Sunday, March 04, 2007

NYTs tries to be the 536th CIC

In today's NYTs editorial, "The Must-Do List", editor(s) dictate their "must do's", effectively vying for the 536th position as group Commander in Chief.

Their list is laughable.... lightening up on terrorist intel, detainment, and interrogation. All to make us "look good" to the enemy and the passive Euro world who stands by the sidelines, waiting for America to do all the dirty work in providing for the world's safety against brutal thugs. The same cockroach scum who would no more follow the same rules of engagement.

I have to wonder what the world is thinking. When you have a group of radicals who will stop at nothing and kill anyone in their path to achieve their objectives, why are we busy battling each other to figure out ways to fight back with kid gloves on, and one hand tied behind our back? When they wish to die more than we wish to live, we are destined to lose.

Below is the opening paragraphs, and their subheadlines. They expound on each in the full article, linked above.

The Bush administration’s assault on some of the founding principles of American democracy marches onward despite the Democratic victory in the 2006 elections. The new Democratic majorities in Congress can block the sort of noxious measures that the Republican majority rubber-stamped. But preventing new assaults on civil liberties is not nearly enough.

Five years of presidential overreaching and Congressional collaboration continue to exact a high toll in human lives, America’s global reputation and the architecture of democracy. Brutality toward prisoners, and the denial of their human rights, have been institutionalized; unlawful spying on Americans continues; and the courts are being closed to legal challenges of these practices.

It will require forceful steps by this Congress to undo the damage. A few lawmakers are offering bills intended to do just that, but they are only a start. Taking on this task is a moral imperative that will show the world the United States can be tough on terrorism without sacrificing its humanity and the rule of law.

Today we’re offering a list — which, sadly, is hardly exhaustive — of things that need to be done to reverse the unwise and lawless policies of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Many will require a rewrite of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, an atrocious measure pushed through Congress with the help of three Republican senators, Arlen Specter, Lindsey Graham and John McCain; Senator McCain lent his moral authority to improving one part of the bill and thus obscured its many other problems.

Our list starts with three fundamental tasks:

Restore Habeas Corpus


Stop Illegal Spying


Ban Torture, Really


Many of the tasks facing Congress involve the way the United States takes prisoners, and how it treats them. There are two sets of prisons in the war on terror. The military runs one set in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. The other is even more shadowy, run by the C.I.A. at secret places.

Close the C.I.A. Prisons


Account for ‘Ghost Prisoners’


Ban Extraordinary Rendition


Congress needs to completely overhaul the military prisons for terrorist suspects, starting with the way prisoners are classified. Shortly after 9/11, Mr. Bush declared all members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban to be “illegal enemy combatants” not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions or American justice. Over time, the designation was applied to anyone the administration chose, including some United States citizens and the entire detainee population of Gitmo.

To address this mess, the government must:

Tighten the Definition of Combatant


Screen Prisoners Fairly and Effectively


Ban Tainted Evidence


Ban Secret Evidence


Better Define ‘Classified’ Evidence


Respect the Right to Counsel


The United States should apologize to a Canadian citizen and a German citizen, both innocent, who were kidnapped and tortured by American agents.

Oh yes, and it is time to close the Guantánamo camp. It is a despicable symbol of the abuses committed by this administration (with Congress’s complicity) in the name of fighting terrorism.

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