Yesterday President Bush signed the un-American military commission bill, and the reactions are rolling in. From ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero:
With his signature, President Bush enacts a law that is both unconstitutional and un-American. This president will be remembered as the one who undercut the hallmark of habeas in the name of the war on terror. Nothing separates America more from our enemies than our commitment to fairness and the rule of law, but the bill signed today is an historic break because it turns Guantanamo Bay and other U.S. facilities into legal no-man’s-lands.
The president can now – with the approval of Congress – indefinitely hold people without charge, take away protections against horrific abuse, put people on trial based on hearsay evidence, authorize trials that can sentence people to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and slam shut the courthouse door for habeas petitions. Nothing could be further from the American values we all hold in our hearts than the Military Commissions Act.
Meanwhile, this was in my inbox this morning from The Shalom Center:
In Philadelphia on September 18, 1789, a Mrs. Powel anxiously stood outside the Constitutional Convention. As Benjamin Franklin emerged from the last session, she asked him: “Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic — if you can keep it,” said Franklin.
In Philadelphia today, October 17, 2006, in a cold and driving rain, on 24 hours notice, at noon on a workday, 44 people came to the Federal courthouse to mourn the signing of the Act to Legalize Torture and Suspend Habeas Corpus. We don’t know yet whether it is also the Act to Suspend the Republic. It certainly puts the tools to do so in the hands of any President who chooses to use them.
Andy in Harrisburg