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Friday, September 29, 2006

Angry and depressed

I have generally tried to avoid being explicitly political here, but there comes a limit.

To the best of my knowledge, we have become the only country with a democratically-elected government to embrace torture as an instrument of policy.

We now allow one person, unhindered by any review, to determine what punishments may be imposed on virtually anyone.

We can now seize almost anyone, confine that person secretly, without access to a lawyer or to a court.

We can confine those persons, apparently indefinitely, without allowing them to plead their innocence, their wrongful seizure and imprisonment, before an independent judiciary.

We can now expose almost anyone to charges that might result in imposition of a death sentence, before a tribunal within which their rights are not protected. Hearsay evidence. Coerced testimony. Secret evidence. No opportunity to cross-examine one's accusers. This is not a trial. This is not the rule of law.

We have now exposed our soldiers, our intelligence agents, to similar treatment--and we cannot sensibly object--because what may be done to our soldiers and our intelligence agents, is what we claim the right to do to others.

And that's the best case I can make.

Both my Senators voted for this. One, Richard Lugar, is a man for whom I have had some respect, for his intelligence, for his independence. No longer.

We are all complicit in this. The only question, now, is what we will do about it.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.."

No longer.


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