As of this week, the Bush Administration's descent into totalitarian depravity has reached a new low so despicable that even a few Republicans are beginning to criticize it.
It was revealed this week that the Bush Administration is planning to keep people as prisoners for their entire lives, even though there is no evidence that those people have committed any crime against the United States. The lack of evidence against these people is so striking that the American government does not even have enough grounds to bring them before a form of military tribunal that has been set up by George W. Bush precisely for the purpose of evading the standards of justice set by the United States Constitution.
Furthermore, it has been determined that these prisoners are of no use to American spies. As Reuters news service puts it, these are people "the government believes have no more intelligence to share".
In the old, pre-Homeland, United States of America, a person had to be convicted of murder, by a jury of peers, in a public, open trial, on the basis of evidence without a reasonable doubt, and with the opportunity for fair representation and appeal to the justice system to rule out mistakes and prosecutorial fraud. Oh, but that was before The Homeland was created, and as we're told over and over again, in the Homeland, everything changed.
At first, it was a scandal that the President of the United States had claimed the power to set up his own courts, outside of the judicial branch of government, to force people through military tribunals that would be little more than kangaroo courts. Now, it appears that Mr. Bush, the Master of our Homeland, has decided that he does not have to give prisoners any trial at all, ever. He can just lock them up, forever.
On what basis does George W. Bush justify his seizure of dictatorial powers? The Bush Administration says that the people it is imprisoning are "suspected terrorists".
This claim is a strange one, given that the American government admitted that it has no evidence that these prisoners have committed any crime against the United States. If there is no evidence against these prisoners, how can they be suspected terrorists? Is this just another thing that George W. Bush feels in his gut? Do they just look guilty?
It is a sad day for those Americans who actually care about freedom, to see the American President give himself the power to convict people and punish them with life sentences without any need of evidence or even the formality of a show trial. This power is at the heart of totalitarianism, and now that George W. Bush has seized it, he is nothing more than a dictator.
It is worse than if George W. Bush only declared himself above the law. By declaring prisoners to be guilty without evidence and without trial, George W. Bush has declared that his word is the law.
American liberals have long been warning that George W. Bush is leading America toward dictatorship. Well, now it has been revealed that Bush has already taken dictatorial powers for himself. The dictatorship is here.
The saddest thing of all is that most Americans just don't care. So long as they are not taken prisoner, they don't care if other people are. So long as they are not tortured, they don't care if other people are. So long as they are able to live safely in their homes, they don't care if other people, in other countries, are killed in their homes.
There is a new nonchalance in America about the withering of freedom. Freedom has now become an abstract concept for most Americans, something that is to be given only to some people, but not to others. Now, under the shadow of The Homeland, Americans seem to like the idea that only good people that the government approves of have the privilege of freedom. Gone are the days when freedom was regarded as a universal human right. Americans seem to want only security and vengeance.
This new attitude is typified by a letter sent by Margaret Gutzmer of Stafford, New York, to the editors of the Democrat and Chronicle. In this letter, she gives the following advice for the war in Iraq. "I think it's time that our boys shoot up roads for the hidden bombs, then shoot up and bomb all the buildings, bar none. Then come home."
There are a few sane voices of protest in the ruling Republican Party. Republican Senator Richard Lugar had the decency this week to go on national television and say that keeping people in prison for their entire lives, without trial, even though there is no evidence against them, is "a bad idea."
Where were the other Republicans in the United States Senate and House of Representatives? Where was their protest? There was none from them. They merely walked away from the news, quietly whistling to themselves, doing nothing. They know full well that their party has become the home to people like Margaret Gutzmer, people who are hungry for a good show of complete, unrestrained destruction, topped off with a display of wanton pain and humiliation.
Even on the Democratic side of American politics, few national leaders have bothered to speak out against the Bush Administration's grab of dictatorial powers. One of the few, Senator Carl Levin, has made the simple request that "There must be some modicum, some semblance of due process," but most of his Democratic colleagues in Congress have not bothered to issue statements on the matter. They, like their Republican counterparts, are choosing to remain silent, afraid that any protest might offend the blood and guts constituency.
People once imagined that an American dictator would have to march into power dramatically, with tanks and guns, the declaration of martial law, and the imprisonment of hordes of good citizens who would not be silent while their freedoms were taken away. Now, we see that this notion was nonsense. An American dictator has slipped in, quietly, taking power little by little in secret, and through measures that never got to the front page of our newspapers. George W. Bush has seized the powers of dictatorship through the same means as Adolph Hitler: By giving the people exactly what they want.