Sunday, June 15, 2008

One Vote From Legalized Totalitarianism

On June 12 the United States Supreme Court, by a 5-to-4 vote, ruled that so-called “enemy combatants” held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba have the right to challenge their detention in US courts.

Many of the inmates have been held for six years at Guantánamo, under barbaric conditions. None of them have been found guilty of a crime in a court of law.

The four dissenting Supreme Court justices, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Joseph Alito, defend the right of the Bush administration to proceed in its “war on terror” with utter disregard for the Constitution and elementary democratic rights. They are, in essence, proponents of authoritarian rule. The savagery at Guantánamo is not a source of shame or even concern for them, but the wave of the future.

While the Times recognizes that Bush “has denied the protections of justice, democracy and plain human decency to the hundreds of men that he decided to label ‘unlawful enemy combatants’ and throw into never-ending detention,” and that the Supreme Court “turned back the most recent effort to subvert justice” only by the narrowest of margins, its editors draw no far-reaching political conclusions from these extraordinary and alarming facts.

“It was disturbing,” writes the newspaper, “that four justices dissented from this eminently reasonable decision.” The Times, as always, puts the mildest interpretation on the event and fails to investigate the socio-political significance of the fact “that habeas hangs by a single vote in the Supreme Court of the United States,” i.e., that one vote separates the American political machinery from an open endorsement of police-state rule.

American liberalism has done nothing to prevent the wholesale assault on democratic rights over the past decade—the hijacking of a national election, the stampede to an illegal war, the ripping up of the Bill of Rights.

On the contrary, the Democrats have either stood by uselessly or joined in the assault, voting in large numbers to authorize the war against Iraq, helping to pass the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act and a myriad of other pieces of reactionary legislation. To rely on Obama, the Times, and the corpse of American liberalism to defend habeas corpus or democratic rights as a whole would be fatal.

source article

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