Garrison Keillor in his column (Chicago Tribune, October 4) warns us that Congress has lost their collective minds and voted for the unbelievably unconstitutional bill, "The Military Commissions Act of 2006" which, for the first time in U.S. history, gives the president the sovereign power to jail just about anyone he wants without charging them, for as long as he wants, gives him the power to reinterpret the Geneva Conventions to authorize what normal people always considered to be torture -- he gets to decide what abusive interrogation is permissible, to decide what "cruel, degrading and inhuman" treatment is -- and the methods used may stay secret -- he need not list them.
This law eliminates the right of habeas corpus -- enshrined in law since the 13th century; i.e., the right of any accused to test their detention in a court of law, and this law allows no access for the accused to the evidence against him.
This law allows the president's interpretation of "enemy combatant" which now includes anyone who "has purposely and materially supported hostilities against the United States." By this loose definition the president may imprison American citizens who may merely disagree with his analysis of the war, or have organized a demonstration against it, or who may have once supported a charity on a disapproved list. It allows the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States, and once seized, they have no protections from the Bill of Rights.
Garrison Keillor is, so far, one of the only columnists to vent his rage at the Senate which last week blindly voted for this shocking administration bill, a bill that repeals the basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution. We should all feel the same outrage at those in the House who voted for it -- and Congressman Kirk was one of the culprits.
Garrison Keillor wrote:
None of the men and women who voted for this bill has any right to speak in public about the rule of law anymore, or to take a high moral view of the Third Reich, or to wax poetic about the American idea. Mark their names. Any institution of higher learning that grants honorary degrees to these people forfeits its honor.
Mark Kirk in his vote was, as usual, shamelessly taking his orders from his unprincipled president.