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Daily Archives: February 19, 2010

Mission Accomplished?

Ah, what’s to be found in a name?

ABC News has learned that the Obama administration has decided to give the war in Iraq — currently known as Operation Iraqi Freedom — a new name.

The new name: “Operation New Dawn.”

In a February 17, 2010, memo to the Commander of Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the “requested operation name change is approved to take effect 1 September 2010, coinciding with the change of mission for U.S. forces in Iraq.”

[…]

Gates writes that by changing the name at the same time as the change of mission — the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. combat troops — the US is sending “a strong signal that Operation IRAQI FREEDOM has ended and our forces are operating under a new mission.”

Well actually, a lot. There’s no question the former mission under the umbrella of OIF is considered to have been accomplished if a new name to reflect a “mission change” is being requested. Why? Because orders issued under Operation New Dawn will reflect that basic change of orientation for forces. OIF’s mission guidelines were one thing. New mission guidelines will be issued under the new operational designation.

As Gates notes:

The move, Gates writes, “also presents opportunities to synchronize strategic communication initiatives, reinforce our commitment to honor the Security Agreement, and recognize our evolving relationship with the Government of Iraq.”

Shorter Gates: It’s a new game.

Of course not everyone is happy with the name change:

The move has met with some criticism. In a statement, Brian Wise, executive director of Military Families United said, “You cannot end a war simply by changing its name. Despite the Administration’s efforts to spin realities on the ground, their efforts do not change the situation at hand in Iraq. Operational military decisions should not be made for purposes of public relations, as the Secretary of Defense cites, but should be made in the best interests of our nation, the troops on the ground and their families back home.”

Whatever the reason for the name change, the reality on the ground is we’re leaving per the agreement negotiated by the Bush administration. It makes perfect sense to wrap up the old operation which doesn’t include that mission, and begin the phased withdrawal under a new mission designation.

Frankly I have no problem with it other than this administration, via the VP, trying to claim credit for what was fait accompli when it took office.

~McQ

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Washington State Supreme Court Rules 2nd Amendment Applies To State Via 14th Amendment

One of the running battles concerning the 2nd Amendment is whether or not it is an individual right or a collective right – i.e. one for the state to limit/restrict.  I think a fair reading of the amendment and the history of the era and those who penned the Bill of Rights clearly puts it (as with most of the other amendments dealing with our freedoms) in the “individual rights” category.

The Washington State Supreme Court weighed in on the question and while I recognize the fact that this is only valid in that state, it is a precedent that moves the argument a little further along – and not in a way the collective rights crew is going to like.

It occurred in a ruling about a recent case involving a 17 year old in possession of a hand-gun who was arrested by police for having it.

The trial court found Sieyes guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm under RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(iii),1 which limits circumstances in which children under age 18 can lawfully possess firearms. We must decide whether the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution applies to the states and, if so, determine whether RCW

“A person, whether an adult or juvenile, is guilty of the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree, if the person does not qualify under subsection (1) of this section for the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree and the person owns, has in his or her possession, or has in his or her control any firearm: . . . [i]f the person is under eighteen years of age, except as provided in RCW 9.41.042.” RCW 9.41.042 enumerates nine exceptions which allow children under age 18 to possess firearms.

What the police contend, of course, is these circumstances didn’t involve one of the 9 exceptions. Washington state had claimed it had the legislative right to restrict who may or may not possess a firearm.

The court disagreed:

41.040(2)(a)(iii) unconstitutionally infringes on the right to bear arms protected by either the United States or Washington Constitutions. We hold the Second Amendment applies to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause; however, Sieyes fails to demonstrate on this record that RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(iii) infringes on his right to bear arms under either constitution.

The courts justification is quite interesting and I encourage you to read it. Essentially they cite the Heller case and note that the Supreme Court “unquestionably recognized an individual right to bear arms and, in the process, rejected a collective right conditioned militia service.” What the SCOTUS didn’t do is determine whether or not that amendment applies to the states via the 14th Amendment and “incorporation”.

Incorporation is “[t]he process of applying the provisions of the Bill of Rights to the states by interpreting the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause as encompassing those provisions.” Black’s Law Dictionary 834 (9th ed. 2009). The Fourteenth Amendment bars “any state [from] depriv[ing] any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1. Under the original constitutional architecture the federal Bill of Rights protected only enumerated rights from federal interference.

The 14th Amendment changed that “original constitutional architecture” and establshed that those constitutional rights “incorporated” under the 14th applied to the states as well.

What the Washington State Supreme Court found is that it does as indicated by the highlighted line cited above and in their conclusion:

The Second Amendment right to bear arms applies to the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

An interesting win for those who believe the right to be an individual right. 5 of the 6 justices on the Washington State Supreme Court concurred with the ruling.  The dissenting justice essentially dissented because the court didn’t go far enough in its protection of the right.  I would guess this will eventually wend its way toward SCOTUS which, as this ruling notes, explicitly avoided this question in Heller.

~McQ

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