I am horribly dismayed.
Let me restate that. That disgusts me. That the bureaucratic application of a label to a human being and legal citizen of the United States of America - an arbitrary marker of "enemy combatant" - is sufficient to convert a legal person into rightless chattel for processing in an administrative-bureaucratic machine, is an outrage and a desecration. It is the blithe smearing of excrement on lawbooks. It is the wink and the nod, and the outstretched palm, and the ranks of clients in the antechambers.
I wrote the following, in response to the White House plan for using military tribunals (not under the regulation of the UCMJ, but under the direct supervision of the Secretary of Defense and the President) to try foreign citizens in secret:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Joseph Greenbaum)
Subject: Re: This is some nightmare and I will wake up soon.
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 04:25:46 GMT
Organization: Cornell University
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In a fit of divine composition, Mark Atwood
inscribed in fleeting electrons:That's it. That's exactly it. It is so infuriating, I lack the words to express the depths of my scorn and contempt for Ashcroftian chazerei. They recognize no law but privilege and convenience.And this is different from what? When? It has been just as true from all the other political types in history,and more so, in fact.
More so of what, Mark? Fact is, this is posse comitatus Feme for furriners. It's about expediting vengeance on easy targets - more easily targeted for not having access to the civilian court system or the civilian protections of the law - and having *that* victory labeled as progress in victory over terrorism.
Let me tell you, it isn't. Ramming civilians through the military courts to achieve a swift, outrage-lubricated victory is a f***ing profanation. It is ghastly. It is a staggering violation of the explicit norms of legal procedure and philosophy in our country. Do you not understand what this is?
This is not about taking Bin Laden (who may be shot while resisting arrest, for all I care) and making sure that no pansy muddle-headed jury lets his sorry ass out on technicalities.
This is about being able to detain foreign nationals indefinitely and exercising coercion over them through an executive bureaucratic-administrative apparatus that is restricted by no outside independent oversight. Secret evidence in front of military tribunals, in secret. The time-unbounded detention of aliens that the INS is justly condemned for at present occurs *after* a open civilian criminal trial and term of service. This is arbitrary judicial terror. War criminals have more safeguards on their persons.
If they did it for foreigners for convenience, they will try to justify it for Americans. It is a profanation.
The present proceedings on Yasir Esam Hamdi confirm my prediction.
I originally wrote a nice little self-deprecatory note about texts exuding tinfoil hats and slobber-soaked paranoia; I self-referenced a putative unwillingness to Cassandrically expand a deleted phatic condemnation of current political, social, and intellectual trends towards uncritical subordination to the law-unbounded operation of an organic, instrumental State.
To cringe by couching language in gentle shame -- shame that is no more that a fear of social reproof -- that would be lying. The organs of executive government are controlled now by liars, gangsters, thieves, and self-annointed aristocrats. That a lawyer for the Justice Department can barefacedly and unshamefacedly put forward the legal theory of the "enemy combatant" before a court of justice -- that is an assault and an affront to the world.
It is Staatstreich.