Tyranny comes to our shores

That is not said lightly.

I’m struggling a bit to put together words about what the Senate did today on the detainee treatment and military commission bill. In one fell swoop, the Senate- preceded by the House, including my rep, Rep. Tim Holden (D-Schuylkil)- condoned torture and destroyed the ability to challenge one’s detention in court. This is unfathomable, not only for the principle of the thing but also because military reports have indicated that a majority of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are innocent.

I’ll let Glenn Greenwald get a word in here:

There really is no other way to put it. Issues of torture to the side (a grotesque qualification, I know), we are legalizing tyranny in the United States. Period. Primary responsibility for this fact lies with the authoritarian Bush administration and its sickeningly submissive loyalists in Congress. That is true enough. But there is no point in trying to obscure the fact that it’s happening with the cowardly collusion of the Senate Democratic leadership, which quite likely could have stopped this travesty via filibuster if it chose to (it certainly could have tried).

Greenwald blogged throughout the Senate debate and provides an intriguing read.

It is true that freedom-loving people face enemies today, but not all of those enemies have names like Osama and Mahmoud and Khalid. Some have names like George and Rick and Ken and Joseph and…. (Fill in the name of your choice after looking at the roll call vote.)

Andy in Harrisburg

6 thoughts on “Tyranny comes to our shores

  1. I give up. The Republicans are saying anyone who doesn’t believe in making Bush a dictator is a traitor, that anyone who believes the war in Iraq is pointless is working with the terrorists, and now the House has passed the bill that would make the illegal wiretapping legal. And of course, anyone who is against that doesn’t care about national security.

    And people buy it.

    Over and over.

    We’ve defined torture so that, just like my 6 year old son, we can nitpick the details and get around the rules. If we define torture, we can always say “But we didn’t torture… See? We didn’t do A, B AND C, we only did A and B!”

    What kind of people run this country that they want to flirt with the definition of intentionally harming other people? What kind of good Christians are they to WANT to torture people? I mean, they ARE “God’s party” right?

    And with gas prices falling, the idiot citizens of our country are now saying things aren’t too bad, and the Republicans are gaining again.

    Even in Oregon, an ULTRA conservative gubernatorial candidate is running a close race with the incumbent. Anti-gay marriage, “family values,” you name it.

    Has anyone heard about a bill that’s apparently passed the House to make it impossible for someone filing a religious discrimination suit to recoup court costs? Only for religious cases, mind you.

    We’re surrounded and out numbered.

    Oliver Stone gave an interview where he admits that he’s ashamed for our country. I haven’t agreed with much that Stone has ever said, but I’m with him here.

    Not necessarily ashamed OF the country, but ashamed FOR our country.

    America is great no longer.

  2. I could not sympathize with you more. I thought you’d be interested in this story. One of our board members brought two high school-aged exchange students from Germany to our rally to defend the Constitution on Sept. 17. They were amazed to see so many people out. They said they didn’t know that people like that were in America – they’d only been exposed to the ones like Bush. It was bittersweet – I was happy they saw another side of Americans, but I was equally depressed to think of the millions (or billions) who don’t see the other side. Sigh.

    Sara in Philly

  3. A plague on all their houses- the Republicans, the Democrats, and the American people. I’ve been listening to a few of the lefty talk shows the last two days (Young Turks, Thom Hartmann), and they have been taking their share of shots at the politicans from both parties. But one thing that has not been said, which aq alludes to, is that the citizenry also has responsibility for this. The Republicans only do this- and the Dems only cower in the corner, crying for their mommies- because the American people let them do it. People buy the nonsense of keeping us safe- the MO of despots throughout history- and sweep the Rethugnicans into office on that wave.

    There are two silver linings here. One, the SCOTUS will most assuredly knock this out. Two, throughout the country’s history, we have always come out the other end of eras like this intact.

    But I still shiver for the future of our country.


  4. Andy, you’re right about a silver lining, but only up to a point: Decisions handed down by SCOTUS may protect us, but that protection is thin gruel, almost like a person of questionable upbringing. Witness the difficulties the nation has had with the aftermath of Roe v. Wade. Were that decision to have been made by the Congress, it would have a political legitimacy that Roe v. Wade lacks. Political legitimacy—what Congress has, for the moment, given Bush in the Military Tribunals act—entails far more political clout that a decision from the Supremes. A court overruling on even one aspect of the MIlitary Tribunal act will be a weak way to attack it. The opponents of it, like Specter, Leahy, Dodd, etc., should have mustered a filibuster with all barrels blazing. I think it could have been sustained with the backers being unable to find 67 votes for cloture. I am deeply disappointed in the spinelessness of the opposition.

  5. Andy, I couldn’t agree more. Even some of my most liberal friends seem to have such a huge confidence that the Republicans will lose in the Fall that they’re not even worried. One didn’t even see anything that monumental about the Dover trial and its outcome.

    I don’t know what it will take to mobilize everyone who *should* care. I’m fighting apathy on all sides of me, and it’s tiring.

    Even if things will eventually turn out ok, I’d rather take steps NOW to make sure it isn’t 50 years before it works out.

  6. Yes, keanus, I agree.

    Of course, the reason why we have typically found the light when the country has gone through these kinds of situations is because people like us- not just the ACLU here but all of you, too- have fought hard to make it right.


Comments are closed.