Got a few minutes respite while the client is in a meeting so I have a little time to get something off my chest.
I haven’t had much time to study all the details of the pending legislation to legalize torture and suspend habeas corpus but I have managed to think about it. What we have here is a misguided attempt to take our glorious and robust peace-time Constitution and morph it into a constitution based on military expediency.
While I am far from being qualified to analyze every legal nuance of the pending law I can see what will clearly be writ large upon the face of our democracy. This document will grant the President the legal authority and power to apprehend and hold every citizen or non-citizen at his whim with no formal charge and hold them with no recourse. This is a huge sacrifice. If you are so naïve to believe that this won’t be abused by the Cheney administration you are a fool.
This law is vulnerable to abuse in many ways. It sanctions torture for Christ’s sake and at the discretion of the government with no legal recourse on the part of the tortured. If our government clearly believes that torture is our most effective weapon against terrorism then I’m afraid we are most probably already lost. If our government truly believes that habeas corpus is nothing more than some historic relic that no longer has a place in the laws of civilized man in this new age of the GWOT then we are in serious danger of destroying everything that has been built over our last 217 years.
Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) said many months ago that any law passed by Congress must be one that the people of these
This “band-aid” legislation haphazardly hammered together by the Congress (read GOP Senators) and the cabal in the Whitehouse won’t come close to meeting Mr. Warner’s smell test. Granted it probably makes it a little more difficult for Mr. Bush to take away the civil rights and torture those he may arbitrarily choose to call “enemy combatants” but it is still seriously flawed. If this bill passes with these flaws in place out treatment of foreign prisoners (and possibly citizens) will surely remain a source of global controversy and fuel the global jihadist movement and likewise the “war” on terrorism. Senators, Republicans and Democrats (woefully and disgustingly absent from the debate so far) alike should postpone any action on this bill. This is serious stuff and strikes at the foundations of who we are as a nation. This is not the time to rush something like this through Congress just because an election is imminent and because the Whitehouse is trying to cover for its war crimes.