Today’s New York Times has a very interesting article that requires a thorough reading. It details how an American contractor was held in an American military prison in Iraq for more than 90 days without access to a lawyer. Furthermore, this person was wrongly jailed. He was an informant for the FBI into possible contractor fraud, and the military detained him. To add insult to injury, this man was subject to many of the same treatments as the prisoners at Gitmo.
Two very important issues come to mind from this story.
Why would American citizens subject themselves to this? I am not talking about the actual treatment, but the risk of being subject to that treatment. I know the pay is phenomenal for American contactors in Iraq, but in essence you are putting a price on your life, and in the end your life is not worth that price.
Now I know many are thinking that “this will never happen to me or my loved one working over there”, and if that is the case, then you must read this story again. This is a man, who was doing the right thing. He was reporting possible illegal activities, something any citizen of the United States, with a conscience would do. He ended up being subject to 3 months of total hell, because the military screwed up, and remember – he was denied access to attorneys (because of Bush’s idea of Democracy), so he had no way to plea his case. Sounds more like times prior to the 17th century than the 21st century.
The other issue that comes to mind deals with the people who constantly support this type of technique. I am talking about the wingnuts (the Malkins and Drudges in the world).
Now I can understand that these people also suffer from the proverbial “this couldn’t happen to me” mind set. This just shows how disconnected from reality they really are.
Considering this new broad and abusive power granted to our administrative branch and our form of government, think of how quickly this could change. Sure the wingnuts don’t have to worry so much about the Republican leadership detaining them for no reason – they are the choir. But what if we get a President Clinton in 2008, or something happens to Bush and Cheney and we now got a President Pelosi.
Let’s take that even further through a hypothetical.
There is a terrorist attack that ends up taking out the President and vice-President. Now our Constitution (what is left of it) kicks in. This gives us a President Pelosi. She now enters the same mindset that Bush did following 9/11; “We must forget about freedom and do what is right for safety”. President Pelosi and her national security team find out that this attack was fueled by a constant sense of Muslim hate, which is something you can get from reading most right-wing blogs. Since these people enraged our enemies, she declares them an enemy combatant. Now they are in the same situation as all those at Gitmo.
I know people will say “well this hypothetical would probably never happen”. That is true, but we used the same far-fetching hypothetical’s to argue for Bush’s detainee powers. This hypothetical, with a few key issues changes, is more probable then the 24 scenario of “there is a bomb in the country set to detonate in 24 hours and we have 1 terrorist…blah blah blah” crap we heard last summer. Strike out the part of a terrorist attack and replace it with impeached. We still get President Pelosi. Now we do get any sort of terrorist attack. We are once again back into the hypothetical above, with more realistic terms.
Of course this idea will never sink into the wingnuts. Like I said above, they live in a world of altered reality and have a feeling of invincibility to such things. This is the same kind of invincibility our nation, as a whole, suffered from on September 10, 2001 and December 6, 1941. We all know what happened on the following days.