Alex Massie

Real Un-Americanism

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But if you want to see something that really is antithetical to the idea of the American Idea then this, from Glenn Greenwald, should dp the job nicely:

[T]he bill recently introduced by Joe Lieberman and John McCain -- the so-called "Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act" -- now has 9 co-sponsors, including the newly elected Scott Brown.  It's probably the single most extremist, tyrannical and dangerous bill introduced in the Senate in the last several decades, far beyond the horrific, habeas-abolishing Military Commissions Act.  It literally empowers the President to imprison anyone he wants in his sole discretion by simply decreeing them a Terrorist suspect -- including American citizens arrested on U.S. soil.  The bill requires that all such individuals be placed in military custody, and explicitly says that they "may be detained without criminal charges and without trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners," which everyone expects to last decades, at least.  It's basically a bill designed to formally authorize what the Bush administration did to American citizen Jose Padilla -- arrest him on U.S. soil and imprison him for years in military custody with no charges. 

You may say that these draconian powers - should the bill ever become law - are unlikely to be used or you might think they'd only be used prudently but that's neither the point nor the way such things tend to work, is it? Especially since there's no indication, I believe, that this is intended as a temporary, emergency measure.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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