“Not to be critical of this administration is the most unpatriotic act anyone can commit,” said U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY, 22nd District) yesterday during his lecture, “No Checks, No Balances, No Problems: President Bush’s Assault on the U.S. Constitution” in Myron Taylor Hall. He urged students, faculty and Ithaca residents not to be intimidated by the Bush administration, claiming that it is an administration that has failed to uphold the Constitution.
“[Hinchey] was one of the first and most outspoken opponents of the war in Iraq,” said Sarah Graygert, vice president of the Cornell Law Democrats, the group that organized the event. “He has also traveled extensively to the world’s hot spots in order to personally educate himself on the issues that face us today.”
Hinchey began his discussion with the war in Iraq; he feels that there are very important issues going on in Washington in ways that are unchecked.
“We have a monolithic government. The very important divisions of responsibilities which were laid down so carefully by the men and women who founded this country are gradually being put aside,” said Hinchey.
This lack of checks and balances becomes clear when one examines the government’s treatment of the war in Iraq, according to Hinchey; the term “war” is a misnomer that the administration uses to spread uncertainty and fear. Through this culture of fear the administration forces citizens and government officials to relinquish rights and freedoms.
“This is an administration that came into office with its own agenda,” he said, acknowledging that this statement holds true for most administrations. However, according to Hinchey, Bush’s agenda has been focused entirely on Iraq right from the start.
“The idea of attacking Iraq and changing the government in Iraq was the primary motivation for the Bush administration,” he said.
According to Hinchey, this fact became obvious during the initial meeting of the National Security Council. During this meeting, Bush made it clear that his goal was to get involved with Iraq.
“National Security Advisors told the president that the most difficult problem that he and the administration were going to face over the course of the next four years was the Al Qaeda network and international terrorism,” said Hinchey, who believes that the administration used Sept. 11 to put their Iraq plans into motion.
It was after Sept. 11 that the administration began to draw a relationship between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.
“They were told over and over by the CIA that there was no connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda