Wednesday, August 18, 2010
If it quacks like a duck...
None Dare Call It Tyranny
If you want to know what tyranny is like, look around.
The national government — specifically the executive branch — can do pretty much what it wants. It could bomb Iran tomorrow without a declaration of war from Congress. It can — and does — conduct secret wars and covert operations against countries that have done nothing to us. Of course, they are secret only to the ignorant taxpayers who must finance them and perhaps suffer when the provoked retaliation occurs. It can have men behind PlayStation consoles in Nevada fire Hellfire missiles from aerial drones on people in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere.
This tyrannical government can send any foreigner picked up anywhere in the world to third countries known for torturing prisoners. It can hold people accused of nothing indefinitely in prisons in Cuba and Afghanistan and torture them into making false confessions. It can conduct a war crimes trial in a military kangaroo court for a man, Omar Khadr, held captive for eight years after he was picked up at the age of 15 during a U.S. assault on villagers near Kabul. His torture-induced “confessions” will be admissible. All this is in violation of commitments under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict not to treat children in war as though they were adults.
It can assassinate even American citizens abroad without a scent of due process.
It is a government that can write its own warrants without judicial review — and call them national security letters — in order to conduct fishing expeditions in anyone’s electronic records. But that isn’t enough power for the present Progressive administration, which wants the freedom to examine our browser histories and email correspondents’ names. The Bill of Rights, like the Geneva Convention, has become “quaint” and obsolete.