Friday, October 06, 2006

Maybe I'm Not Getting It...

There seems to be a question about the newly minted "Military Commissions Act of 2006" where essentially habeas corpus has been suspended.

The question is, suspended for whom?

It's hard to tell by the language of the act if it means just non-citizens (as this article seems to say), or if American citizens can be declared an "enemy combatant" and shoved in a deep hole forever, too.


Once in a while I need to inquire what those around me think, because I doubt my understanding of the issue and wonder if there's something I'm missing. Please let me know where I might be wrong here.

Here's the thing: I'm not sure if it bothers me that the Pres - even Bush - can finger a non-citizen as an enemy and remove them as threat. Even though I'm a liberal, I feel that many folks in the Middle East from Islamic nations just want us gone (as in dead) or converted to Islam - in short, I think it's pretty clear that they do have hostile intentions (or at least their political and religious leaders do). So if our government needs to stick someone from another country in a prison to keep us safe, I think they should be able to. They shouldn't be able to torture them, or even imprison them forever (which I think the act allows, which is bad). But hold them for a while? Why not?

(Hell, if I were Pres right now, I'd close the boarders to all Middle Eastern and Islamic nations for now. Naturalized citizens could stay, but everyone else - students and green cards - out out out!)

Now if it allows the same power over citizens, well then fuck no.

That would be abused nearly immediately because we know many many wingnut Republicans who'd quietly put innocent American citizens in jail just because they could. There's no question about that. (Check out this movie and see what they did to Susan McDougal.)

But a foreigner that can't technically be a political enemy, but can be someone with obvious hostile intent against America? Yeah, lock'em up.

(For the record, I don't think there's a country in the world that DOESN'T do this. Maybe France and Denmark don't. I dunno.)

Help me out. How fucked in the head am I? Or am I? (On the assumption this new power doesn't extend to American citizens.)


The 2blowhards linked to this interesting article about first-hand experience in the Middle East, which in turn had a link to an account of Jill Carroll who was kidnapped, which I've converted into a PDF (right-click to download) because the Christian Science Monitor article requires you to click so many links the article is hard to read.

Short version: we are dealing with people so radically unlike us, we can assume nothing about their motivations or resulting actions.

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