Friday, September 29, 2006

Well, Are We Better Than This?

The day Bush signs the so-called torture compromise bill into law will be the end of American citizenship as we know it. That’s because this oxymoronic “compromise” will make American citizens subject to being seized as enemy combatants and able to be thrown into military prison (see above).

Here's Bruce Ackerman on Thursday’s Los Angeles Times editorial page:

The compromise legislation, which is racing toward the White House, authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights.

This dangerous compromise not only authorizes the president to seize and hold terrorists who have fought against our troops "during an armed conflict," it also allows him to seize anybody who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." This grants the president enormous power over citizens and legal residents. They can be designated as enemy combatants if they have contributed money to a Middle Eastern charity, and they can be held indefinitely in a military prison.

But other provisions of the bill call even this limitation into question. What is worse, if the federal courts support the president's initial detention decision, ordinary Americans would be required to defend themselves before a military tribunal without the constitutional guarantees provided in criminal trials.

Americans who worship at the phallus of brutal authoritarianism by supporting torture deserve to live in perpetual fear of terrorist attacks. If this is what the United States is sinking to under the Bush regime and his degenerate Republican enablers, then you're goddamn right I'm “purposefully and materially” against it.

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