Tuesday, September 26, 2006
GOP Justice: Torture... it ain't just for Jesus
As America gets ready to toss aside the Western world's 800 yr tradition of habeas corpus, (and toss it aside we most probably will, even for all of us US citizens, who can be deemed enemy combatants b/c the newly negotiated bill allows for this bloodcurdling bit: "The definition applies to foreigners living inside or outside the United States and does not rule out the possibility of designating a US citizen as an unlawful combatant." ) and despite a pesky lil point that Sen Arlen Specter has raised about the deal, saying that it would suspend a fundamental legal right against unlawful detention, we actually have people not only justifying the use of torture, but we also have op/ed columnists saying this: "Habeas corpus is not needed: We didn’t try prisoners during WWII. Why should we start now?" by James Robbins. This op/ed made my blood chill. Not only b/c it was advocating chucking habeas corpus into a garbage heap, but also b/c he was wrong. Robbins says: "Extending the rights of habeas corpus to individuals detained during the war on terrorism would be an unnecessary and dangerous step. The foreign detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere do not have the same status as criminals. These people are not being held for rehabilitation or as punishment. The detainees are precisely that, detained. Some are useful for purposes of intelligence exploitation. Others are held simply to keep them from returning to the battlefield to kill Americans. Furthermore, it is not as though all detainees are held for life, and it is not true that the detainees have been held without due process. The debate over the McCain amendment to the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 was an attempt to define exactly what process was due. Congress chose not to include habeas corpus in this bundle of rights, leaving the question of detainee status to the Combatant Status Review Tribunals. The Constitution gives Congress the right to suspend the "privilege" of habeas corpus in the interest of public safety." Now I can only guess that Robbins is either stupid, a blatant liar, or simply chose to ignore these nasty lil facts, according to US military and governmental documents on Gitmo detainees (PDF): "More than half the prisoners have been determined NOT to have been involved in ANY violent or hostile activity against the US/coalition forces. 1) Only 8% of the detainees were characterized as al Qaeda fighters. Of the remaining detainees, 40% have no definitive connection with al Qaeda at all and 18% have no definitive affiliation with either al Qaeda or the Taliban. 2) 86% of the detainees were sold by Pakistani or Northern Alliance figures to the US for a considerable bounty. 3) This war on terror has no declared end in sight or definition of what exactly would bring an end to our govt's hostilities in this region of the world. So, it makes sense that these detainees should be able to challenge the legality of their detention. 4) The Constitution allows for suspension of Habeus Corpus for reasons of 'Insurrection or Invasion', neither of which have happened. 5) Our Constitution's 5th Amendment guarantees every citizen the right to due process, in addition, as signatories of the Geneva Conventions, the US is bound to respect Article III. Robbins goes on w/his lie-filled spew: "According to the Geneva Conventions, prisoners (even legitimate POWs) may be held for the duration of hostilities without trials. We did not try prisoners during World War II, for example. The notion would have been thought absurd. Some have observed that the detainees potentially face lifetime detention if hostilities continue, but this is because their leaders refuse to end their jihad against the US." Well, captured Nazi prisoners were given military tribunals during the war, and after the war, prisoners were tried in world courts. Waterboarding was precisely 1 of the war crimes we were able to find the Japanese guilty of commiting against our captured men. And since we are discussing WWII war actions and crimes that were once considered crimes but suddenly under BushCo are not, I guess someone should have clued in WWII Col/ former Pres Eisenhower about habeas corpus, b/c he made his feelings crystal clear about the esteemed position he felt it deserved in American society: "Why are we proud? We are proud, first of all, because from the beginning of this Nation, a man can walk upright, no matter who he is, or who she is. He can walk upright and meet his friend--or his enemy; and he does not fear that because that enemy may be in a position of great power that he can be suddenly thrown in jail to rot there without charges and with no recourse to justice. We have the habeas corpus act, and we respect it." And even if these GOP war/ torture fans wanted to somehow justify torture and the chucking aside of habeas corpus, how can they possibily do so while at the same time they are trying to ram thru HR 2679-- the "Christian Theocracy Act"? According to Christians (and we all know these Repukes simply embody the very loving and peaceful spirit of Christianity, no?) Jesus is THE ultimate symbol of the unspeakable horrors of state sponsored torture. So, am I missing something here? Oh... right... as these Theo-Cons spread around "liberty, the Gospel of Jesus, and democracy" around the globe, I guess it is high time that torture isn't just for Jesus anymore, huh?