Stockton and Tweed (both of y'all, apparently) took issue with my support of the concept of "extraordinary powers" to meet the transient needs of "extraordinary times". I'm glad they did, because I meant what I posted but think the clarification of why believe it is the most important thing.
While I think my reply in the comments more fully explains how I can support such measures, despite their lacking in specific, literal constitutionality, I think the bigger issue is still and always, what will the electorate support? What impells voters to support people whose methods go against the grain of moral treatment and consideration for any but the most recalcitrant from reason or emotionally misguided of our fellow humans?
From the Seattle Post Intelligencer
Stay Vigilant About Our Civil RightsThe Skimmer's poster up top has an eerily prophetic feeling to it. I don't like what it implies but am fascinated by how well it reflects my own feelings about the politics which people in this country, at this stage of our cultural evolution, can still consider acceptable behavior vis-a-vie others of own species.
Recently, I attended a symposium at the conservative American Enterprise Institute on the state of national security. The day's last panel, on law and order, was made up of three war-on-terrorism hawks: Heather Mac Donald, researcher and writer at the Manhattan Institute; former deputy attorney general John Yoo, and Cornell University law professor Jeremy Rabkin. All three deplored what they considered an excessive hysteria about the maltreatment of detainees resulting both from knee-jerk hostility to President Bush and from liberal softness.
All three stressed that we are facing a faceless and stateless enemy with no visible command and no combatant uniforms. Our response, they argued, should be viewed in the context of this threat.
Yet it was Mac Donald, no one's idea of a softie, who made an important and alarming point: "The very fact that detainees are violating the rules of war, that they are not wearing uniforms or any identifying insignia, makes the possibility of factual error in who you pick up much more severe than when you are capturing a traditional uniformed enemy."
In her view, the administration should have put "a lot more due process early on to make the factual determination" that we are holding the right people. She declared that human rights activists "have it right when they complain that detainees in the war on terror are facing the prospect of indefinite detention," and dismissed as "disingenuous" the assertion that every war is of indefinite duration when it starts.
Measures to safeguard the innocent, she said, would have boosted support for the war on terrorism both at home and abroad.
BG's imaginings, possibly paranoidal, conceivably not so much, are echoed in conversations I have with normal everyday kinda folk with whom I work and for whom I have a great deal of respect when it comes to how they live their daily lives and treat people with whom they come in contact.
Maybe it's just my imagination running wild, but I can see it.
I can also picture a lot of my neighbors, friends and some family members thinking to themselves or even saying out loud to each other ...
Well, she shouldn't have had a blog to begin with! That was really dumb of her. And to name it that? Serves her right. She should've known better. I would never have done such a thing.
If you haven't done anything wrong, then you've got nothing to worrry about.
Unless of course we give the definition of "wrong" entirely over to people who have no respect for the lives, rights and liberties of those who not only don't agree with them, but merely appear to be like those who with whom they have seriously and violent disagreement.
Happy weekend, everyone. Keep the conversation going so we don't start accepting things like torture, spying on our own citizens and "dissappearing" non-citizens as human values with which we are willing to live, just for a little more cushion between our singular lives and the often terrifying and unfair reality in which we exist.