If George Bush is driving our nation down a one-way road to hell, it’s the Republican-controlled House and Senate that are enabling him to do this. On October 17th, Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which had previously passed the Senate and House on the 28th and 29th of September, respectively. This is another dangerous piece of legislation from the Bush Administration, one that should leave us all slightly disturbed and give us something else to think about on election day. Current Yale Law student and former Oxford student (and India travel buddy) Cyrus Habib recently laid out what’s at stake in an opinion piece in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
On Oct. 17, President Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the administration’s latest and arguably most dangerous attack on both the U.S. Constitution and the international rule of law. The act allows the military to detain alien enemy combatants indefinitely with no guarantee of a hearing, leaves it entirely up to the president to determine what constitutes torture and allows detainees to be tried in their own absence.
The Military Commissions Act was a slap in the face for all those who trust the U.S. Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution. In June this year, the court ruled that the Defense Department’s military commissions conform to neither the standards set out by the Geneva Conventions nor to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The court’s decision sent a clear message to the president that even suspected terrorists deserve their day in court, and that, as grave as the threat of global terrorism is, our nation must remain committed to the principles of international law and human rights.
So what did Bush do? He turned to his friends in Congress for help. The Military Commissions Act was introduced by the administration and unquestioningly approved by Congress’ Republican majority….
This is why we have to ensure that Bush’s last two years in office won’t afford him the privilege of robbing citizens of their constitutional rights. We have to ensure that his power is balanced, not bolstered, by Congress. We have to ensure that the executive branch is checked, not cheered on, by Congress.
As citizens of a country with due process of law, let us come together — Republicans and Democrats — to help undo this most recent presidential sin of commission.
With that in mind, if you haven’t already voted early, make sure you make your voice heard tomorrow on Election Day!