When The New York Times exposed the President's illegal NSA eavesdropping program there were many on the right who decried the reporters who had published this as possible recipients of the Pulitzer Prize for Treason, with some going as far as to say:
"I think what they did is worthy of jail."Now consider this.
Under the new Detainee Bill the term "enemy combatant" has been redefined and is no longer just someone captured "during an armed conflict". It is now stated that an "enemy combatant" shall be anyone who George Bush decides has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." That person can then be jailed, simply on the word of the Commander in Chief, and has no recourse through any courts to question that judgement - despite the fact that most people arrested and sent to Guantanamo have been released without ever being charged - a small matter that might bring some to question his judgement.
However, what is troubling is the very vague definition of what constitutes an "enemy combatant": Someone who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States."
Reporters from the New York Times have already been called treasonous by supporters of Bush and many of them called for these same reporters to be jailed. Indeed some, when discussing whoever had leaked the story of the illegal wiretapping, went considerably further:
Under this new legislation it is Bush himself who will get to decide just who constitutes a person who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States."
When I say "treason" I don't mean it in an insulting or hyperbolic way. I mean in a literal way: we need to find these 21st century Julius Rosenbergs, these modern day reincarnations of Alger Hiss, put them on trial before a jury of their peers, with defense counsel. When they are found guilty, we should then hang them by the neck until the are dead, dead, dead.
No sympathy. No mercy.
This reminds me of Blair's attempt to outlaw "glorifying" terrorism. It's a term so vague that it can be applied very widely indeed.
Now we know that some of Bush's supporters want to hang people by the neck for exposing any illegal activity carried out by the administration, so I shudder to think how such people might define what constitutes "purposefully" supporting hostilities against the US.
Many people have already been accused of giving comfort to the enemy simply by reporting the truth of what is happening in Iraq, including the leaders of the Democratic Party.
How many of the enemy will fight rather than surrender, because Pelosi and Murtha have told them they're winning? How does that not give the enemy aid and comfort? Is that not treason?Bush has now been handed an incredible amount of leeway in declaring who is and is not aiding and giving comfort to the enemy. His supporters appear to believe that this includes anyone who either reports his illegal activities or anyone who even questions whether the US is winning it's war in Iraq.
How long before offering any form of criticism becomes an act for which you can be imprisoned?
Much has been written about the foulness of the Detainee Act as it pertains to enemy combatants, but I think a discussion needs to be had on the fact that this Bush's right to jail people - without ever putting them in front of a court - now includes American citizens. Indeed, it includes any citizens anywhere in the world.
I am stunned that Congress has chosen to give this kind of power to a man whose supporters hold these views of Liberals:
"Americans cannot comprehend how their fellow countrymen could not love their country. But the left's anti-Americanism is intrinsic to their entire worldview. Liberals promote the right of Islamic fanatics for the same reason they promote the rights of adulterers, pornographers, abortionists, criminals, and Communists. They instinctively root for anarchy against civilization. The inevitable logic of the liberal position is to be for treason." -- Ann Coulter.There. We are all traitors and our "inevitable logic" leads us "to be for treason".
Now I know that there is a difference between Bush and some of his more fanatic supporters but, nevertheless, this power has now been put into his hands and it is only by his beneficence that people who think the way we do have not been jailed as giving "aid and comfort" to the enemy.
At what point does the US cease to be a Democracy? And can I be jailed for asking that?