For anyone who doesn’t know, I am Canadian… but there’s really just been one major rant brewing in the back of my brain since I heard the news on the radio as I drove to work yesterday morning. Does anyone else think that the title “Military Commissions Act” is stupid? I think we’ve got a new winner for euphemism of all-time. Why don’t they call it the “Selective Suspention of the Constitution and Justifiable Torture Act”? At least they wouldn’t think they’re pulling one over on everyone that way.
Seriously. George W. celebrated the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty by signing a bill which makes it possible for him to selectivly withold basic human rights. Yeah. Amnesty International says they are “increasingly documenting how human rights violations drive and deepen poverty.” Guess they need to document more loudly.
Me, I’m appalled. Where I live, it’s a 60-minute drive south to the US border. As I understand it, now if I cross that border legally to do some shopping or spend my tourist-y dollars in a variety of ways, I’d best be careful. If an official looks at me sideways and one thing leads to another, I can be detained without charges, denied legal counsel, tortured, presented before a military tribunal without access to evidence by me, my counsel, or my consulate in order to allow preparation of a defence, found guilty, and sentenced to death. And there’s nothing anybody can do about it.
Yeah, George, go on and build your fence between our two countries… from our side of it, we’re going to treat is as a protective barrier… to keep us on our side of the line lest something evil befall us if we cross it.
It just seems to me that the US government is now guilty of violence toward their pledge of allegiance… “liberty and justice for all” has now become a farsical idea. Liberty has been traded for security instead. And Justice? Sorry, that ship has sailed.
Matthew Rothschild in The Progressive:
George Bush just signed the Military Commissions Act, the bookend to the Patriot Act on the shelf marked â€œAssault on Democracy.â€?
It allows the President himself to decide what is covered by Geneva Conventions, and what is not.
In short, it gives the President a green light to torture.
George W. Bush: “It is a rare occasion when a President can sign a bill he knows will save American lives. I have that privilege this morning.” He continues to talk about how this bill lets the CIA carry on with it’s “program for questioning key terrorist leaders and operatives.” Yeah, we know just what you mean, George. After a bunch more blah-blah, he spits out, “The bill I’m about to sign also provides a way to deliver justice to the terrorists we have captured.” Uh, I’m sure they’re happy to hear it… but we know what kind of “justice” you intend. Isn’t it obvious in that they don’t question suspects, they question terrorists. Trial? Uh, no, you don’t get that anymore. He goes on from this comment to explain how the supreme court said his “system” of military means of dealing with people they’d rounded up was illegal, so this bill remedies that. Yeah, the supreme court said what he was doing was illegal, so they passed legislation to make it legal. Instead of changing their practices.
The Center for Constitutional Rights calls the act “a Blow to Democracy and the Constitution.” Perhaps it wouldn’t be quite so applling if more Americans would be appalled at this behaviour. Will Samson has thoughts as well… he being appalled that a woman asked him “Under what circumstances?” before rendering an opinion as to whether or not the president should be allowed to have people tortured. Uh, hello? Ominously, Will also provides a choice G.W. quote: “Those who kill the innocent will be held to account.” You have to read Will’s thought on it though: “It is a rare moment when one finds an individual prophesying against themselves.”
So there it is, since I’m a foreigner if I’m standing on US soil, I’m now in the same boat as any other terrorist or war criminal. And having voiced my disapproval….