Friday, June 13, 2008

Bush Flaunts Rule of Law

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The United States Supreme Court does not bother itself much with what is Constitutional, or else its rulings in the past would have better reflected that concern. Therefore, it came as a great surprise to me to see the court's recent ruling regarding the treatment of prisoners taken by our military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For a number of years before this ruling, those captured by our military in battle have been labeled "enemy combatants," and not "prisoners of war," as had previously been done. This was done by the Bush administration in order that our prisoners need not be given the protections traditionally accorded by us to "prisoners of war," since they were not called by that name.

In the view of Bush and his advisors, giving the name of "enemy combatants" to those who the U.S. military captured, justified treating those prisoners as non-persons who could be indefinitely held in our prisons and be subjected to any type of inhumane treatment--all in the name of "national security," of course.

Such lawyer's logic as this, where a prisoner of war's personhood magically disappears by calling him an "enemy combatant," was used to justify an even more egregious violation of rights. The most disturbing part of Bush's "enemy combatant" policy was that it did not make any distinctions between American citizens and non-citizens.

This was no surprise considering that once our President started taking away human rights from prisoners of war, what was to stop him from taking Constitutional rights away from American citizens? In fact, what was to stop him from doing anything he wanted if it was merely done in the name of "national security?"

Jose Padilla was an American citizen who was arrested in 2002 on allegations that he planned to commit "acts of terror." Mr. Padilla was not afforded his Constitutional rights and afforded "due process" of the law, nor was he "informed of the nature and cause of the accusation" against him as the sixth amendment, but was instead classified as an "enemy combatant" at the request of President Bush and subsequently sent to a Navy brig in South Carolina.

Padilla was held there for three and a half years before finally receiving access to a trial--hardly a "speedy trial" as is required in the Bill of Rights, which was written to prevent the type of travesty which I have just described.

However, Mr. Padilla was lucky not to appear before a "military tribunal" the type of venue which most "enemy combatants" who are tried, appear at. Detainees tried at a "tribunal" are not allowed to see the charges against them, and evidence extracted from them by torture and coercion is allowed. It is not surprising that our military tribunals never have any acquittals.

The U.S. Supreme Court has done a great service to our Constitution by striking down such treatment of "enemy combatants." Nevertheless, our "conservative" Chief Justice, John Roberts, in his dissent, ruled in favor of letting our President arbitrarily take away the rights of citizens and prisoners of war, because the "generous" protections that are in place--as if having one's rights taken away is at all a "generous" practice.

Our Constitution was written to be followed, not nullified at George W. Bush's "generous" discretion. Likewise, the Geneva Convention was agreed to by the United States and many other nations in order that prisoners of war would be treated humanely and not as non-persons.

The fact that the United States has reached a point in time where human rights are being taken away from our citizens and our prisoners of war just because the President "says" that it is required for our "national security," shows that we are getting hopelessly lost in our own hysteria and self-righteousness.

The Presidency was established to make sure that our Constitution is protected and our laws are followed. The President, in essence, is supposed to be a caretaker--a guardian of the Constitution, which written to codify our rights in order that they are protected. Our Declaration of Independence--the first building block of our great nation, was written upon the belief that all man are created "equal" and born with inherent natural rights from their creator--which no man has the right to arbitrarily take away.

The Constitution also requires the President to make sure that the treaties which our nation signs and the Senate passes, such as the Geneva Convention, are followed--and not abrogated by made-up technicalities such as labeling prisoners of war as "enemy combatants," in order not to give them the very protections that we promised them when we signed the Geneva Convention and ratified it in the first place.

