This is the one that has been lapping at the back steps of our civil rights for a couple of years now…
Kevin Drum links to an essay at Obsidian Wings decrying Big Denny Hastert’s proposal to “ease up on those UN conventions against torture” for persons rounded up as “terror suspects.” What he has proposed is creating an Orwellian new set of guidelines that place the burden of proof on a prospective toturee to prevent him from being handed over by our government to countries known to torture people.
This is classic ugly-puppy kicking. (No one cares if you kick the ugly puppy, and who really cares about the rights of terror suspects? They wouldn’t have been picked up if they weren’t guilty, right? Sure, mistakes might be made, but these people are foreigners, ferchrissakes!) Red meat for the Jesus and genocide crowd and a real loser for anyone who choses to advocate against it. (John Kerry wants to protect the civil rights of TERRORISTS!)
This isn’t really news- it’s pretty much textbook autocrat stuff. The thing that gets me is what Kevin Drum suggests we do about it. To whit: “Go read the whole post. And then call your congressman.”
My cynicism valve must be stuck open today. I didn’t even glance at the phone. Call my congressman? So I can leave a message for Max Burns to pick up when he gets back from golfing with the boys from GOPAC? I should write a letter to Zell Miller? So he can write back and challenge me to a fucking DUEL? I am touched by Kevin’s dream of responsive legislators, but I guarantee you that every legislator on Capitol Hill has two form letters ready to go in MS Word- One that says “Congressman Poopstain would like to assure you, his valued constituent, that he will very carefully evaluate any legislation that the House/Senate considers and vote to keep America’s children safe from those dirty foreigners,” and one that says “Congressman Poopstain would like to assure you, his valued constituent, that he will very carefully evaluate any legislation that the House/Senate considers and vote to protect the Rights and Privileges that have made this country the shining Beacon of Hope and Freedom for the rest of the world.”
The Legislative Assistant will have an intern print the “right” version up, the Congressman’s signature will be affixed from a file and it won’t ever pass under the man in question’s nose. He’s going to be too busy returning calls from the McDonnell-Douglas guy. Trust me on this one.