GITMO and Habeas Corpus

Last Saturday, in the quaint village of AustinShire, Texas, a number of panels discussed some pretty heady and nasty topics. Among the worst was a panel made up of Vince Warren, Jameel Jaffer, Dahlia Lithwick, and Jeremy Scahill. They discussed Gitmo, the attack on Habeas Corpus, the eradication of the US Constitution, and together, they painted a dreary picture about what America has done to innocents, citizens of other countries, and more.

I’d rather not go through each and every detail they raised, but suffice it to say that each speaker had amassed a great deal of data and experience. Sharing that collective wisdom, knowledge and experience with the audience caused a whole range of emotions. Concern, anger, determination, and to a some degree, fear.

I suspect that even today, most people don’t give much thought to the constitution. About 4 years ago, after the first rumors of torture by US soldiers, CIA interrogators and mercenaries, I began carrying one around. Not only had we taken that lovely document for granted, a combination of a couple of things interfered with clear-headed analysis of our nation’s status and future, as well as hiding just how damaged our constitution has become.

First of all, deliberately inflicting America with fear and foreboding. This administration worked hard to instill a a feeling of unease, even fear, with a remarkable display of PR, spin, and judicious leaks. Security alerts, Code Orange, duct tape, plastic sheeting, announcements of arrests of terrorists, and the use of paid stenographers (Judy Miller) and bribed journalists were spiced up with our military to convince us that our fears were grounded in fact. The military deliberately broke US law by conducting propaganda against the US itself, to create a pliable, obedient, and compliant society. Sheeple, in other words.

On top of that, we were told repeatedly that we were currently at risk and under attack, and always that we were at war. Worse yet, the enemy had strange customs, spoke different languages, and did strange things like pray many times during the day. They had nukes, they had biological weapons, they had strange accents, and they hated us for our freedoms.

Obviously, one solution imposed by Bush/Cheney, with the help of a politicized Department of Justice, was to remove our pesky freedoms and constitutional protections. If enough of our freedoms were taken away, it seemed, those rag-headed terra-ists wouldn’t bother with us anymore.

The Government did not stop with the attack on our rights and constitutional guarantees, but instead, they expanded it those of other people. Illegal renditions, secret prisons, kidnappings, and worse. Now we know that more than 55% of the Gitmo detainees were innocent of terrorism, war crimes, or even pissing downwind in our general direction, ACCORDING TO THE BASE COMMANDER OF GITMO!

The violations of the Geneva Conventions were not mere mistakes by a few lowly, out of control, misguided soldiers. No, this was official, although secret, US Policy, coming directly from the White House, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Addington, Yoo, Gonzales, George W. Bush, and other miscreants and war criminals.

At some point in time, Crooks and Liars, C-SPAN, or other outlets will have the video of this conference. When it pops up, I will edit this and add that information.

Watch the conference. Get as angry and worried and uncomfortable, even mad as hell as the rest of the audience did last week. The idea that America has sunk to such depths is still jaw-dropping.

The point every speaker made was this: We should not seek the impeachment or trial of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld or others as a form of retribution, as a political weapon, or just because we feel like it. Not only would it be counter-productive, it might even create sympathy for those criminals.

To the contrary, we MUST seek impeachment and war crimes trials for an entirely different reason. They broke the law, US law, international, and many treaties, conventions and statutes. If I murder someone, the chances of my going to trial are pretty good, even if we elect a new State’s attorney, governor, or even president. Why? Because I broke the law, and I am responsible for my crimes, regardless of who wins those offices. That same standard applies to the president and his top aides. They broke the law, and they must suffer the consequences. If we fail to uphold the law and prosecute now, then 200+ years of American jurisprudence, of the rule of law, and of what makes America so special will be tossed out as being inconvenient or hard.

America is better than that.

I hope.

Comments

  1. almandine

    My apologies Rob –

    For being phished into the faith debate, when your issues were the Constitution and the breaking of laws, by our elected officials, that abrogates constitutional rights. You were most succinct and correct… except for “America is better than that” – which at this point seems not to be the case. Of course, the inability of the public to get current, correct information and analysis from those elected officials accounts for a lot. Perhaps Lillibet’s post about “faith as gullibility” hits the nail most squarely. Cheers.

  2. Sandra Price

    Rob. I think it would be a great experience of we here at CHB could attend the next Netroot conference. I would love to help organize it to expand our CHB and the Campaign for Our America. What say you?

  3. Sandra Price

    I have simple style of life Almandine. I do not require the government to tell me what I cannot do. The government had no part of my training of my kids or my grandchildren. I see no consistency in any morals of either Christians or Islam. They both batter and slaughter when it pleases them. We have seen Bush/Cheney lie their way in and out of several wars. There is no morals there. I see no morals in any of the Crusades or the slaughter of the American Indians. I see no morals in telling the women of America that birth control is abortion. I live by my own moral values and so far at the age of 75, I’m scoring a hell of a lot higher than any Christian I ever met. I don’t talk about Christian values I live by my own values. If you are more comfortable having your government set your morals and values, move to the Vatican. America is free from this nonsense.

  4. almandine

    Hyperbole ??? Call it what you will. I find that hyperbole lends itself to a momentary utterance to help make a specific point, but becomes effectively doctrinal when used incessantly to obviate the need for empirical evidence. Such as it is with language in the service of belief systems.

    You asked above, “What makes YOUR religion any more valid than any OTHER religion if government is to be influenced by religion.” That has been my point all along. I think if you will revisit my posts you will see that I have not advocated anything but critical examination of the points being raised, especially with regard to two issues: what makes any belief system better than any other and why must anyone with a different point of view be labeled stupid, unread, ignorant, foolish, etc. I will quote your own statement above: “Up until the ad hominem attack I was with you all the way.” I find that ad hominem attacks generally come from those who can’t muster a better argument on the merits.

