Monday, November 22, 2004
Deja Vu All Over Again
- "The president has repeatedly made clear -- and it bears repeating -- that the burden of proof is not on the United States, it's not on the United Nations or the international community to prove that Iraq has these weapons. The burden of proof is on the Iraqi regime to prove that it is disarming, and to show the inspectors where the weapons are."
- Donald Rumsfeld
January 15, 2003
Last week I posted about the similarities between the current situation with Iran and pre-war Iraq. Both instances revolved around a rogue nation, nuclear weapons, deception, and defiance. In each case, Secretary Powell assured us that this was based upon reliable intelligence from reliable sources. And in both situations, the burden of proof was on the other country to prove that they had indeed disarmed.
So with all of the similarities, I'm taken back to a question that I asked before the invasion of Iraq: How does a country prove that it doesn't have something? I've often wondred how I, if put in a similar situation, would prove that I didn't have something. I could of course consent to a search of my property, but if my accuser believes that I'm lying, then he could say that I had hidden it somewhere else. So how does one prove that something doesn't exist? I would think that it would be rather difficult.
What I find most interesting about this situation is that if the roles were reversed, the United States wouldn't stand for it. In our country, the burden of proof falls on the accuser, not the accused. Apparently innocent until proven guilty only applies to Americans.
Sidenote: After the election, I came to the realization that if the Democrats are to regain control, that it has to start at the local levels. With that in mind, I set a number of goals for myself to become more active in my city and county. One of those goals is that I will write at least one letter to the editor of my local paper per month. Not a snarky, partisan letter, but one of common sense. Something that all clear thinking, decent Americans can agree with. Here's the first:
- To the Editor:
In a lame-duck session on November 20, the United States House and Senate passed a much disputed $388 billion package to finance government programs for the fiscal year ending in September, 2005. With budget deficits running high and the threat of a presidential veto, several cuts had to be made. Among the programs affected by these cuts were education, health, and the environment.
One of the most contentious points of debate over this bill centered around a provision that would have allowed lawmakers access to the individual tax returns of all Americans. To the credit of both parties, Democrats and Republicans alike were outraged. This part of the bill appears to have been inserted by a Republican staffer and had been overlooked until it was discovered by a staffer on the Democratic side. The language has since been purged and the bill is being sent back to the House for approval of the new language before being sent to the President’s desk.
While I commend the Senate for their actions, I have to take issue with another part of the bill that was left intact. While our budget deficits are dictating cuts in the important areas of education, health, and the environment, the bill specifically sets aside funds for such luxuries as a presidential yacht. Are we to understand that the health and education of our children take a back seat to recreation? Is this really the best use of our tax dollars?
I, for one, believe that we need to be focusing our resources on the future generations of our country and not the recreational pleasures of our elected officials. After all, as the President likes to say: “It’s your money.”
I urge everyone to get involved in some way. Whether it's by writing letters, volunteering with your local Democratic organization, or running for office yourself, you can make a difference. It has to start somewhere, and it may as well start with you.