September 28, 2006 by lonbud
Well And Truly F*cked
President George W. Bush came one step closer today to wielding the power to undo nearly 800 years of human progress with the stroke of a pen.
By a vote of 65 – 34 (Maine’s Olympia Snowe could bring herself to neither a yea nor a nay on the matter), the U.S. Senate approved The Military Commissions Act of 2006, which is, in the august chamber’s quaint description, “a bill to authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and for other purposes.”
Earlier this week the House approved its version of the legislation roundly acknowledged to bestow upon the Executive authority to designate certain persons to whom the legal and humanitarian concordance of the past millennium does not apply.
The Writ of Habeas Corpus, a right to become informed of the charges upon which one might find oneself in a dungeon, or suspended above a pot of boiling oil, or strapped to the seat of an airliner on the way to a prison that doesn’t exist, or even under house arrest, a right whose observance in the year 1215 informed the very foundation of this idea we call “civilization” — that will no longer be available to some.
Articles IV, V, VI and VIII of The Bill of Rights, wherein a body’s right to be free of search or siezure absent some oath or affirmation of charge; to the due process of law in deprivation of life, liberty, or property; to be confronted with witnesses against one and to have the assistance of counsel for one’s defense; to be free of cruel and unusual punishment, all fundamental principles upon which the United States of America was founded, which have been enshrined in the fabric of our very legitimacy as a nation and a people since 1791 — those will no longer apply to some.
The Rules of War, a set of conventions and “best practices” which so-called civilized nations have been dedicated to formalizing and observing since 1864, along with very specific understandings of the rights of persons captured in wartime dating from 1949 — those will be observed no longer.
The buzz has to be staggering for the former pep squad member and notorious party boy. The best the old man could manage was selling out American hostages to win an election, and puking in the Japanese Prime Minister’s lap. The son gets to undermine the stability and security of the entire planet. The mother must be proud.