Prolonged preventative detention?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 Comments

I can't tell you how many times in the last few days and weeks I have read an article and thought to myself incredulously, what the heck is happening to this country?! Sounds a little melodramatic but this stuff is just insanity on so many levels. Here is just one example, more to come:

Almost as shocking as the content is the fact that this actually aired on MSNBC.

Obama is framing this up in terms of terrorist threats from foreign nations, specifically it kind of sounds like some sort of "insurance policy" to allow him to hold Gitmo detainees who cannot be successfully prosecuted through the legal system, since he insists on going that route in the first place.

However, what he's proposing here is a broad scope of power (dare I use the now overly worn-out word, "unprecedented"?) with what checks and balances? Once established, how easy would it be for such power to be abused - if not by this administration, then by the next one, or the one after them?

Remember that Dept of Homeland Security report warning of the risks of "right-wing extremism"? It was loosely defined to target those who favor states' rights, value the sanctity of life, support the 2nd amendment, or are U.S. veterans, just to name a few (and lacked supporting evidence).

If they're starting from scratch on setting the rules, and doing so outside the existing legal system, isn't it possible that these purposely vague descriptions could be used to target individuals for nothing more than exercising free speech? Or not even that, but just on the suspicion of possibly holding opinions that might conceivably (however remote the possibility) be deemed to be a "threat"? Or do I just have an overactive imagination? (I sincerely hope it's the latter).

Listen to what he's saying in the speech though - the justification for holding people is not what they've done, but what the government suspects they might do in the future. Being held - indefinitely, and without charges or trial - for a crime not yet committed (and possibly not ever intended to be committed). Imprisonment based not on actions or even intent, but on mere suspicion. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

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