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.