Monday, November 14, 2005

USA : Welcome to the land of the Free^H^H^H^H Oooops, wrong word, sorry!

I wonder if the US government ever intends to learn from the numerous (and grievous) mistakes of its predecessors (and its own, Mr Georges W Bush kindly having seen to adding up to the piles of tragedies labelled “courtesy of the USA” since 1776). Well, all right, I’m not wondering. They’re learning.

They’re learning how to repeat them over and over again.

Now, they’re busy hacking down the fundamentals of law. The very core of what makes a country democratic. The core of what sets it apart from a dictatorship (hello, Mr Pinochet!). Hacking down the Habeas Corpus rule, they’re contemplating the arbitrary detention of innocent people in charming locations like Guantanamo Bay, where every single sort of comfort is offered to the lucky residents. Even night games, stripping games, and all those things.

I was always of the opinion that detainees, no matter what the crime, deserve a trial. They deserve to know what they’re accused of, and they deserve the right to a lawyer and to a fair trial. The fact that we offer this to everyone, even to the foulest criminals, is the one thing that makes us who we are, that labels us as civilized people, who live in a democracy.

Well, not in the eyes of Mr Bush’s governement it seems, but then, are you really surprised?

The media are busy using lofty words like Habeas Corpus that very few people understand, but the truth, the down to earth, simple truth can be summarized this way: Habeas corpus is older than even our Constitution. It is the right to compel the executive to justify itself when it imprisons people.

As the writer of the Washington Post column says:
In a wiser past, we tried Nazi war criminals in the sunlight. Summing up for the prosecution at Nuremberg, Robert Jackson said that "the future will never have to ask, with misgiving: 'What could the Nazis have said in their favor?' History will know that whatever could be said, they were allowed to say. . . . The extraordinary fairness of these hearings is an attribute of our strength."
The world has never doubted the judgment at Nuremberg. But no one will trust the work of these secret tribunals.

Read the column here, and learn how fair-minded the US government aims to be.
Lofty moral highground is shrinking, and writhing away from the United States of America in a great hurry. Soon, any US official trying to tell anyone in the world they should abide by the Geneva Conventions, or the Human Rights, will see the audience laugh in his face.

With good reason.

Source: one of today’s editorials of the Washington Post.

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