Sunday, May 28, 2006

bodies, part 3: Do you have the body?

I don't have the body.

Who has the body?

Oh yeah. Bush. Bush has the body. Bodies. Only he won't let anybody else see 'em.

That's the problem, lady and gentleman. It is not that the Bush administration is surveilling or imprisoning the wrong people; it's that he won't let anybody outside of his administration see the evidence. They claim to have all the evidence they need to justify all of these actions and yet nobody outside the administration is allowed to thoroughly evaluate it. Nobody but the Bush administration knows who is being designated as an enemy combatant, a suspected terrorist, or a security threat.

Hell, even within the administration, the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility has been denied access to materials they've requested so they can begin a not-particularly-independent investigatin of the warrantless wiretaps.

I'm not asking that the programs be eliminated. I'm simply asking the Bush administration to show some body (ANYbody) outside of their inner circle the evidence they're using to justify these actions. And I'm asking that that body be allowed to complete a thorough evaluation.

I'm asking that separation of powers be protected, that habeas corpus be protected.

Essentially, Bush is saying "Trust us. We know who the bad guys are." While it would be easy to point out that his administration has hardly proved itself credible at intelligence gathering and assessment in the past, that's not the problem here.

The problem is that our founding fathers established these rules (separation of powers and habeas corpus) so that we wouldn't have to trust any one person or insular group of people. Are the House & Senate insular and fallible also? Absolutely. Are they totally trustworthy? Definitely not. Are the federal courts sources of perfect reason and analysis. Probably not.

But none of these bodies has to be perfect. They just have to be separate and independent so that they can serve as a check on one another.

In reference to a previous post, my friend Mark writes:

I don't see the comparison of dissent in South America, VietNam,
and enemy combatants @ Gitmo, wiretaps of
international calls to suspected terrorists, and databases of our
phone records (admittedly, this last point bothers me. I'm more
libertarian on this issue.).I guess you're implying that it's a slippery
slope, but to me that sidewalk's still pretty dry.

Do I think we are on the road to dissappearances and reeducations camps? I hope not. The point of my examples was the illustrate what happens when habeas corpus is not the law of the land.

Maybe Mark is right and the sidewalk is still pretty dry.

If so, there's a very simple way to keep it dry ... defend separation of powers and habea corpus.

Make Bush show an idependent judicial body that these wiretaps and databases are warranted.

This is not asking too much. This is the Constitution.


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