Friday, October 13, 2006

Had Enough?

Letter to the Editor of the Huntsville,Alabama Times, submitted 10-13-2006:

If I hear George W. Bush say “My main job is to protect the American people” one more time, an innocent television may be harmed by flying objects. Here’s how it works, George: in your Oath of Office, you swore to “protect and defend the Constitution”. If the Constitution is protected, then We the People are protected, at least to the extent that we can be protected in a free and open society. Beyond that, I’ll take my chances.

The Foley scandal stole the spotlight from the passage of the Military Commissions Act, aka the torture and detention bill, which on its surface deals with the treatment of alien combatants.

The MCA, however, through clever omission of the word “alien” when speaking of “enemy combatants”, essentially gives the President and the Department of Defense the authority to declare anyone an enemy combatant. That includes you, me, and your sweet gray-haired grandma. An American citizen may now be imprisoned and denied rights of habeas corpus, right to council, to a trial, to confront their accuser, and to know the evidence against them, all on George Bush’s say-so. This is fact. This is America in 2006.

All of this is particularly galling given the fact that, whether it’s detention, interrogation, wiretapping, etc, there were legal avenues available. But the Bush administration, which seems to have an almost pathological need to flout the law, whined about the paperwork and declared an urgent need to Do Whatever We Want Whenever We Want To.

Arbitrary imprisonment is the hallmark of every authoritarian regime in history. Without habeas corpus, many of our other rights (Bill of Rights Amendments 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8) are rendered irrelevant. Tell me this, Republicans: is this what you signed up for?


Rocket City, USA


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