Bush’s Detainee Bill was okayed by the Senate yesterday evening by a 65-34 vote.
The Senate on Thursday endorsed President Bush’s plans to prosecute and interrogate terror suspects, all but sealing congressional approval for legislation that Republicans intend to use on the campaign trail to assert their toughness on terrorism.
Polimom’s written on this subject a number of times, and there’s little more I can add this morning. Time for some mental conditioning.
The way to show one’s “toughness on terror” is to abrogate habeas corpus — the fundamental protection of an individual from the power of government, and specifically the Executive Branch.
This isn’t a suspension á la Abraham Lincoln; this is codified law. But we’re okay, because this government would never abuse its power; they’re looking out for us.
The United States isn’t in a traditional war that might one day end; we’re in this (we’re told) for the long haul. Generations, perhaps. That’s a very long time for someone to be detained without recourse, don’t you think? But not to worry… the government is making us all safer, and without this bill, the terrorists would be on our front porches.
I gather that people who have supported this bill don’t mind that “enemy combatant” isn’t limited to people from other countries, right? (LA Times)
The compromise legislation, which is racing toward the White House, authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights.
This dangerous compromise not only authorizes the president to seize and hold terrorists who have fought against our troops “during an armed conflict,” it also allows him to seize anybody who has “purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States.” This grants the president enormous power over citizens and legal residents. They can be designated as enemy combatants if they have contributed money to a Middle Eastern charity, and they can be held indefinitely in a military prison.
If it’s not just terrorists from overseas, or fighters, everybody’s comfortable with this too, right? They can’t visualize any situations where innocent people might be caught up in a web. It’s really not a problem if a person is mistakenly pulled in… even though they have no recourse to review of their situation. If they were really innocent, they wouldn’t have been under suspicion anyway… right? Because this government is going to be careful. And of course, Bruce Ackerman must be wrong, because… well…
We should all be at ease with the possibility of our own citizens dropping into irretrievable holes in other countries. We won’t mind that at all, as a nation. Our government will be very understanding; after all, we’re in this together. (Note: if this sounds a tad unlikely to you, you’re probably a terrorist sympathizer. It’s not at all political,though.)
It’s all for the greater good… and the people we’re fighting are doing it to us already. They started it.
It’s bad, but not very bad. Glenn Greenwald provides a great example of how we should be handling our consciences:
During the debate on his amendment, Arlen Specter said that the bill sends us back 900 years because it denies habeas corpus rights and allows the President to detain people indefinitely. He also said the bill violates core Constitutional protections. Then he voted for it.
Clearly, Specter’s tough on terror, and he’s safely in the right camp. He’s a model for how a proper patriot should be supporting our Executive Branch in its quest to save us all.
It’s all good. It’ll all be okay. (Repeat)