Sunday, October 01, 2006

Broad Powers for a Narrow Agenda

GW Bush, who's spent the last five years trying to reduce Steve Forbes' tax bill by any means necessary, can now label those who wish to increase it as enemy combatants.

By writing into law for the first time the definition of an "unlawful enemy combatant," the bill empowers the executive branch to detain indefinitely anyone it determines to have "purposefully and materially" supported anti-U.S. hostilities.

Are you comfortable knowing this president has such powers? Are you absolutely sure he, or his designates, won't find something potentially pernicious in your library records? It may not be that bad, though, if you're an American citizen:

Only foreign nationals among those detainees can be tried by the military commissions, as they are known, and sentenced to decades in jail or put to death.

Unfortunately, there's nothing that says they can't leave you in jail until you drop dead of natural causes. Or other causes:

...the bill immunizes U.S. officials from prosecution for cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees who the military and the CIA captured before the end of last year. It gives the president a dominant but not exclusive role in setting the rules for future interrogations of terrorism suspects.

It's remarkable that American GIs sit in prison over Abu Ghraib while those who initiated it have not and now cannot be touched.

Let's hope the black boxes aren't rigged too heavily in 06.

Thanks to reality-based educator
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