t be in 2011, 2012. We can slow-walk the end of this war for another decade.

That’s not acceptable. It’s not acceptable because of the loss of lives of our troops, because of the loss of lives of innocent civilians, because of the corrupt government of Afghanistan, because there is no way to win and establish a democracy in Afghanistan, because we can’t afford the war, because we have things at home that need to be taken care of: to create jobs, to save homes, to help rebuild our cities. We cannot continue to afford this war in any way, shape or form.

And so, I’m going to continue my efforts to not only create a debate, but also to build the votes so that when the war appropriation comes up again, we will have garnered an even stronger vote to get out of Afghanistan. …

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No need for constitutional change

Letter in Daily Local News, Monday, June 28, 2010

Marvin C. Baughman, in “Another injustice to be corrected” (June 22), says children born to American service members in military hospitals outside the U.S. cannot become president or vice president. The U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section I) states:

“No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”

But what’s a “natural born Citizen”? The Naturalization Act of 1790 says:

“The children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens.”

The 14th Amendment (1868) reads:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

Though the 1790 act has gone through many permutations, and the 14th Amendment has undergone judicial clarifications, the parts quoted above seem to have stayed with us. Thus, both 2008 presidential candidates were eligible to serve:

John McCain (who was born of U.S. parents in Panama) and Barack Obama (who was born of a U.S. citizen mother and a father who was a British citizen from Kenya).

In addition, it appears to me, unless there are special conditions, that the U.S. Code, by which Congress clarifies governmental regulations, shows (Title 8, Section 1401) that any child of a genuine U.S. citizen living abroad also becomes a U.S. citizen at birth and thus is eligible to be president.

There are many more details to all this, but I don’t see evidence that we need a constitutional amendment or a rallying of “military organizations” to correct any “injustice.”

Mr. Baughman also complains that babies born to “illegals” in the U.S. become U.S. citizens at birth. That’s a very different matter.

The 14th Amendment was designed to give citizenship to former slaves, and the Supreme Court in 1898 clarified that the amendment also applies to children born in the U.S. to Chinese immigrants, who at the time were not allowed to become citizens themselves. Trying to change the 14th Amendment would certainly send a controversial message.

As the Prohibition fiasco showed (the 21st Amendment had to be enacted to repeal the 18th), we are usually better off trusting the Founders — thus, living with the Constitution we have and counting on legislative and judicial processes to update its exact meaning — then we are rushing to amend it when some problem surfaces.

Nathaniel Smith
West Chester

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McChrystal and Karzai to team up

Kabul, 6/26/10 In a well-attended press conference today, Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirmed rumors that controversial US general Stanley McChrystal will be taking on a major new role in Afghanistan.

“Stanley and I have developed a close working relationship,” the Afghan president said. “I have been impressed with his sensitivity to Afghan popular culture and I am distressed that he has been capriciously fired. We are now forming a partnership, together with my brother the entrepreneur Ahmed Wali Karzai and our friends in the Pakistani army and intelligence services, to manage Afghanistan’s agricultural production and its exportation of certain products much in demand in the United States and Western Europe. The consuming public there will, I am sure, be grateful for our spirit of enterprise.”

According to President Karzai, McChrystal will take the lead with the Taliban to smooth the way to collaboration. “Our partners on Wall Street,” he explained, “Have stressed that peace brings profits. We are all in favor of the free market, of course.”

Reached for comment in Washington, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he could not comment until he checked the Rolling Stone web site.

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“…For us to even consider several more years of fighting and dying in Afghanistan — at a cost of heaven knows how many more billions of American taxpayer dollars — is demented. ….”

–Bob Herbert, in “Worse Than a Nightmare,” New York Times, 6/25/10.

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