Saturday, March 05, 2005

1031 Days

Two months and three days shy of three years, or 1031 days and the Bush administration is still actively battling to keep one not very bright or connected high school drop out from exercising his most basic Constitutional or human rights.

Their alleged reasons for doing so are as shifty and shaky as their reasons for any other thing they do or don't do for that matter. They need to charge this alleged low level flunky and allow him due process of the law or prepare to apologize for the harm they have caused him and our Constitutional process.

For obvious reasons, the Constitution denies the president or his aides the power to decide by themselves that a citizen can be imprisoned indefinitely without judicial review. Armed with such power, an administration could imprison its political opponents or silence them with the threat.

Yes, there is a risk that if Padilla is freed he might make trouble. But tracking potential criminals is a job intelligence and police agencies can handle. The cost of setting a precedent that presidents can jail whomever they choose would be far greater.

This case is not just about Jose Padilla. It's about every citizen's liberty. If the foundations of freedom crumble under the stresses of the war on terrorism, the terrorists will have won.

The Bush administration's insistence on hiding behind shadowy boogeymen is pure cowardice and it shames us all.


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