Thursday, October 19, 2006

(As of yet unpublished.)

In 1759, an anonymous writer penned these words: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Each historical instance in which liberty has been given up for safety has proven to be a grave mistake. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 recently signed by President Bush is no different.

In 1798, Thomas Jefferson wrote that "habeas corpus secures every man here, alien or citizen, against everything which is not law..." Habeas corpus is a basic right of all men, and the signing of this bill forfeits that right for whosoever President Bush may decide.

Many argue that this bill extends only to those "unlawful enemy combatants," but no definition of this term is set, save that by President Bush. Torture, that term we freely bandy without recalling what it entails, is also allowed – of course, at President Bush's discretion. We are allowing the President far more power than is Constitutional or wise.

This bill has been passed thanks to fear and ignorance – our own, as well as that of our representatives. We are urged to trust those in power, though they have lied repeatedly and given us no good reason to believe they would act prudently with these powers.

We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Let us not now be so afraid as to sacrifice our liberties to a capricious administration that has done nothing but make empty promises and engender fear and division amongst us.


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