Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Military Commissions Act of 2006

When I read about Bush signing the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law I tried to dig up some outrage. I looked down in me and found I really had nothing but an acute sadness. George Walker Bush managed to join a select group of Presidents which includes such luminaries as Franklin Delano Roosevelt (and here) and John Adams (and here), a feat of which I, quite frankly, thought he was incapable. While inaugurating himself into this august company President Bush also took the largest step in conceding the “War on Terror” to the terrorists. The best piece I have seen so far is this from Keith Olbermann:

He pretty much said everything I was thinking and I was a little down about it. Then I read this:
When, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident: that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence indeed, will dictate, that Governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
In the 230 years since those words were written they have become one of the sacraments of liberty and they make me tear up a little every time I read them.

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