Monday, October 02, 2006

The War on Civil Liberties & the Military Commissions Act of 2006

The satirist Bill Hicks once warned that the War on Drugs is really a war on personal liberty. The same is true of the War on Terror.

I've often wondered why the Bush administration uses torture when it doesn't deliver good intelligence, people will admit to anything under torture. Juan Cole suggests that maybe these false confessions are exactly what the Bush Administration is after to support its never-ending war on terror. Cole writes:
Why is the Bush administration so attached to torturing people that it would pressure a supine Congress into raping the US constitution by explicitly permitting some torture techniques and abolishing habeas corpus for certain categories of prisoners? [...]

Boys and girls, it is because torture is what provides evidence for large important networks of terrorists where there aren't really any, or aren't very many, or aren't enough to justify 800 military bases and a $500 billion military budget.|Informed Comment|(emphasis added)
Over at the Bellman we've been discussing the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, some bloggers contend that the Supreme Court will probably approve of this power grab, while the Law Librarian Blog has a post quoting Eugene R. Fidell current president of the National Institute of Military Justice for the proposition that the denial of habeus corpus jurisdiction is unconstitutional.

Now, these issues will undoubtedly take years to wind through the courts and therefore the Military Commissions Act is now the law of the land, at least until the Court gets around to reviewing it. And it's impossible to predict how the Court might rule because the underlying facts of a challenge will influence the Court's ability to address the issues.

This law is not the end of the Republic, but I think it is several nails in the coffin.

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