Friday, September 29, 2006
....This has been a bad week for civil/human rights as we understand it in the U.S. (or at least how I/I understand it anyway). We now have the Senate approving two "anti-terrorism" Bills which dispense with the need for warrants in carrying out phone tap interceptions, the right to habeas corpus (that is, the right to challenge detentions of persons who may or not be charged with specific crimes), and allows President Bush to set interrogation techniques as he sees fit (without having to tell anyone how he defines acceptable techniques or not; cool, huh?).
The latter Bill (that is, the one dealing with the treatment of detainees, who are qualified as either arrested/charged or prisoners of war; we've got third, new desgination which puts a hapless detainee off the legal map entirely, and the physical map as well - are they really in Guantanmo? Who knows?) pretty much lets the President have his way with terrorists, or those he calls terrorists (he gets to define/determine who terrorists/detainees are too).
Oh, and finally, the best part is, the President and his boys don't have to tell anyone/anyone what they're doing or have done, all in the interests of national security and protecting their sources, tortured or otherwise...
I don't call myself a historian by any means, but ok, I've read some books on history, and I gotta say, where we've come and what we've done over the last five years, via the Patriot Act and now this.... deed that was done this last week have brought us right up their with countries like Argentina and Chile in their worst years in the 70's and 80's, with governments empowered to do whatever they want to individuals and not having to account for their actions.
Well, the only thing I can figure we can do is change our Congress in November, and hope that we pick up enough people who remember what our country was all about - decency, honesty, confidence, and respect for the rights of anyone/anyone, no matter their nationality or charges/suspicions against them. In short, old fashioned though it may sound, I think we gotta treat these bad, really bad guys, better than they've treated us. Otherwise, we're no different from them. Quaint idea, huh?