Thursday, September 28, 2006

Liberty, and Justice for All?

By abdicating their principals to save their political asses the following Democrats have proven that they are unfit to hold office: Ohio Senate candidate Sherrod Brown (normally one of the most reliably liberal members of the House), Tennessee Senate contender Harold Ford, as well as imperiled House incumbents Leonard Boswell (Iowa) and Melissa Bean (Illinois). The foregoing defected from the party and voted for the Bush terror bill. It astonishes me that these individuals can show their faces to their constituents. What is the difference between them and their Republican opponents? Why not ask the Democrats of those states to stay home on Election Day. This is the most important Civil Liberties legislation of this century and the four politicians above cast their vote for this odious bill to further their clearly unprincipled political futures.

Salon had a good piece on the Democrat’s spineless response to Bush’s bullying: “Leahy was clearly frustrated by the white-flag mood among some Senate Democrats. As he said in an interview, "In my own caucus, people say, 'We can't oppose this, look what happened to Max Cleland.'" (A Vietnam veteran confined to a wheelchair because of war wounds, Cleland, a Georgia senator, was defeated by GOP attacks ads in 2002 because he had supported a Democratic filibuster delaying the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security). Leahy recounted that his weak-kneed Democratic colleagues also argue, "'We have to go along with it because we'll never be able to explain it back home.'" That prompted the Vermont senator to add, "Maybe one way to explain it is to say, 'I stood up for you and your rights.'"
Here is a taste of what is in this bill that the Democrat’s can’t seem to muster the will to stop. Current Pentagon regulations describe an enemy combatant as anyone who "engages in acts" against the United States. The new legislation would broaden that to also include anyone who "has purposely and materially supported hostilities" against America. And elsewhere in the bill an enemy combatant is defined as anyone so designated by a new Defense Department entity, the Combatant Status Review Tribunal. None of these terms are defined. People prosecuted under this statute have no mechanism to challenge their prosecution. This is a problem, no?
As I have noted here before, rushing this bill through the Senate underscores the dangers of negotiating with the Bush administration fanatics after they have taken a hard and unreasonable position. When dealing with the devil, everyone gets burned. Let’s be clear my fellow Americans: There is a bill pending before the United States Senate which allows the administration to hold people in prison, indefinitely, without judicial review, or even charges being levied against them. During this period of indefinite detention the CIA is allowed to torture these people to extract information and then use that information as evidence in a secret military tribunal. Why is no one in the media freaking out about this? Have we become so neutered by our televisions and consumer culture that out freedoms no longer matter?

2 comments:

Paul said...

Sorry, but ultimately it is all about winning. That is the game the republicans play - so we democrats should too. Just imagine what the senate will look and sound like when those committee chairs shift - and with George Allen in such deep trouble, there is actually a shot at it happening. Holier than thou doesn't win elections west of the hudson

Mark said...

Well, what do we win? An irreprably damaged Constitution and a permissive attitude towards torture? And who's to say that we can't win by standing up for our values?