    As for religion in government, Keith aptly notes: “And we all (including the religious fundamentalists) might begin by observing that our elected leaders put their hands on the Bible and then swear to defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.”

    That certainly doesn’t make Christian control of our federal government necessarily more palatable than Hindu, Muslim, or otherwise, but it does provide a most meaningful context by which to evaluate the reality of government. Concerning that reality, the vast majority of Americans profess belief in a deity; those folks have just as much right to have their concerns represented as does any agnostic or atheist… and vice versa.

    Regarding ethical and moral dilemmas, those truly are individual areas of concern, except at the point that individual choices are obviated. Thus, when it comes to political ideology I am much more Libertarian than anything else, certainly Libertarian as opposed to Religious, and as such, I will stand squarely against the disenfranchisement of even those religious zealots with whom I may disagree. That goes for the religion of secular humanism, too.

  5. ekaton

    Let us not forget that evangelical CHRISTIAN George Bush’s administration cancelled HABEAS CORPUS (trying to veer back onto topic here … grin … ).

    Such a fine pro-life, except for brown Islamic people, Christian man. But then I guess killing Muslims in support of the Jewish war god Yahweh dovetails nicely with the agenda of CUFI (google it).

    — Kent Shaw

  6. ekaton

    Its a literary device called hyperbole. Got your attention didn’t it! Keep religion out of government. Adhere to any religious belief you like, it matters little to me, just keep it out of government. What makes YOUR religion any more valid than any OTHER religion if government is to be influenced by religion. Why not elect a HINDU and have the government follow Hindu religious guide lines? Why not a Bhuddist? Why not a Jew? Why not a MUSLIM? Eh? Want a MUSLIM government? Neither do I. Want a Christian government? I DON’T any more than I would want a MUSLIM government. You are welcome to your religion. Be a true believer. It matters little to me and I will do nothing to persecute you in any way. Just keep it out of government.

    — Kent Shaw

  7. almandine

    Well Kent, I must be wrong about the meaning of a whole lot of words. Sorry about that, but from another of her many typical posts:

    “I am far and above the morals of any Christian or Muslim on this earth.”

    Someone once said, “Your words reveal your thoughts more than you think.”

    Those 2 statements pretty much sums her up for me.

  8. Rob Kezelis

    you said:
    One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in Hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, dirty thing on the face of the Earth and you should save it for someone you love.

    – – –

    heh, heh. I think you captured it all.

  9. keith

    Sandra wrote:

    The Constitution has been traded for the bible and it would be a huge asset if we all could vote for the one candidate/party that ran on American Constitutional Law. The religious right has gotten very mixed up when it comes to Sovereignty and it should never be based on any God.

    Indeed.

    And we all (including the religious fundamentalists) might begin by observing that our elected leaders put their hands on the Bible and then swear to defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

    They do NOT put their hands on the Constitution of the United States and then swear to uphold and defend the Bible.

    What’s more, five years of living and working with religious fundamentalists in Wichita Falls, Texas taught me two things:

    One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in Hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, dirty thing on the face of the Earth and you should save it for someone you love.

  10. Sandra Price

    Thank you Kent. You state it correctly. I come from an old and Christian family and I have seen them all gradually show less and less respect for the government when it tries to use God as a control over the people.

    I wish Almandine would realize that I am very pro-life which means I would never use an abortion to solve a problem. But I have also worked with at-risk teens who became pregnant due to a close relative and should not ever have to pay with 17 years of her life for a rape. For this reason, abortion should be a personal choice without the government having any authority. We have a current government who throws away lives like our soldiers lined up for the sacrifice. Our government who hires corrupt organizations like Blackwater and Halliburton to do their bidding which has brought about corruption.

    Just watching Fox News give their opinions of the conference “Netroots” is enough for me to want to attend the next one. Our purpose within those conferences and our involvement on CHB should be to open up and expose the corruption of the current Administration before we get sucked into another group based on some faith-based campaign agenda.

    I saw personally the downfall of American values all over the districts within the last two major elections. I watched every moment of the debates by the Republicans for their efforts to force a choice for the most devout Christian to lead the party. The Constitution has been traded for the bible and it would be a huge asset if we all could vote for the one candidate/party that ran on American Constitutional Law. The religious right has gotten very mixed up when it comes to Sovereignty and it should never be based on any God.

    My own family is the most diverse group of Americans found as we have Mormons, Buddhists, Catholics, Jews, Secular Humanists and even Jehovah’s witnesses. But they all respect our roots in the Constitution and the Separation of Church and State. They all know the power of the Bill of Rights over some fear of Armageddon. A truly free and intelligent human being can serve God and keep it out of the laws of the land.

    Almandine, you believe abortions are murder. It is up to you to influence your children in this belief. My kids were sent off to college long before Roe vs Wade and sat through my own lectures of the value of life. They headed off with birth control prescriptions to be filled when needed when they arrived at Berkeley. We had no unwanted births in that generation. The federal government had nothing to do with any decision made in my family. The religious decisions were made by the individuals.

    I covered all bases and had the kids for 6 years in a Christian school; then 6 years in a secular college prep.

  11. ekaton

    ” … it makes it so easy to denigrate the “believers” and whatever value they may represent.”

    I do not believe it is Sandra’s intent to denigrate believers of ANY religion. I believe that she, as I, just wants RELIGION out of GOVERNMENT. She feels strongly about this, obviously. And it creeps into many of her postings, yes. But I do not believe she intends to denigrate ANYONE’s beliefs about ANYTHING. Just my humble opinion, and of course she is more than capable of defending herself. KEEP RELIGION OUT OF GOVERNMENT. Please.

    — Kent Shaw