Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Say No To Torture, Yes To Justice

America should never condone torture. Such brutality is contrary to our very being. We are founded on the inherent dignity of humanity, and our inherent fallibility as well. Due to this combination of dignity and fallibility, we have enshrined certain principles, and claimed certain rights, and secured certain protections against tyranny. Equal treatment under the law is one very important principle that cannot be violated. Habeas corpus ought not to be either. If we are truly desiring to spread our principles and way of life and governance to the world, why the hell are we flushing them down the toilet 5 years after 9-11, which has not been repeated here in the homeland? And doing so in a mad rush before a mid-term election? Shame on the president and the GOP.

It's clear to me this needs to be reined in. America must not condone torture. Ever. America must not condone enshrinement of seemingly arbitrary power in a strongman. Ever. We do things a certain way around here, and these are not among them. We are not weak people, and should not be led by cowards to be cowards.

As for suspending habeas corpus, any legislation that deviates from a very literal reading of the Constitution should be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and ideally before then by our elected representatives and never passed into law. One would hope our opposition party would step up to the plate on this. The Constitution is clear on "rebellion" or "invasion" in the case of suspending habeas corpus, and picking people up on foreign battlefields doesn't meet the standard. We cannot allow a liberal interpretation of "rebellion" or "invasion" to be accepted, just to meet the policy goal. We've been twisting our Constitution and language long enough, and if Bush and the GOP really want this, make them get an amendment, as our Founders would have demanded.

More and more it really is starting to look like we're in an enduring struggle for civilization, and freedom, but not from outside threats. If Bush and the GOP want to capitulate in fear to terrorism and suspend our civil liberties tradition, the strong among us should fight them tooth and nail the whole way. We will prevail. Al Qaeda is not an existential threat to us, and neither are any other terrorists and extremists around the world at this point. We can beat them by playing our game, not theirs, and not playing into their strategies. Sometimes, the best strategy is sticking to your guns, and principles, and integrity, no matter the provocation. This is also a show of strength.