By: Rowan Wolf of Uncommon Thought Journal
Is it despotism? Is it totalitarianism? Is it fascism? Maybe it is just somewhere on the way to all three?
On September 28th, the House passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006. On September 29th, the Senate did the same. Part of the implications are summed up in the headline “Detainee Bill Shifts Power to President.” Indeed.
THe “compromisers” McCain, Warner, and Graham, cannot possibly be “happy” with signing away roughly 700 years of a little law known as “habeas corpus.” Surely McCain, who was held as a prisoner of war, is not pleased with abridging the Geneva Conventions at the behest of party leadership.
Of course we hear the platitudes that this gives the U.S. the “tools” it needs to fight terrorism. It gives tools such as torture, secret and indefinite detentions, no right of legal counsel or representation, no right of appeal, and the ability to enact the death penalty under these conditions. Beyond that, it also gives the president full authority to determine who is an “enemy combatant,” and therefore subject to the above conditions. It is critically important to acknowledge that being a terrorist (or supporter of terrorists) suspect, does not make one guilty of anything. However, such nuances are hardly important under the new legislation. You, me, and your Mother, could equally and easily fall afoul of this law, and any legal protections whatsoever.
Some might argue that part of the “compromise” with McCain, Warner, and Graham, was that the McCain Amendment (passed earlier this year) will protect folks from torture. However, that amendment was one of the hundreds that Bush excluded himself from with his “signing statements.”
There is also a (slim) possibility that this “Act” (in so many meanings of the word) will eventually be ruled unconstitutional. Whether it is or not, it is unlikely it would be thusly ruled before the current administration leaves office. Of course, that is part of the reason to pass it. Namely that it will protect the current administration from the “embarrassment” of impeachment (at least on these issues) should the Democrats take the House in November. It does not shield them from illegal wiretapping (at least that has passed yet), nor lying (spinning?) the United States into a war.
But what if the Military Commissions Act is not ruled unconstitutional? Afterall, the intent of stacking the Supreme Court has been to rewrite the Constitution to the whim of the cabal which now holds power. The movement in this direction is made abundantly clear by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ warning to federal judges that they should not challenge the president in a time of “war.” Judges might do well to heed this warning as Bush is now claiming that critics of his policies are accepting “the enemies propaganda.” So not agreeing with Bush is supporting terrorist propaganda and that means supporting terrorism, and that just might be enough to make one an “enemy combatant” – even if one is a Federal Court Judge.
Do the Republicans want to win in 2008 to continue their conquest of the United States and the rewriting of what “freedom,” “liberty,” and “democracy” mean, or do they want to step aside and have the Democrats saddled with dealing with an economic collapse under a debt in excess of $7 trillion? Regardless, the United States of 2008 will be (already is) a very different government than it was five years ago. It will take decades (if ever) to regain the rights and protections lost under the current incumbents.
Despotism is a form of government by a single authority, either an individual or tightly knit group, which rules with absolute political power. On its classical form, a despotism is a state where one single man wields all the power and authority, and everyone else is considered as his slave.
Totalitarianism is a term employed … to describe modern regimes in which the state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior.
Fascism is a radical political ideology that combines elements of corporatism, authoritarianism, nationalism, militarism, anti-anarchism, anti-communism and anti-liberalism.