Beware: Standard for U.S. soon may be 'whatever Bush says'

Posted: Monday, May 17, 2004

Lest we forget, in April 2003, it was Rumsfeld, not a 21-year-old private, who authorized troops in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to strip prisoners naked before questioning, and it was Bush who defended chaining Guantanamo Bay prisoners to stakes in unsheltered cages for months on end "to soften them up."

When accused of violating the Geneva Convention's internationally accepted minimum standards of prisoner treatment, Bush declared, "They're not prisoners of war, they're 'Illegal Combatants.' The Geneva Convention only covers prisoners."

If international law doesn't apply, what's our standard? According to President Bush, America's rule of law doesn't apply. "If they're not Americans and not on American soil, America's courts have no authority."

The only remaining standard is, "Whatever Bush says ..."

President Bush is currently in court, defending his decision to deny Guantanamo Bay prisoners "Prisoner of War Status" and defending his policy of striping prisoners naked before questioning.

Bush's eagerness to discard the rule of law isn't limited to foreigners. He's also in court claiming the right to designate you an "Illegal Combatant." If Bush wins, he'll have the authority to make anyone he wants disappear. No explanation required.

Sound reminiscent of a different era? Think it can't happen here? Attorney General Ashcroft's December 2001 testimony to Congress defined "acts of questioning government" as "aiding the enemy."

By Ashcroft's definition, this letter equals treason.

Ray Metcalfe, chair

Republican Moderate Party, Anchorage

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