I'm hardly surprised or shocked by this kind of thing any more. The NeoCons are quite simply evil, and that fact is quite clear to anyone who's been paying the least bit of attention. They do not have ethics; they do not have morals; they do not value human life - not one whit. I can think of no better summary than Keith Olbermann's recent editorial (thanks, flemco). Quoting George Orwell, Olbermann eloquently explained the NeoCons:
"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. The object of persecution, is persecution. The object of torture, is torture. The object of power, is power.
How does one man assert his power over another? By making him suffer. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. In our world, there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. A world of fear and treachery and torment. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever."
The version of the detainee bill now in the Senate not only undoes much of the McCain-Warner-Graham work, but it is actually much worse than the administration’s first proposal. In one change, the original compromise language said a suspect had the right to "examine and respond to" all evidence used against him. The three senators said the clause was necessary to avoid secret trials. The bill has now dropped the word "examine" and left only "respond to." In another change, a clause said that evidence obtained outside the United States could be admitted in court even if it had been gathered without a search warrant. But the bill now drops the words "outside the United States," which means prosecutors can ignore American legal standards on warrants.
The bill also expands the definition of an unlawful enemy combatant to cover anyone who has "has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." Quick, define "purposefully and materially." One person has already been charged with aiding terrorists because he sold a satellite TV package that includes the Hezbollah network.
The bill simply removes a suspect’s right to challenge his detention in court. This is a rule of law that goes back to the Magna Carta in 1215. That pretty much leaves the barn door open. As Vladimir Bukovsky, the Soviet dissident, wrote, an intelligence service free to torture soon "degenerates into a playground for sadists." But not unbridled sadism — you will be relieved that the compromise took out the words permitting interrogation involving "severe pain" and substituted "serious pain," which is defined as "bodily injury that involves extreme physical pain."
In July 2003, George Bush said in a speech: "The United States is committed to worldwide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example. Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes, whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit."
Fellow citizens, this bill throws out legal and moral restraints as the president deems it necessary — these are fundamental principles of basic decency, as well as law.
I’d like those supporting this evil bill to spare me one affliction: Do not, please, pretend to be shocked by the consequences of this legislation. Do not pretend to be shocked when the world begins comparing us to the Nazis.
And though I'm not surprised, what still annoys me is what a bunch of gutless, ball-less, slavering cowards the Senatorial Democrats were. If there was ever a bill that shouted out to the world "FILLIBUSTER ME!"...
I was thinking, in fact, that if it had been me, I would have stood in front of the mic, reading my battered and dog-eared copy of Snow Crash to the Senators, over and over again, until my voice was hoarse and my whole body ached from standing for days on end, until my eyes would no longer focus on the page, until lack of sleep finally cut me down where I stood, bloody but unbowed, making one desperate last-ditch effort to save my country. Finally, someone, one single person, willing to stand up and do what everyone knows is right. To stand up against what everyone knows is wrong.
I was hoping against hope that someone in the Senate might do that. I've put off posting about this for a couple of days now in just such a hope. But evidently, some jackass kid computer programmer from Colorado has better and higher morals than the entire Federal Government of the United States of America...
The bill is, of course, blatantly unconstitutional. Anyone who's actually read the 6th Amendment can tell you that. It's not even in question that this bill was consciously designed by its writers to circumvent, to deny and to destroy our Constitutional rights. You can bet, however, that the redneck 52% who just LLUUUVVV Dubya will shout from the rooftops that this is a victory for America, a victory for Democracy, and a victory for freedom.
(And another bill winding its way through the august (*cough*) halls of our nation's capital will very soon legalize warrantless wiretapping. So much for the 4th Amendment then, as well.)
Welcome to 1984. We're only 20 years behind schedule. Not bad, for a government project...