Friday, November 11, 2005

After eight centuries of ossified due process and doddering dedication to the rule of law, it's refreshing to see Western democracy make the bold leap forward to locking people up forever without charges or legal representation.

In a 49-42 vote, the Senate has voted to strip prisoners in Guantanamo Bay of the ability to challenge their detentions in court. The brainchild of Senator Lindsey Graham1, the amendment aims to free the Justice Department of the messy formality of fundamental rights. Why waste the courts' precious time with pointless technicalities like guilt or innocence? Imprison them all and let waterboarding sort it out. When the War on Terror ends - an outcome which will become inevitable upon the unconditional surrender of Fear and the seizure of Horror's training camps within Greater Spookystan - any enemy combatants remaining may be released to any country of theirs that still exists.

But why stop with terror when the same tactics could aid America so much more in its war on crime? A lean, streamlined criminal justice system could skip straight from arrest to imprisonment without the lengthy hassle of a criminal trial, while simultaneously eliminating the dangerous possibility that any guilty suspect could evade justice through the loophole of being innocent. Mr. Graham would protest that at Guantanamo "we are dealing with enemy combatants, not common criminals," but the fact of the matter is that common criminals are far more dangerous. In 2003 alone, over seventeen thousand deaths were the result of homicide in the United States - nearly six times the total domestic body count of terror so far. If we insist on denying the most basic rights of an old man randomly pulled out of an Afghan village, can we ask any less of the three hundred million potential criminals roving America's streets?

1. A special congratulations to Graham and his colleagues in the Senate's Inflatable Saint Caucus, who voted both to outlaw institutionalized torture and to maintain the permanent detention apparatus that will allow institutionalized torture to function after it is outlawed. Kudos, gentlemen!
posted by the Medium Lobster at 11:06 AM




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