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The Talking Heads

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Last Sunday, I was flipping channels on the television when I came upon The McLaughlin Group. I've only occasionally watched this program because the contestants (aka hosts) tend to resort to yelling at each other when the conversation becomes heated. They were discussing the recent Supreme Court ruling about Hamdan's detention at Gitmo so I decided to watch for a bit. I almost fell out of my chair when I heard the following exchange between McLaughlin and O'Donnell:
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit Q On a blessing-in-disguise scale, zero to 10, zero meaning zero blessing and 10 meaning papal blessing, Benedict XVI, what's the blessing in disguise of the Supreme Court ruling for President Bush?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think it'll give more legitimacy to everything that he does if he works with the Congress. I think that is absolutely essential to going forward and doing what he has to do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fear trumps civil liberties.

MS. CLIFT: It will give a lot of Republicans nervous about losing the election in November an excuse to talk about how tough they want to be on terrorists and how we really shouldn't abide by the Geneva Conventions.


MR. BLANKLEY: Well, it's not really in disguise, but the good news or the blessing for the president is that the Supreme Court has upheld all of the conditions at Gitmo that all of his opponents have been criticizing him for.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you say it's a blessing in disguise of a 10.

MR. BLANKLEY: On that issue. It's not in disguise, but for those who --

MR. O'DONNELL: But the court said very specifically you can't torture. They're saying very specifically you can't do some of the things that we have heard may be occurring at Gitmo. And so they have limited what can go on during the incarceration.

But what they absolutely continue to allow is we can hold any one of these people, not accuse them of anything, simply say they are a military combatant, and we can hold them for as long as we say the war on terror continues, which could be 50 years.
None of the other guests even objected to O'Donnell's assertion that the Gitmo detainees could be imprisoned indefinitely. Not one even batted an eye.
"What's the problem?" you ask. We must remember that when the U.S. was moving across Afghanistan, they put out a bounty on all suspected al Qaeda members. Afghanis soon discovered that a decent amount of money could be made by kidnapping fellow Afghanis and turning them in for the reward. Am I saying that all those at Gitmo are innocent? Absolutely not. But this is where the justice system is suppose to kick in. It is suppose to weed out those who were swept up by accident and spit them out of the system. Those who administer our brand of justice via a barrel of a gun have managed to short-circuit the system. Now, we see indefinite incarcerations for individuals whom may not be guilty of anything more than being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
And don't think for a moment that this can't happen, because this sort of thing does happen all the time. It's happened all throughout human history. In an effort to combat this type of infringement on our liberties, we demanded that, "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." (Article One, section Nine). Notice that this rule doesn't make the distinction between citizen and non-citizen. It is a rule that prohibits Congress from acting in a certain way. Again, it makes no distinction of what class of person can utilize writs of habeas corpus.
I find it alarming that the talking heads on the boob-tube are so ignorant of our basic rights. They find it completely acceptable to sit idly by while one of their own bloviates about how great it is for Leviathan to trample upon the liberties of individuals who themselves stand no chance of receiving any justice. These are the same people who wonder out loud why the rest of the world hates us.
Gee... I think I may know why!


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