Thursday, December 6, 2007

December 5, 2007

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty once said, "it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less." I wonder if he worked at the White House.

Here we have an intelligence report that says no, Iran gave up working on a nuclear bomb in 2003; they're quite certain about it. "See," the President says, "I was right all along." Never mind that he's been telling us they were working on a bomb now. They were working on one, once upon a time, and they could start working on one again, sometime. So Mr. Bush was right about what a big, bad threat they were and are. Should we go ahead and bomb them to stop them from developing a weapon they're not working on? Vice President Cheney, I suspect, would vote yes.

Then we have the Supreme Court this week hearing arguments about the legal status of the prisoners on Guantanamo. The administration once argued that the base was outside American law, but the Court said no to that. The detainees do not have the right of habeas corpus, which is the right to be brought before a court and confronted with the charges against you. The Constitution says it can be suspended in cases of "rebellion or invasion." Abraham Lincoln did that during the Civil War but we don't have either of those just now. Never mind. The detainees don't know the charges against them; the military tribunals which will hear their cases don't have to tell them what evidence there is against them; they don't all have lawyers; and the papers carried a story his week about one detainee who was found innocent several years ago but is still in custody.

You can argue, and the lawyers do, over whether all of this stuff is unconstitutional. But there's no doubt at all that it's un-American. Those kinds of mock trials don't belong in the country I grew up in. The country they remind me of is Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union with its show trials and staged, forced confessions.

I know Mr.Bush went to law school but he must be ignoring what he learned there. His notion seems to be that he'll believe whatever he wants to believe about Iran, about Guantanamo, whatever, and his believing it makes it so.

"Curiouser and curiouser," said Alice.

No comments: