While there was not the kind of carnage we had on 9-11 the Islamofascists struck again today. They meet in Congress with the urging of the great Osama Bin Bush and killed over 200 years of hapeas corpus law. The Islamofascists made striking fear into the electorate their priorty. Fascists have always maintained that the masses are easily manipulated and they proved how right they were today. It was move that according to their calculations will get keep them in power after November. When it comes to understanding and feeding the mob the Islamofascists have been proven to be as clever as any enemy that America has ever faced. Will that victory last? Who knows, many people have let their fears take precedence over their courage and patriotism. They’ve become the great appeasers of our time; one of them one said not long ago something to the effect that what good are your Constitutional rights if you’re dead, so much for freedom being something that is worth fighting for. So hapeas corpus, the Geneva Convention, and the safe guards of judicial review were sacrificed to make scared little wimps feel safe.
Oops, I just looked back over my notes for this post and where it says Islamofascists replace that with right-wing Christianists and where I wrote Osama Bin Bush replace with George W. Bush, that would be a more accurate depiction of what happened today.
The rights that every American lost today were rights that in the not too distant past had deep meaning for many Americans. They were the rights that sustained and informed our values, that we aspired to as indivduals and a nation. Sure sometimes we fell a little short, but outside of the Civil War no great mass of elected leaders ever tied a ball and chain around them and tossed those values, those laws, those gems of American democracy overboard.
From Barack Obama’s speech,
In the five years that the President’s system of military tribunals has existed, not one terrorist has been tried. Not one has been convicted. Not one has been brought to justice. And in the end, the Supreme Court of the United found the whole thing unconstitutional, which is why we’re here today.
We could have fixed all of this in a way that allows us to detain and interrogate and try suspected terrorists while still protecting the accidentally accused from spending their lives locked away in Guantanamo Bay. Easily. This was not an either-or question.
Instead of allowing this President – or any President – to decide what does and does not constitute torture, we could have left the definition up to our own laws and to the Geneva Conventions, as we would have if we passed the bill that the Armed Services committee originally offered.
Instead of detainees arriving at Guantanamo and facing a Combatant Status Review Tribunal that allows them no real chance to prove their innocence with evidence or a lawyer, we could have developed a real military system of justice that would sort out the suspected terrorists from the accidentally accused.
And instead of not just suspending, but eliminating, the right of habeas corpus – the seven century-old right of individuals to challenge the terms of their own detention, we could have given the accused one chance – one single chance – to ask the government why they are being held and what they are being charged with.
But politics won today. Politics won. The Administration got its vote, and now it will have its victory lap, and now they will be able to go out on the campaign trail and tell the American people that they were the ones who were tough on the terrorists.
And yet, we have a bill that gives the terrorist mastermind of 9/11 his day in court, but not the innocent people we may have accidentally rounded up and mistaken for terrorists – people who may stay in prison for the rest of their lives.
And yet, we have a report authored by sixteen of our own government’s intelligence agencies, a previous draft of which described, and I quote, “…actions by the United States government that were determined to have stoked the jihad movement, like the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay…”
And yet, we have Al Qaeda and the Taliban regrouping in Afghanistan while we look the other way. We have a war in Iraq that our own government’s intelligence says is serving as Al Qaeda’s best recruitment tool. And we have recommendations from the bipartisan 9/11 commission that we still refuse to implement five years after the fact.
The problem with this bill is not that it’s too tough on terrorists. The problem with this bill is that it’s sloppy. And the reason it’s sloppy is because we rushed it to serve political purposes instead of getting the job done.
Time was short today, but I did catch a few minutes of Charlie Rose interviewing Lawrence Wright about his book The Looming Tower. I’m not sure how President Clinton’s efforts to deal with the growing threat of al-Queda are dealt with in the book, but in the interview Wright didn’t give Clinton a pass, but did heap a lot of blame on the bumbling of the CIA. Bush didn’t come off too well either as Bush made Bin Laden less of a priority then Condi Rice would have the public believe. She and Bush have been caught in so much hedging at this point only the avid kool-aid drinkers believe anything they say.
Lastly, worth a read if you get the chance, Pen and Sword’s take on the National Intelligence Estimate and the administration’s spin, National Intelligence Estimate: This is the “Good News?” and National Intelligence Estimate: The Enemy Metastasizes
By “fighting them over there” with military force, we’re not taking the “offensive” as young Mister Bush tells us we are. We’re ceding the initiative to our adversaries by maneuvering into a position where they can attrite our operational center of gravity at their leisure. Subsequently, as the NIE asserts, the more we fight them over there, the more dispersed and numerous they become, and the more impossible they become to attrite.
And the more moronic our “stay the course” Iraq strategy becomes. We’re not taking the fight to the enemy. We’re handing it to them on a silver platter.
Whoever “they” are.