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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Failing the test 

Glenn Greenwald quotes Andrew Sullivan quoting Winston Churchill:
...the great principle of habeas corpus and trial by jury, which are the supreme protection invented by the British people for ordinary individuals against the state. The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him judgement by his peers for an indefinite period, is in the highest degree odious, and is the foundation of all totalitarian governments ... Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy. This is really the test of civilisation.
Emphasis mine.
On this test, the Republican presidential candidates fail.
Romney:
Crane [Cato Institute President Ed Crane] asked if Romney believed the president should have the authority to arrest U.S. citizens with no review. Romney said he would want to hear the pros and cons from smart lawyers before he made up his mind.
Guiliani:
Crane said that he had asked Giuliani the same question a few weeks ago. The mayor said that he would want to use this authority infrequently.
Well, that's magnanimous, isn't it? As Sullivan writes:
America is now failing that test. And the Republican party has lost not only its own soul; it is busy mortgaging the soul of America and the West as a whole. On this, there can be no compromise. Until a leading Republican commits to the full restoration of habeas corpus for American citizens, whether the executive considers them an "enemy combatant" or not, no one who loves freedom can support the GOP. In fact, any lover of freedom should consider it a duty to defeat them.
My son wanted me to watch a documentary on Guantanamo the other night but I couldn't watch it -- I said to him that I find it so sad and deeply upsetting, what has happened to America, what America has done to itself, that sometimes I can hardly bear it.

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