Sunday, March 06, 2005

Extrajudicial Rendition and Torture

Why do we need to be very careful and cautious with the Bush regime's inclination for extrajudicial rendition and torture?

For the same reasons that:
  • We don't allow our president to be absolute dictator for four years.
  • We require two officers with separate keys to launch a nuclear missle.
  • We have three branches of government providing checks and balances on each other.
  • We require a court order to allow police to enter a private property.
  • We require a court order to allow government to seize private property.
  • All police shootings are investigated.
In a nutshell, to prevent abuse of power by not concentrating too much power in too few hands. This principle is essentially the whole point of our constitution - to provide for a workable government but restrained with checks and balances in such a way that no one person or department or branch has enough power to abuse their power.

Anytime we must consider new powers in the hands of our government, we must ask ourselves, what is the potential for abuse of this power? If the potential for abuse is great, we must build in some checks and balances on that power.

In the case of torture, it's often said that if a terrorist knows of an atomic bomb that's going to destroy a city and kill millions, it would be reasonable to torture the terrorist in order to save millions of lives. That's absolutely true. It's against our constitution but millions of lives outweighs this one single torture. But ONLY if we really know there is a potential to save millions of lives. (Let's not forget how easily the Bush regime said, "we must attack Iraq now because they have weapons of mass destruction," only to hear him say later, "oops, he didn't have weapons of mass destruction but the world is better off without him.") So, how can we judge when torture might be permissable? Very simple - by court order. The court order must come from a significant federal court and must not be a simple thing to obtain. It can be a quick thing to obtain in emergencies but it must never be a simple and casual thing to obtain. It might even need to come from the Supreme Court. There is a huge potential for abuse with torture so we need some serious safeguards against abuse.

Right now, the Bush regime can torture anyone at anytime or send them to a foreign country for torture without a court order and without any oversight. This is unacceptable. If this is not stopped soon, it's just a matter of time before news reporters are tortured to give up their sources, illegal file sharing kids are tortured to give up their co-conspirators, and all of us have more to fear from our own government than from terrorists.

This abuse of power by the Bush regime is dangerous to the American way of life and it will spread rapidly if we don't get it under control soon. Power corrupts and the current Bush regime has way too much power already.


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