Year One of the Empire
Bush: Resistance is Illogical
by Juan Cole
Bush and a supine, cowardly Congress shredded the US Constitution on Tuesday, abolishing the right of a court review (habeas corpus) for some classes of suspect. Suspect, mind you, not proven criminal.
In other words, we have to be confident that George W. Bush is so competent, all-knowing, and inherently just that we can just trust him. If he says someone is an enemy combatant, then he or she is. No need to check with a judge about why he or she is being held. And then Bush can have the suspect tortured to make him confess, and can convict him on the basis of the coerced confession, all in secret.
This law creates two classes of persons inside the United States, citizens with rights and non-citizens (12 million persons? Equivalent to the entire state of Michigan!) without rights.
Basically, Bush can issue them what the French kings used to call the French kings used to call lettres de cachet.:
"In French history, lettres de cachet were letters signed by the king of France, countersigned by one of his ministers, and closed with the royal seal, or cachet. They contained orders directly from the king, often to enforce arbitrary actions and judgements that could not be appealed..."
We Americans made a revolution against such arbitrary practices of the French and other Empires.
Article 1, Section 9 of the US Constitution says, "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."
I look out my window. I don't see a general Rebellion or an invasion by a foreign power. The conditions, under which the right of the imprisoned to demand that a court establish whether there are genuine grounds to hold him is suspended, are absent.
The law is unconstitutional.
Moreover, our founding documents did not admit of a distinction among human beings with regard to rights. The Declaration of Independence says:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."
All men here means all human beings. It says they are all created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights. All of them. Not some of them.
Of course we have had these periods of neo-Monarchy and temporary insanity before in our history. There was the Alien and Sedition Act, and the Red Scare after World War I, etc.
King George came on O'Reilly and said that it is "illogical" and said that it is "illogical" to disagree with his policies in Iraq and branded arguments that he is drifting along without a plan "propaganda."
Bush sounds more and more like the Borg every day. I swear to God, next we are going to get up in the morning and hear him proclaim, "Resistance is futile!"
So of course eventually Bush-think will lead to attempts to cure those of us who are critical of him of our illogicality, and to suppress our "propaganda." We'll all be right-thinking non-propagandists after a little water-boarding. You say we don't have to worry about that because we are citizens? But what is to stop Bush from declaring you an enemy combatant and stripping you of your citizenship? And then keeping you away from any civil court where those letters of cachet can be challenged?
The Republic is Dead, Long Live the Republic.
You want a resurrection of the Republic?
Join the American Civil Liberties Union and send it lots of money.
Proud to be an American?