Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Republic Expires

Patrick Leahy's speech to the Senate prior to the vote on the Military Commissions Act of 2006 is worth reading (scroll down some). Here's a sample:
"We need to pursue the war on terror with strength and intelligence, but we need to uphold American ideals. The President says he wants clarity as to the meaning of the Geneva Conventions and the War Crimes Act. Of course, he did not want clarity when his administration was using its twisted interpretation of the law to authorize torture and cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees. He did not want clarity when spying on Americans without warrants. And he certainly did not want clarity while keeping those rationales and programs secret from Congress. The administration does not seem to want clarity when it refuses even to tell Congress what its understanding of the law is following the withdrawal of a memo that said the President could authorize and immunize torture. That memo was withdrawn because it could not withstand the light of day.
It seems the only clarity this administration wants is a clear green light from Congress to do whatever it wants. That is not clarity. That is immunity from crime. I cannot vote for that. That is what the current legislation would give to the President on interrogation techniques and on military commissions. Justice O'Connor reminded the nation before her retirement that even war is not a ``blank check'' when it comes to the rights of Americans. The Senate should not be a rubberstamp for policies that undercut America's values. "
I'll be in mourning for the next few days.


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