Freedom Via Military Dictatorship

George W. Bush has apparently given up any aspiration of receiving an honorary award from the American Civil Liberties Union.

His administration is responding to the Supreme Court ruling striking down his military tribunals with a legislative proposal that would place far more Americans in peril of having their rights nullified. 

The Washington Post reports today:

A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seeks to expand the reach and authority of such “commissions” to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal.

The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court’s jurisdiction. The two provisions would be likely to put more individuals than previously expected before military juries, officials and independent experts said.

That last sentence evoked from me the phrase I heard most often during my  summers working as a peach picker:  No s**t.

The system would permit hearsay evidence (which the defendant would not be permitted to see) to seal their fate, including death sentences.  A U.S. government official told the Washington Post that defendants would have to count on “the trustworthiness of the system.”   (The fact that the Bush administration has almost always been wrong when it accuses people of terrorist connections was not mentioned in this piece; I dealt with that subject a few weeks ago for the Boston Globe.).

The fact that the Bush proposal would seek to empower Rumsfeld to act as legislator, jury, and executor of anyone accused of future specified crimes – based on the shabbiest standards of evidence and kangaroo court procedures – vivifies the total contempt of the Bush team for American liberty.


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6 Responses to Freedom Via Military Dictatorship

  1. W Baker August 2, 2006 at 2:26 pm #


    Thanks for pointing this piece out. I don’t always get to The Washington Pravda, oops, sorry, Post. This very troublesome, indeed.

    Humorously – only because we have very little of anything civilized left – the fact that Bush would put Rumsfeld in charge of Pentagon lawn maintenance, much less the new Gestapo, ought to make Bush suspect.


  2. Jim August 2, 2006 at 3:14 pm #

    Wes – it is almost amusing to see how this crew maintain their grasp on power.

    I sometimes wonder about the learning curve of the Washington establishment that would tolerate (and usually embrace) such self-inflated hacks.

  3. Lee Killough August 2, 2006 at 3:33 pm #

    Here is a draft of the bill:

    Here’s another report, more critical in tone than the Post report:

    It sounds like the wording is still being amended heavily.

  4. Jim August 2, 2006 at 4:00 pm #

    Lee – thanks for the comments and the excellent links.

    The Boston Globe has outplowed the Post on a regular basis on civil liberties abuses.

  5. Fernando Bensabat August 7, 2006 at 11:47 am #

    I just want to point out to you, Jim, that libertarianism is a religion, just like all other “isms”. The sentence “Be free!” is A VOICE OF COMMAND, therefore, not different from THE VOICE OF THE STATE. The objectives and proposed goals are WORDS, alike any other WORDS.No theory can give the essential thing to anyone: free will, self esteem and DIGNITY.
    Seymour Papert says (“The connected Family – bridging up the digital gap between generations”) that several hundreds of thousand students don’t attend the formal schooling system anymore, being their education managed by their parents with the use of the powerful resources of Internet. THAT is something. Not words – plain facts.
    Thank you for your kind attention.

  6. Jim August 7, 2006 at 7:48 pm #

    Libertarianism is not a religion – its core belief is that people should not go around coercing/attacking each other.

    It is not a command of “BE FREE.” It is a warning: Don’t Tread on Me.

    As for home schooling – that is a positive trend. Here is my two cents on the topic from LOST RIGHTS (1994):

    Many states impose severe restrictions on parents who want to teach their children at home. Peggy Williams, a Hale, Michigan, mother of four, was arrested and jailed in 1993 for violating truancy laws by home schooling. Though home-schooled pupils on average perform far better than public school children on national standardized tests, the public education establishment has fought tenaciously to suppress home schooling. Annette Cootes of the Texas State Teachers Association declared that “home schooling is a form of child abuse.” The National Education Association annually passes resolutions calling for a de facto ban on home schooling. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, the number of children being taught at home by parents has increased over 1,000 percent since 1975 and now exceeds 750,000 children.

    Some states have required parents to be licensed teachers in order to be permitted to teach their children in their own homes. But requiring parents to obtain state teaching certificates effectively requires most parents to sacrifice several years of their lives (going to education college) to get government permission to direct their children’s mental development. In 1987 the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld Michigan’s prohibition against home schooling by parents who lacked a teaching license. The Michigan Court declared that it was not enough for the state government to dictate the curriculum guidelines and attendance requirements for home schooling because such requirements “do nothing to ensure that the material is imparted to the child in such a way as to be understandable. Alone, they are unlikely to stimulate intellectual curiosity and inquiry or to cause that fascinating conjunction of superficially incompatible facts that is creative thought.” Though the judges enjoyed proclaiming their support for stimulating intellectual curiosity, such declarations are almost comical considering the abysmal quality of Detroit inner-city schools.
    Many school systems impede parents from teaching their children at home largely because they do not want to lose state and federal subsidies. The New York Times reported, “Some parents contend, and some school officials admit, that money is a major issue. School districts around the country receive an average of $4,000 to $7,000 in state and federal aid [per student]. . . When a student leaves public school, the system loses some of all of that amount, according to state education officials.” Hostility to home schooling is often a question of bureaucratic greed. The school system’s burdens decrease with each child educated at home; thus, home schooling actually provides a budgetary windfall to government school systems. But many school officials and politicians care only about maximizing the money they have to control and dispense.