Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Lead Balloon

Reading that the President of the United States, overwhelmingly elected last November because the nation wanted a change, is mulling over the concept of "preventative detention" of those suspected of being terrorists was the kind of shock no decent person should have to sustain the first thing in the morning.

From the NY Times:

President Obama told human rights advocates at the White House on Wednesday that he was mulling the need for a “preventive detention” system that would establish a legal basis for the United States to incarcerate terrorism suspects who are deemed a threat to national security but cannot be tried, two participants in the private session said. ...

“He was almost ruminating over the need for statutory change to the laws so that we can deal with individuals who we can’t charge and detain,” one participant said. “We’ve known this is on the horizon for many years, but we were able to hold it off with George Bush. The idea that we might find ourselves fighting with the Obama administration over these powers is really stunning.”

That's right: President Obama is considering pushing for a statute to pick up and detain those "deemed a threat to national security" before they do anything unseemly. This would be a change, alright, but in the wrong freaking direction.

Why the president is even considering such a move is a puzzle. Is he trying to offset the recent eruptions of impotent rage from former Vice President Cheney? After all, this comes just as the president is about to deliver a speech on national security at one end of Washington, DC at the same time Dick Cheney will be speaking to the American Enterprise Institute at the other end. Is he trying to out-dick Dick?

Or, even worse, does he really believe that the American public should be kept in a state of constant fear so that they can easily be manipulated the way George Bush and Dick Cheney did so successfully for eight years? Is that his vision for a new America?

Or is this another "trial balloon," floated to see just what the mood of the country is with respect to security. If so, that balloon should be shot down by those of us who remember the good old days of civil liberties as guaranteed by the US Constitution, that quaint document housed in the very building from which President Obama will be speaking.

After all, consider who gets to decide who the potential terrorists are: the CIA, who cheerfully kidnapped and tortured the life out of those turned over by bounty hunters, and the FBI, who just as cheerfully spied on anti-war protesters, among them the miscreants who built those inherently dangerous giant puppets.

Enough of such outrageous talk, such outrageous tyranny.


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