Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dr. Jekyll, Animal Farm, and No Ordinary Time: I used the titles of the works of classical authors Robert Lewis Stevenson, George Orwell and contemporary historian Doris Kearns Goodwin because their works offer, in content, much of what I thought about the latest civil liberties elimination bill.

Glenn Greenwald embedded video within his opinion “The Real Definition of Terrorism” (See link below). Senator Carl Levin’s comments on the Senate floor offers proof that the president will sign NDAA 1031 Citizen Imprisonment Law in a few days. It also offers proof, according to Greenwald, that “Carl Levin claimed as part of the debate over the detention bill he sponsored with John McCain that it was the Obama White House that demanded removal of language that would have exempted U.S. citizens from military detention without charges”

At first glance I was overwhelmed that a president whom I ardently supported, worked for, wrote endless opinion in support of, and in whom I completely believed, may be the Mr. Hyde of the infamous Dr. Jekyll. It is hard if not impossible to accept and yet, this bill indicates our President, a Harvard Constitutional Law professor, could be just that.

The bill he is about to sign would strip ALL of us of our civil libertarian rights most especially under the Fourth and Sixth Amendments by giving the president UNLIMITED executive power to detain for an unlimited time, without trial, and now even execute a person on the president’s say so alone even IF that person is an American citizen and even IF that person is on US soil. It would eradicate The Fourth and Sixth Amendments to the US Constitution as we know it. This bill is eerily Orwellian in its conception.

Our Fourth and Sixth Constitutional Amendments in order state:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

This soon-to-be latest grievous usurpation of power given by Congress to our president tosses to the wind our Constitutional Bill of Rights mandates. This would be in any other ordinary time a clear infringement and a destruction of the pillars upon which our form of government stands. I agree it would be – in any other ordinary time. But what if this is NO ordinary time?

With the benefit of hindsight we are able to see what our nuclear age looks like. We are able to see this since an actual nuclear bomb was exploded by the US and used on Hiroshima/Nagasaki Japan to end World War II. The US is the only nation to have ever used this device on human beings and their environment in the theater of war. We can see clearly now what the word nuclear means by its evidence.

The unparalled destruction from those nuclear blasts had, in history, never been seen by man. It reached far into the future causing not only the physical destruction of land, buildings and the death of 250,000 people but also included the perpetration of hideous birth defects and cancer for future generations of Japanese who were first exposed.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki shows the extent of damage the explosion of a nuclear device (size small by all accounts) can do. Hiroshima is a mirror for mankind to see what happens when our nuclear age moves out of the text book into reality.

May we say our enemy, the so called terrorists whoever they may be, would IF they could explode, at the very least, a dirty bomb on this nation? We know for certain as Al Qaeda has said that IF they could get their hands on such a device they would NOT hesitate to use it. Some Islamic clergy have given their religious permission slip for such an action. One could argue US egregious actions have prompted such permission but that does not matter now. What matters now is that it exists.

I suggest our Founders wrote our Constitution in quite an ORDINARY time. That is they wrote it when warfare was quite different. We as a nation could bathe in the luxury of Constitutional principle because the consequences of that age were by comparison to present time not dire. No one then, could know what the development of nuclear weaponry was or what it would mean for the survival of not only a country but for the survival of man on this planet.

Glenn and others (including me) academically argue comfortably in the security of an auditorium, classroom or home the notion that our country is stepping on its sacred document. We do not consider that this is no ordinary time. It is not the time in which our Founders lived, nor is it even the time in which our 20th century World War I president, Woodrow Wilson, lived.

What if our so called enemies whether here or abroad obtain a nuclear device with the intent of using it on us? What would YOU do? What lengths would YOU go to prevent this? Are the heretofore sacrosanct edits of our Fourth and Sixth Amendments worth the utter destruction of this nation of 300 million plus and its generations to come?

These are notions I believe we must consider as Pakistan becomes more and more an enemy and less a friend. Pakistan has nuclear weapons. This world could not be known to our Founders and not known for generations which came after them but now it is very well known to us. What are we willing to do and what are we willing to give up to protect this nation from an enemy who knows no boundaries? What are we willing to do to protect our nation from the perils of our age and MOST importantly is it really necessary to alter if not destroy our constitutional principles to do so?

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