Tuesday, July 19, 2005

America Dishonored

For the first time that I know of, an American president has been declared to be a source of law instead of beholden to it. Perhaps I missed something in Civics 101, but it was my understanding that the legislature writes laws, the Supreme Court evaluates their compliance with the Constitution and the President (we hope) abides by them.


Not so in Bush-war.  In Bush-war, Geneva conventions and international agreements are for suckers. In Bush-war we make our own rules as we go and if we’re caught off base we stone-wall and then deny and if that doesn’t work we tie up the records as ‘classified’ and see if the country doesn’t just tire of the whole matter and go back to summer reruns. In Bush-war we illegally hold, illegally interrogate and illegally try our prisoners.  In Bush-war there is no limit to the methods by which we dishonor our country.


An appellate court, friendly to the administration, by three-member panel instead of the full court, last week swept aside a lower court's decision in what amounted to a general endorsement of a legal theory.  That theory postulates that the president has broad powers under the Constitution to decide how military detainees are to be handled during a time of conflict. Don’t tell me this administration doesn’t know how to pick its courts.


The panel said courts should defer to President Bush's decision in 2002 that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to detainees Bush declares as enemy combatants and that, in any event, the conventions are not enforceable by U.S. courts in lawsuits brought by foreigners.


Excuse me? The Geneva Conventions are not enforceable by U.S. courts?  The U.S. is signatory to the conventions. How much more enforceable can you get than that?


Looked on (by the administration) as a big win for the administration, the only losers are


  • Our credibility as a nation of law

  • Our reputation in the world as a humane member of the society of nations

  • Our military honor and adherence to the Uniform Code of Military Justice

  • Our captured kids in any war

  • Our opinion in any dispute involving international crimes

  • Our ability under treaty to extradite criminals

  • Every man in uniform, from recruit to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who hangs his head in shame

  • Our national pride in justice as a definition of America

The winner is the lying son-of-a-bitch who presently holds down the position of Secretary of Defense; the now Attorney General, an assailant of justice who crafted a definition of torture he should be made to endure; a Vice-President so evil, crooked and shameless that he ought to permanently remain in an undisclosed location and, finally, a President who is philosophical father to them all, George Walker Bush.


The briefs presented to this shamefully contrived panel were not lightweight.  Seven retired senior military officers and lawyers warned in a joint statement that if the commissions are allowed to proceed unchecked, foreign tyrants will organize similar court hearings for U.S. military personnel and "hide their oppression under U.S. precedent."  A group of 305 current and former European politicians, said in their court brief that letting the commissions proceed as planned would place the United States in breach of international law and undermine the due process rights of individuals affected by the war on terrorism.


In the face of that, the Justice Department argued weakly that if Bush’s kangaroo-court commissions (my definition, not theirs) are not allowed to go forward, security breaches could result, slowing the war on terrorism.  It might have suggested that if the commissions are allowed, the Justice Department will no longer deserve its name.  Imagine the video . . . a jihadist holding a soldier by the hair, announcing that, like Bush, he was declaring his own justice and then beheading the prisoner?  This kind of scene will no doubt happen anyway, but this spineless, silly, outrageous panel of judicial idiots has just given the enemy an equal status in law.


And to think we actually almost impeached a president for a blow-job.


There are lots more things that make me nuts, all of them on my personal web site.