restoring our biblical and constitutional foundations


Speaking of Sovereignty

 David Alan Black

Just wondering, but if sovereignty is transferred to Iraq on June 30th, couldn’t the Iraqis kick us out on July 1st? And if they can’t, doesn’t that imply that our “transfer of sovereignty” is in name only—a sort of “sovereignty light”?

The point is moot, of course, since everyone agrees that when we do make the transfer and formally end our occupation of Iraq, the new Iraqi government will receive only very limited authority. For example, the U.S. military will remain in Iraq at full occupation strength. The U.S. and its allies also will retain control over the partially organized Iraqi army, over the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (which has been fighting insurgents), and over the police force they are helping train.

More importantly, Americans will retain control of billions of dollars in reconstruction aid, giving us additional leverage with the temporary government. “The June 30 thing is mostly symbolic,” said Joseph Nye Jr., dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “What you have on June 30 essentially is a transformation of the CPA into an embassy. But it’s mostly in name.” In short, without real economic sovereignty, political independence is a mere formality.

Nevertheless, “sovereignty” will be handed to the Iraqis. So while we’re in a mood to transfer sovereignty, perhaps the federal government would like to consider giving some of it back to “We the People” right here in the good old U.S. I’ll take the lead in demanding it, in fact.

Dear President Bush:

The United States of America was formed as just that—a union of sovereign states into a federal government. The concept behind our government was simple. Our “Creator” gave each of us “unalienable rights,” and we in turn gave some of these rights to our respective state governments. Then the states gave a portion of their rights to a central government that could perform certain wide-ranging tasks—national defense, the conduct of foreign relations, and the like. The framers of our Constitution were careful to make it clear that the powers not granted to the federal government were reserved to the states and ultimately to “We the People.”

Mr. President, all we want is the restoration of a constitutional republic that the Founding Fathers established in this country. They didn’t have in mind some gigantic federal bureaucracy with all this power and control regulating our lives and our businesses. They had in mind a federal government that would abide by the Tenth Amendment. It was small, it had limited powers, it took care of national events, and it defended our borders. It maintained the army and issued national currency. And all the rest of the rights and responsibilities, they said, belonged to the states, respectively, and the people. As Robert E. Lee once put it, “All that the South has ever desired was that the Union as established by our forefathers should be preserved, and that the government as originally organized should be administered in purity and truth.”

By the way, Mr. President, we argue that it is impossible to have a republic as originally envisioned by our Founders and also have an empire at the same time. We are outspoken in our opposition to the invasion and occupation of Iraq because we do not believe you can export democracy at gunpoint. We have this radical notion that the U.S. can hold the torch of liberty high without getting involved in military skirmishes around the globe.

In short, Mr. President, we think little of big government with all of its attendant horrors, including an abysmal government “education” system. We feel that the only hope for a rebirth of freedom in America is to restore sovereignty to the states and to the people by getting the federal government completely out of every area where it has made such a mess, including health care, education, law enforcement, foreign aid, corporate welfare, and farm subsidies. Like your Republican colleague from Texas, Ron Paul, we want smaller government, an end to the welfare state, and an end to government intrusions into their lives and businesses.

As you can see, I can get a bit delusional at times. The president would no more listen to my appeals for sovereignty than he would listen to Richard Clarke read from his new book.

It’s enough to make a grown man cry.

May 18, 2004

David Alan Black is the editor of His latest book, Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon, will be released this year.

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