This afternoon, the President signed the much contested detainee treatment bill. Supposedly, the law sends a clear message, but Dan Froomkin does an excellent job of debunking such a myth. It’s not just opinion columnists from the Washington Post on this either; one political action committee has spelled out why this is such a bad idea.

The American people need to face the fact that this is an abuse of Presidential discretion and legislative power. Initially, the law probably runs afoul of the Constitution. Presuming for the sake of argument that it doesn’t (an issue left for a post elsewhere), this bill would devolve liberty and democracy to a state not seen in this country since the Civil War. Realistically, Bush isn’t the great leader that Lincoln was, nor is he up against the dire situation presented to the President during the Civil War. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, much like the detainee law seems to attempt, but it wasn’t legal then either. The difference is that those prosecuted by military tribunal were members of an army waging war on the greater United States, each of whom committed treason as define by the Constitution. Moreover, the Civil War had a terminus where the “war on terror” suffers from the ambiguity of American political rhetoric that makes it perpetuate itself ad infinitum.

We lack such a venomous threat to liberty and country now to justify the flagrant abuse of the political system in this manner. This law may go a “long way” to demonstrating how Republicans take a hard-line approach to the so-called “war on terror” but it also demonstrates they take a hard-line against the liberty of the American people. Never has Congress acted in such brazen disregard of the interests Americans. Never should such an act by those who represent the people be tolerated.

By: R. Andrew Smith
For a more detailed analysis on this topic by theDonnybrook, visit The Grey Area.

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