07 October 2007

Sending letters to Congress, the fun never stops

The following is being sent to the Senators for my State and Representative for my District. And, yes, this gets actual physical, dead tree printing along with email. The body of the text is given as follows:

[Address from the House or Senate ]

RE: Legislation concerning Blackwater

Dear [Congressman/Senator],

Due to events in Iraq the question of the use of Blackwater for private contracting of security in a war zone or other designated conflict area has come into light along with the activities of the US State Department in utilizing such 'security contractors' outside of US Embassy grounds in such areas. While the Executive Branch does have many powers, the designation of any private organization for such activities where conflict in a foreign nation is ongoing requires Congressional approval. The clearly stated power to do so for any private company of Americans to be given legitimacy and accountability is designated to Congress in the following part of the US Constitution, Article I, Section 8 (in part):

"To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;"

Clearly for Blackwater to operate under the auspices of the United States, outside the Extra-Territorial Enclave of the US Embassy require Congressional approval. The Executive may not authorize any other force, under any other oversight as the Department of State is doing by providing diplomatic coverage for Blackwater. That is the US Department of State creating its own, extra-legal military organization outside of the Congressional approval power.

For the United States Government to properly employ Blackwater in such circumstances and to extend any law to their activities, the US Code offers little opportunity in this realm, due to its restrictions to actual territory and such extensions as US maritime and airborne vessels.

May I also take a moment to point out that Congress has not done its duties under the Law of Nations to properly define the predatory warfare practiced by those using the tactic of terrorism? Congress in no way has extended the protection of the US Government properly to its Citizenry by putting forward that under the Law of Nations such warfare against any Nation is not only predatory but requires definition in the US Code beyond the High Seas version called 'piracy'. However, when captured during military operations that very same Law of Nations puts the defining power in the hands of the Commander in Chief as seen in INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE FIELD, Prepared by Francis Lieber, promulgated as General Orders No. 100 by President Lincoln, 24 April 1863.:

"Men, or squads of men, who commit hostilities, whether by fighting, or inroads for destruction or plunder, or by raids of any kind, without commission, without being part and portion of the organized hostile army, and without sharing continuously in the war, but who do so with intermitting returns to their homes and avocations, or with the occasional assumption of the semblance of peaceful pursuits, divesting themselves of the character or appearance of soldiers - such men, or squads of men, are not public enemies, and, therefore, if captured, are not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war, but shall be treated summarily as highway robbers or pirates."

Unfortunately the Executive has been lax in properly putting such Head of State and Chief of the Armies and the Navies power under the Law of Nations to use so as to properly define the operational procedures to handle such cases as terrorists captured by the US Armed Forces. As this is a Law of Nations duty of the Head of State and Commander in Chief, Congress has little oversight on the military side, save to remind the Executive of his duties in that regard.

I hope you will give this matter some attention, as the US Congress does have some role to play in this, both on the legitimization of organizations such as Blackwater and in defining predatory warfare under the Law of Nations for the United States.

I thank you for your time in this matter.



Why, yes, I *am* suggesting they do their jobs and properly grant Letters of Marque to Blackwater.

And , yes, I *am* suggesting that Congress has fallen down on its job, but offer the nice remedy of reminding that the President has fallen down on his job, so that some tweaking may occur.

Really, why are these two branches of Government so incapable of reading their job descriptions and realizing their duties? I feel sorry for the poor Supreme Court having to keep on nudging these two other Branches about what they need to do in such things.

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