Urge Congress to undo the damage: reinstate the rule of law
Wed Dec 6, 2006 19:10

Google News Alert for: Military Commissions Act of 2006

Urge Congress to undo the damage: reinstate the rule of law

Joyce Mullins We're in this together

It's not easy to prioritize my wish list for the incoming Congress. Its members, new and old alike, face so many crucial issues.

Undoing the damage to the Constitution has to be at the top of the list and at the very top of that is undoing the shameful Military Commissions Act of 2006, which I am going to call MCA for short.

This is the bill that says the CIA may continue to yank people off the streets anywhere in the world, shove bags over their heads and sneak them out on planes to countries where torture is a daily habit.

No matter how George W. Bush sees himself, he and his administration will "go down in history," as they say, not with glory, but with dishonor for this shameful act.

You've got to give them credit for their mastery of the use of fear. These guys hung everything they did on the deep terror engendered by the horror of 9/11.

Fearful, yes, but most Americans - indeed most members of Congress - were repelled by the idea of torture.

I remember a leading Republican senator, South Carolina's Lindsey Graham, sternly warning anyone who would listen in interview after interview on TV that the United States would suffer if Americans used torture.

Bush & Company turned up the fear factor and the Republican majority in Congress let this disgraceful bill get to his desk.

What this bill does is shatter the rule of law that is America's rock bed foundation. The MCA suspends habeas corpus, saying, "No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination."

Look again at the wording. Who is doing the determining here? Not the courts whose responsibility it should be.

What happened to the separation of powers? And what about that last killer phrase - "or is awaiting such determination"?

I'm not sure what made Graham change his mind, but he did.

He's among those thanked personally by George W. during the hoopla at the White House when the bill was signed in October.

Go to www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/20061017-1.html. You'll find all the names singled out for special mention - each and every one given his due in that cowboy style George W. uses to such popular effect.

It's Don and Al, Mike and Pete and Jim - not Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, Michael Hayden, Peter Pace and James Sensenbrenner in the record books. Any "honoree" whose name could be "de-formalized" got the cowboy treatment.

There is so much evil in the MCA to haunt us for years to come. America used to be the standard-bearer for human rights. The world looked up to us.

The MCA nullifies that promise. It will also put any of our children in the military in peril in ways they have never been before.

An America without the rule of law is scarier than anything Bush & Co. throws at us.

There's hope, though.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd has introduced a bill, S.4060, to amend the MCA. Check out his thoughts about the bill at www.dodd.senate.gov.

# Joyce Mullins has worked for newspapers in Delaware for more than 30 years. Send feedback to: jmullins03@comcast.net.

Originally published Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Google News Alert for: Military Commissions Act of 2006

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Military Commissions Act of 2006

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