What is going on in Washington? Just a week ago, prominent Republican congressional leaders were condemning the proposed legislation that would allow the Bush Administration to disregard the l Geneva Convention. The detainee treatment bill would deny the fundamental right of habeas corpus to detainees held abroad. The most frightening aspect of this legislation is that it would forbid detainees from challenging the legality of their detention or their treatment, even if they were tortured, by recourse to habeas corpus actions. This confounds and astounds me.
There is nothing in the United States Constitution that distinguishes between what type of prisoner has rights and what type of prisoner does not have rights. This country gains its power not from its arsenal but from that very Constitution!
The Bill of Rights was inspired by civil rights violations by the British before and during the Revolutionary War. America was to be different. Our Founding Fathers were committed to the ideal that this country would not abuse its prisoners, be they American Citizens or Prisoners of War. We cried out at the atrocities many of our service men and women suffered in Vietnam, and we stand poised to justify even greater atrocities.
And the majority of Americans are silent. That is the greatest shock of all.