Our President is supposed to be the chief executive of our nation, not "the decider," as he seems to think he is. His position requires him to defend our nation by following our laws as they are written, not to "decide what is best.'' If we were, indeed, ruled by the President's opinion, there would be no need for laws--or the Constitution, for that matter. In fact, George W. Bush's view of presidential power sounds eerily like the ruler (also named George), whose disdain for the rule of law caused this country to be started in the first place.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is funny how you never miss a chance to take cheap shot at Israel and Mexico and well as many other American allies, but you cry foul when the terrorists who were behind 9/11 are quite treated as regular American. Meanwhile you had no problem when Saddam raped women and children. Why are innocent Iraqi citizens entitled to no rights, but terrorists are? You are very selective in applying the Geneva Convention. I fear that you have totally lost your mind Peter.

OHIO JOE

Peter said...

Where did I mention Mexico or Israel?

Due to the previous rules set by Bush which the Supreme Court struck down, the U.S. Government was allowed to arrest anyone they wanted, for whatever reason, and hold them for as long as they wanted--including AMERICAN CITIZENS.

Is that the kind of country you want to live in???

Anonymous said...

In this particular post you did not mention Israel or Mexico, but you have mentioned them in previous posts. I believe that you have spoken strongly against illegal immigration from Mexico. I am neither Pro-Mexico or anti Mexico, so in and of itself, I do not care what you think about the issue. What I do find interesting is that Mexicans for all that they may or may not have done, they did not cause 9/11. I do not mind it if you are going to protect our Southern border, but then you should be consistent and want to promote the security of the whole country, not just the border region.

The fact of the matter is that the U.S. government does not go around arresting anybody. It only detain terrorists or those that they have great reason to believe that they are terrorists. I know a Marine who has been to Club Gitmo. These are not nice characters. Several previous Administration throughout American History rounded up several more such character during times of war. I dare say that former Presidents would not tolerate such criticism of war policy, but since Mr. Bush believe in Democracy, he let you say what you want regardless of how it might effect the country. Please note, I am specifically referring to the effect of your actions, I am not questioning your Patriotism.

Yes, America is the type of country I want to live in. I realize to some that I may look like a slightly suspicious character so I do mind taking off my shoes of being search at an airport to give peace of mind to my fellow passengers. However, I have no fear that I will be picked up and send to Club Gitmo. Unlike other characters in Club Gitmo, I do not trash this country and kill its soldiers. I am not an enemy combatant, so I have so fear from this Administration. Quite frankly, what I do fear is Fruit-loops who think this country is out to arrest anybody and anyone and put them in jail. This happens in other countries, not this one.

What really take the cake is that some of the same characters who accuse Mr. Bush of taking away our right will be the first to cry when we have the next terrorist incident on our soil.

OHIO JOE

Peter said...

It doesn't matter if they use it or not. Government should not be giving itself the power to arrest whoever they want for whatever reason and to hold them as they long as the please.

Any citizen who cared about this country would be concerned about such an abuse and not blindly follow it because the President says it's for their "security."

RTS said...

Bush and McCain may not get it but,Bob Barr does.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Barr may be good on a few issues, but foreign policy is not one of them. It is Mr. Bush that has kept us safe from terrorism, not Mr. Barr. People like Mr. Barr hide behind the constitution, but if they read the constitution, they would realize that during times of war Mr. Bush has every right to do what he is doing.

Mr. Bush has been proven right and Mr. Barr is either wrong or he does not mind pandering to the extreme Left. Those of you who think that Mr. Bush is so fruit loops that he would not care about the security of this country should look in the miror and be ashamed. If this is this kind of thinking behind Mr. Barr than he does not care about my children or yours.

It is too bad because, Mr. Barr is a sharp cookie on many issue, but his understanding of national security and foreign policy is lacking.

OHIO JOE

Peter said...

Why, because he doesn't want to start wars that have nothing to do with our national security?

Anonymous said...

The overall War started on 9/11/2001. Unfortunately, he does not realize this.

OHIO JOE

Peter said...

A worldwide "war on terror" is swell, but there's one little problem:

We don't have the money and the soldiers to fight it!!!

Anonymous said...

Ohio Joe, you are one pathetic guy. Bush destroyed America. He did not make it safe.