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George W. Bush's Constitution
(Nat Hentoff, Village Voice, 3 January 2003)
The imprisonment of "enemy combatant" Yaser Esam Hamdi in a naval brig in the United States is not a matter of concern to most Americans, since they do not know of Mr. Hamdi's isolation from the Bill of Rights, and might not care if they did. But the Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether George W. Bush's Constitution will replace--in significant parts--the Constitution that most Americans are also not familiar with. . . . federal judge Robert Doumar in Norfolk, Virginia, that veteran jurist, appointed by Ronald Reagan, was astonished at the sweep of the government's declaration that the president had the right to personally put Hamdi in the brig and strip him of all his constitutional rights after claiming that he was an "enemy combatant." It is also the government's contention that the courts have minimal jurisdiction over the commander in chief as he locks up Americans he calls "enemy combatants" during our war against terrorism. . . . Think about that. This American citizen was officially stripped of all his constitutional rights and this flimsy two-page document is the government's explanation before the court. . . . In addition to Mr. Mobbs's pieces of paper, the government prosecutor also told Judge Doumar that the Defense Department had to hold Hamdi for interrogation. And since the war on terrorism has no defined end in sight, he must be "detained" indefinitely. . . . Said Judge Doumar: "How long does it take to question a man? A year? Two years? Ten years? A lifetime? How long?" . . . the United States Supreme Court. Those nine men and women will decide whether the essential liberties in the Framers' Constitution have been removed by George W. Bush. It's a pity the Democratic Party cares much less about civil liberties than about Bush's tax cuts.

posted by Lorenzo 2:18 PM

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