American Attorney General Asks for Permanent State of War
Welcome to Bush's America
Attorney General Michael Mukasey has asked congress to declare war. Not against a sovereign state, but against an organization made up of loosely-affiliated cells. And his purpose in asking for this declaration is to allow the government to detain "enemy combatants", without evidence and without charge, for the duration of the "war". In other words, forever. This is particularly disturbing given the administration's position that the government should be allowed to confer "enemy combatant" status on American citizens.
What Mukasey proposed is nothing less than an indefinite suspension of one of our most important rights: the right to habeas corpus. The right to demand that the government present evidence before detaining a suspect. Specifically, Mukasey is asking Congress to reverse a recent Supreme Court decision that overturned part of the 2006 Military Commissions Act. The act stripped detainees of the right to appeal decisions made by special military tribunals.
And let's not kid ourselves: Mukasey is not only asking that Bush's kangaroo courts be allowed to operate without review, he's asking that they be allowed to do so for the foreseeable future. If the United States had gone to war against the Nazi Party instead of Germany in World War II, we would still be at war. If we had declared war against the Communist Party back in the 1950s, we would still be at war. If we had declared war against the Ku Klux Klan back in 1865, the South would still be under martial law. Not only is Mukasey asking for an American version of the Reichstag Fire Decree, he's asking that it be put into effect permanently.
To be blunt, Attorney General Mukasey is asking for the United States to be transformed from a nation in which the government serves only as long as it pleases the people, to a nation in which citizens are allowed to remain free only as long as it pleases the government.
Only seven Democrats (counting Joe Lieberman) voted to confirm Mukasey. Every Republican either voted to confirm, or expressed support for Mukasey's nomination. That shows you which party supports limited government.
The primary issue that cost Mukasey the support of the Democrats was his refusal to say whether or not waterboarding constitutes torture. Given the fact that waterboarding had long been in the news, Mukasey's alleged inability to determine whether or not it is torture should have disqualified him from serving as Attorney General. Of course, he was lying about that, and had planned all along to endorse the practice, and that lie should have disqualified him. And while I expected some of our more cowardly senators (Evan Bayh, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Tom Carper) to betray their constituents on the Mukasey nomination, I would have hoped that Democrats who didn't have to worry too much about re-election would have had the political courage to stand up to Bush, especially after the Republicans' catastrophic defeat in 2006.
So I'd like to extend a hearty "screw you" Diane Feinstein of California and Chuck Schumer of New York, who voted to confirm as Attorney General a man who clearly has no regard for either the Constitution or for the rule of law.
(cross posted at Liberal Avenger and appletree)