28 Pages and a Democratic Wish

A tension worthy of analysis through the eyes of James Morone is unfolding in the United States. It starts with a lawsuit filed by a group of families of 9/11 victims against the Saudi Arabian Government, charities and businesses.  The families’ attorney’s claim that information found in the 9/11 Commission Report provides evidence that Saudi officials, and charities were involved in providing support to at least two of the 9/11 hijackers. The lawsuit has been struck down by a Federal Court ruling that there was not enough evidence to overcome Saudi Arabia’s sovereign immunity. In response to this congress proposed bill number S.2040 aka. Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. If passed this bill will take sovereign immunity away from foreign sponsors of terrorists, leaving them open for civil liability. The Obama Administration strongly opposes S.2040 on the premise that it will cause economic fall out and put Americans abroad at legal risk. The Saudi Government has threatened to liquidate treasury securities equaling 750 billion dollars, if the bill passes. The Saudi threat and opposition from the executive office are increasing party tensions in the capitol. Further, a 28 page section of the 9/11 Commission Report that believed to contain evidence implicating Saudi Arabian officials in the terrorist plot has been under classification for 13 years.  Government secrecy surrounding the documents is fueling distrust in the government and angry accusations that the White House cares more about its Saudi interests than its own citizens. A recent 60 Minutes Segment titled 28 pages reveals some of the controversy surrounding the documents.

This case study is fine example of American Governmental checks and balances working against justice.  The battle between the Executive and Legislative branch stagnates the ability of the 9/11 victim families to find out the truth about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the attacks. The information in the classified documents may reveal serious implications for the Bush and Obama administrations and could potentially add to American’s distrust of government.

Bush and Prince

If United States Government officials, motivated to protect financial interests, buried information about a Saudi tie to one of the worst attacks on American soil, it will call into question the legitimacy of the “War on Terror”, and the willingness of the government to protect its citizens above all else. The conflict is now in the Gridlock stage described by James Morone in The Democratic Wish,  its evolution remains to be seen. We will not know the full ramifications of the information  concealed in the documents until they are declassified. In this situation Democratic leadership and transparency seem to be little more than a wish. Will this result in the outrage of the American people who would call for reform, will this reform be managed by even larger institutions that would essentially increase Congressional oversight of the Executive, or will this turn out to be little more than another attempt by Congress to wrestle power from the Executive?




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7 Responses to 28 Pages and a Democratic Wish

  1. nicmccaleb says:

    Very interesting piece, I had no idea that this lawsuit was ever in existence. I find it very interesting that there is some secrecy associated with our government and these documents. This secrecy could as you state, make the war on terror completely illegitimate. I have never been a supporter of the war in the middle east but recognize the necessity for some American intervention in the turmoil-heavy area that is the middle east. I think that if these documents became released, there would be major backlash from the American people; especially since there are already so many conspiracy theories that surround the atrocities of 9/11.

  2. nshah210 says:

    I really did not know about this law suit or the signing of this bill, so I found this information quite intriguing. I guess my concern would be more of an economic base as to if the United States passed the bill, not only would we lose Saudi Arabia, and some other support, but what would our relationship look like for the Middle East and how bad would our country be affected by this action. I understand getting answers for what happened in 9/11, but would that action be worth the risk to destabilize the country? Just curious as to what you think.

  3. jtoombs51 says:

    While the United States would love to increase its power in attacking other states seen as “sponsors of terror,” this simply cannot function in a system of international law. SB 2040, in its very essence, is a very prototypical piece of legislation introduced by the US Congress as a method of ignoring the tenants of international law, and the United Nations. For a state so personally obsessed with maintaining its sovereignty whenever a popular treaty is ratified by greater than 100 member states of the UN, it seems interesting that a law could be passed that allows the United States to ignore the sovereignty of states on an international stage. Again, of course justice should be done for the families of the victims of 9/11, especially if the new documents illuminate a damning fact regarding the actions taken by the Saudi government, but the law does not allow for these types of actions to be taken. Overall, this is not a “conspiracy,” and it’s dangerous for members of the population to view it as such. It is necessary for the American people to receive a greater education regarding the importance of international law, and how relevant it is to everyday life.

  4. ricquelln says:

    I do not know much information regarding this bill, but it is very interesting. My biggest concern about this bill would be, if passed, the economic state between the United States and Saudi Arabia, along with Saudi Arabia’s allies. The war between the United States and the middle east, has costed more money than the U.S. had. The idea of living expenses in the United States to be on the rise, due to how much the U.S. is financially invested in the middle east, is a real possibility. This bill will have its pros and cons results, but it is definitely a gamble that the U.S. will face.

  5. Pingback: 28 pages revisited | American Political Thought

  6. pooh0bear8 says:

    “We will not know the full ramifications of the information concealed in the documents until they are declassified. In this situation Democratic leadership and transparency seem to be little more than a wish.”

    I will play the side of the devil here, but would back lash in international relations with the Saudi’s be worth the appeasing the American people? The reality is Saudi Arabia is less ‘government’ and more monarchy. This family generally always gets its way, and doesn’t response to threats nicely. I question if the United States reveals how the Saudis played a role in Sept. 11, will they also reveal Quater’s role in sponsoring terrorism? Does the American have a right to know every little secret, or is reality that American people do not understand the extent of middle eastern politics & history and should leave these “secrets” hidden?

  7. tonybetz says:

    Interesting post. I have not been paying attention to this particular segment in the news lately, and only briefly brushed over a BBC article about this. If this bill passes as you describe it might, it would decimate our relationship with Saudi Arabia, and economic ties would be severed along with all the oil that we import from them. In addition to losing Saudi Arabia, we may lose other allies in the Middle East.

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