Friday, September 29, 2006

The Torture Act of 2006

Today is a sad day for the republic. President Bush continues to push the country toward tyranny and the rubber-stamp Republican Congress complied, passing the "Detainee Treatment Act." While not as expansive as he had originally hoped for, it gives the President broad leeway to strip the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of anyone he deems to be an enemy. It institutionalizes torture, and flatly denies the judiciary the power of review that it has had since John Marshall. We will be the first civilized country that executes people without showing them the evidence against them and using evidence obtained through torture.

Bush claims he needs this power to fight this unprecedented war against any enemy who threatens us like never before. Forget the fact that the nation does not face an existential threat as it has in the past. Forget the fact that torture does not produce actionable intelligence but only what the torturer wants to hear. If there ever were a ticking time-bomb, "Jack Bauer" scenario that called for extreme measures, the president always had the power to pardon someone who chose to break the law to save innocent lives. Instead, this president wants to institutionalize torture and the revocation of rights. The right to commit cruel and inhumane treatment at the president's discretion will now be codified in law. We should all be ashamed.

At this point, the rule of law in the United States is a joke. Instead, this president has nothing but contempt for any rule other than his "gut". He is backed up by authoritarian Republicans who have learned nothing from our nations struggles with with fascism and communism, other than than a sick admiration for their tactics and policies. They have sold their souls to the devil and are taking the rest of us along with them. Unless a Democratic Congress is elected this fall, our only hope is in the Supreme Court. Let's pray that there are still a few judges who believe in the Constitution.

In particular, John McCain sold out in a grand way on this issue. His initial tough stand was admirable, but apparently he chose to sacrifice his principles in order to maintain peace with the party powers who could give him the nomination in 2008. I liked McCain and thought he had what it takes to bring the GOP back from the abyss of authoritarianism. But they may be too far gone, and the only way to get elected with that party seems to be to pander to religious fanatics, corrupt swindlers, and those who think 1984 is a good example of how government should work. I used to think I could vote for McCain, but now I am not so sure. I wonder if the GOP is so rotten to the core that it cannot be saved.


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