America the not so beautiful | Bleader

America the not so beautiful


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Give up your grudges! It's time to forget President Bush's many blunders (Katrina, for starters) and bad policies (invading Iraq instead of building up Afghanistan). There is much worse afoot. Although it sounds like a bad role-playing-game scenario, Bush is now at the point of obtaining what can only be described as despotic powers, through what's called the "detainee measure" or the "law on military commissions." The Washington Post story is here, and today's update is here.

Glenn Greenwald summarizes at Salon (you'll have to view a brief ad). But if you're in a hurry, Andrew Sullivan does it quicker:

"This bill would give the Bush administration the power to imprison people for their entire lives, literally, without so much as charging them with any wrongdoing or giving them any forum in which to contest the accusations against them. It thus vests in the administration the singularly most tyrannical power that exists--namely, the power unilaterally to decree someone guilty of a crime and to condemn the accused to eternal imprisonment without having even to charge him with a crime, let alone defend the validity of those accusations. . . .

"The changes that the administration reportedly secured over the weekend for this 'compromise' legislation [negotiating with John McCain and other "independent" Republicans] make an already dangerous bill much worse. Specifically, the changes expand the definition of who can be declared an 'enemy combatant' (and therefore permanently detained and tortured) from someone who has 'engaged in hostilities against the United States' (meaning actually participated in war on a battlefield) to someone who has merely 'purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States.'  . . .

"Expanding the definition in that way would authorize, as Kate Martin of the Center for National Security Studies points out, the administration's 'seizure and indefinite detention of people far from the battlefield.' The administration would be able to abduct anyone, anywhere in the world, whom George W. Bush secretly decrees has 'supported' hostilities against the United States. And then they could imprison any such persons at Guantánamo -- even torture them -- forever, without ever having to prove anything to any tribunal or commission." 

Dude, where's my country?