Friday, September 29, 2006

sic semper tyrannis

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) will be remembered in the future as our generation's version of the Alien and Sedition Acts. All sorts of strawman arguments have been utilized as justification for this unconstitutional legislation. It is pretty clear by the uniform vote of Republicans for this bill that the word 'libertarian' is taken to be more of an adjective than a noun and that adjective means only 'doesn't like paying taxes' rather a supporter of civil rights for all people. Instead there is a plethora of hair-splitting and hypothetical emergencies to excuse making the worst of techniques into regular interrogation policy. They want the line to be about how only they are tough enough to protect American by literally breaking terrorist's balls, but the fact that the label 'enemy combatant' seems to be under the purview of one man and one man alone doesn't trouble them at all. We'll see how they all feel when President Hillary is in office.

Alot of people argue that they do horrible things to American soldiers, thus we should not feel guilty doing horrible things to them, but since do we use them for a basis of comparison? If they do it, its ok for us to do it is not a moral standing any nation shold be prous of, especially if you are also claiming that this is a generational struggle. We kept our standards, of habeas corpus, of prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, during our battles with Nazism and Communism, but radical Islamism seems to drive conservatives into outdoing each other in just how many freedoms they can throw on the pyre. We can all think of emergency ticking timebomb scenarios, but in those exceptional cases it is unlikely you would get a conviction and the President could always pardon them as a justifiable assault. But it is fairly indefensible to use torture as a Standard Operating Procedure, as a routine method of acquiring information.

There are alot of people out there who will whine about how the Democrats are just as bad, how we should have a third party of hellfire progressives, but they are solely in need of a history lesson. Yes, it is reprehensible that a few of them capitulated on this Rovian power play, but this absolves the GOP, the party of torture, as the majority party enacting this odious authoritarianism (even as they railed against 'Islamic' fascism) In our first-past-the-post system, there are no prizes for second place. You can't indicate your next best choice, like in a few other countries which, not so coincidentally, have multiple parties. Maybe that should be changed, but until then, you are just not going to have a viable third party here in America. Not going to happen, as people have been trying since the 1830's and each attempt has ultimately failed. Even if this dream party were to arise independent of the Dems, they would end up being de facto Democrats. It's clear that they have flaws, but the nation is drowning in this political morass and we should take the opportunity to grab a lifevest, rather then submerge waiting for a new boat to be constructed. There is no McCain Messiah waiting in the wings to be our political savior. Frankly, it is all too analogous to the catch-22 that is the Iraq War: we can allow more uncontrolled Republican rule, vote the only possible opposition party into government, move to Canada, or start another civil war. I'll take door no. 2, Monty.

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