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As the nature and form of our nation’s government was being debated some 200 years ago, George Washington is said to have nixed a proposal to make him America’s king. Instead, he preferred a constitutional presidency.
How far our leaders have fallen from such democratic soundness. Today, we’ve tumbled all the way down to George W, the little president who would be king. His latest push to enthrone himself is his proposal to let the president usurp the separate-but-equal, constitutional authority of the judiciary. His plan is to create secret executive courts, run by the Pentagon, with astonishing discretion to abrogate our most fundamental rights of due process.
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Of course, this is being pushed as necessary to battle terrorists, but Bush’s extremist proposal establishes permanent military star chambers, not only for the trial of foreigners suspected of terrorist connections, but also, for the first time, to try U. S. citizens who are not members of terrorist groups and have no direct involvement with terrorist acts. Most Americans would be shocked to learn that Bush’s bill would give the military the unchecked power to lock them up indefinitely without access to civilian courts.
Also, Bush’s secret military tribunals would deny you the right to a speedy trial, the right to choose your own lawyer, the right for you or your lawyer to see the evidence against you… and even the right to be present at your trial! On the other hand, the prosecutors would be allowed to convict you with hearsay evidence and testimony obtained through “coercive” interrogations.
This is a Kangaroo court. As the Navy’s former top lawyer puts it, Bush’s plan says to anyone they lock up: “We know you’re guilty. We can’t tell you why, but there’s a guy, we can’t tell you who, who told us something. We can’t tell you what, but you’re guilty.”
This is Jim Hightower saying… Where’s George Washington when we need him?
“Military lawyers oppose Bush plan for special courts,” Austin American-Statesman, August 3, 2006.
“White House Proposal Would expand Authority of Military Courts,” The Washington Post, August 2, 2006.
“Bush Submits New Terror Detainee Bill,” The Associated Press, July 26, 2006.