Friday, June 30, 2006

Supremes On Key Over Guantanamo

In the current political environment, it's not often that the news out of Washington is about our government upholding the principles of the Constitution or those of international law. In fact I think it would be fair to say that the Executive Branch has become a fetid sewer of lies, suspect ethics, character assassination, and policies that are more reminiscent of Benito Mussolini than Abraham Lincoln. Yep, it's been a hard couple of years to be a left of center American.

Where Have You Gone, Thomas Jefferson? A Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes To You

One of the greatest marks of shame has been the detention of over 450 individuals, often without the benefit of charges, access to legal counsel, or trial, in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. The crux of the case that the Supreme Court recently reviewed was that the special military tribunals devised by the Bush Administration which made it difficult for suspects to defend themselves, specifically in regards to confronting accusers and being present for all parts of a trial. This is a fundamental right that every American enjoys. But since these are not American citizens, the Bush Administration has argued that they are not entitled to the same legal protections. While perhaps technically true, the practise flys in the face of a founding principle of our nation: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. Not just Americans, everyone. If we are all equal, then we deserve equal rights.

Why The Court Got It Right

What the Supreme Court did was uphold this crucial premise. They said that the Bush Administration does not have the right to simply make up a special legal system. They said that what the administration created did not provide for minimum legal protections under international law. I applaud the Court for taking a positive step to help ensure human rights and for upholding a founding American value.

If we do not live by that which we say we value, we are sure to become that which we say we despise.


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