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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Guantanamo nation 

I was glad to hear Obama say he intends to close Guantanamo, but I just hope is isn't turning the United States into Guantanamo North:
Has the Obama administration really endorsed the reality of preventative detention -- an American gulag, indefinite imprisonment without trial . . . [and that] there exist human beings in this world who could be indefinitely held without trial under the authority of the president of the United States
Marc Ambinder describes the so-called "indefinite detention" plan as Obama's "rubicon" -- like when Julius Ceasar illegally crossed the Rubicon River, after which he was irrevocably committed to invading Rome.
But actually, this is an event horizon, the crossing point where it becomes impossible to escape falling into a black hole.
Because Obama doesn't want to do this illegally, like Bush and Cheney did. No, perhaps even worse, he wants it to be legal. He wants Congress to pass a law giving him the authority to arrest people and put them in jail forever, without ever having a civilian judge or a jury of ordinary people hear the evidence against them and find them guilty of anything.
Governments have tried this type of thing before. There's a name for it.
If Congress approves such a law because they're so pants-wetting terrified of a few dozen Muslim fanatics, they will undermine their own Constitution and the whole concept of a nation based on laws.
Because, after all, once this military commission structure is up and running, why should they stop with just a few Muslim traitors? The Cheney administration believed that Democrats were traitors too. And journalists. And judges. So why wouldn't this administration or the next also become convinced that Republicans were a danger to society? And maybe bankers, too. And aren't drug dealers and Mafia dons also threatening the nation? Not to mention murderers and thieves. Its just so much easier to throw them all in jail without bothering with that messy and expensive and unreliable trial stuff . . .

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