Today is a tragic day (9-29-2006). It will be a day that will live in infamy for every American citizen. For over two-hundred years the USA has been the beacon of a country that was governed by laws, not men. The US Constitution guaranteed each of its citizens Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
However, the dawn of the end is nigh.
One of the strongest guarantees in the Law of the US was Habeas Corpus. In (very) general terms, Habeas Corpus "is a civil (as opposed to a criminal) proceeding in which the court inquires as to the legitimacy of a prisoner's custody". Typically, habeas corpus proceedings investigate whether a criminal trial was conducted fairly and
constitutionally after the criminal appellate process is exhausted.
Habeas corpus is also used as a legal avenue to challenge other types of custody such as pretrial detention or detention by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement pursuant to a deportation proceeding." (as quoted from the Inter-web's own wiki-pedia).
This guarantee has been squashed today in the US Senate with the passing of the Detainee Bill. The Bill also exonerates the Bush administration for past indiscretions when, before this Bill was passed, torture and the authorizing of torture was considered illegal in the US and Geneva Convention.
Hey, gotta cover his ass, right?
It's scary enough that the folks who wrote up this bill - self-professed Christians who wrongly believe that Jesus of Nazareth would approve of torturing one of God's children - are so eager to use torture even though torture has been proven not to work.
And even if it did work to some degree (which it doesn't), we, as the United States of America, are supposed to hold ourselves to a higher standard of human rights proponents.
We're supposedly the beacon of law and an inspiration to others on how we treat not only our citizens, but also our prisoners of war. However, with this current administration we do neither.
And the truly scary thing is, with the passing of this new bill I am putting my life at risk for even writing this short commentary.
But beyond the ugliness of torture, this bill lets Bush determine who an "enemy combatant" is. The bill says that the government has a right to detain anyone who "Purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." This could literally mean anyone.
The Bush administration has already made it very clear that they are vehemently impatient with any criticism of their practices or the Iraq war. This bill gives the president the broad power to capture, indefinitely detain, and refuse a hearing to any