Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The End of American Justice and Moral Authority

Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006 yesterday. It essentially gives Bush the power to do away with the writ of habeas corpus, and thus gives him dictatorial power without any checks and balances. Keith explains why the death of habeas corpus - which forms the core basis for American freedom and democracy - is such a bad thing.

People can spin it any way they want, but if you actually read the law, it allows the President - at his sole discretion - to name unlawful enemy combatants. He can then hold them without charge indefinitely and without any due process rights to challenge their detention. They can face aggressive interrogation techniques and if a judge allows, the testimony can be used in a secret trial against the defendent.

I don't see anything American about holding prisoners without charge for as long as the President likes, using aggressive interrogation techniques to obtain confessions, putting them on trial in secret military tribunals, and then sentencing them (possibly to death).

Just as the WWII Japanese detention camps authorized by Roosevelt are a stain on this country, so to will be the case with this badly-written law. History will not be kind.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

I don't know, I read the thing, long winded as it is, and it seems that who the President can and cannot detain is pretty frickin; clearly laid out. And it's ain't you and I.

If you look under subchapter 1 948a. you'll see the definitions.

Furthermore, 948c further lays out that the only people that are to be subject to the Military Commissions would be, and I quote,"alien unlawful enemy combatants."

In fact, this bill also very clearly lays the ground work for detailed accounting of all trials. So there are no "secrets".

I believe you didn't read the actal bill, but instead read the ACLU talking points.

Rob said...

Thanks for coming over Jenn.

I never said it was you or me. He has the sole authority to designate any non-citizen an unlawful enemy combatant and do with them what he pleases.

This is a fundamental change in the principle of habeas corpus.

Show me where in the law someone who the President labels an unlawful enemy combatant has an opportunity to go before ANY authority to challenge the President's determination. There is no system of checks and balances on the President's determination. It basically makes the President a king.

Once the person is in the system, they can be held there indefinitely.

S.3930, Section 7 explicitly eliminates the writ of habeas corpus for whomever the President decides.