Our worst nightmare is now reality. Our unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are gone now that George W. Bush has signed the Military Commissions Act into law. America has started down a slippery slope that will destroy the America that we all love and believe in. What’s hurting America is not war or attacks by terrorists that deface the physical America . Instead we are being destroyed, by our own government; passing laws that erase the values that we hold dear. By doing this, the government is turning the American dream into an Orwellian nightmare.
The Military Commissions Act makes it legal for anyone in the government, from police officers to the president, to walk up to anyone in the United States and arrest them, send them off to Guantanamo Bay, and let them rot; labeled as unlawful enemy combatants. It seems that our writ of habeas corpus no longer exists and we are no longer innocent until proven guilty; we’re just guilty. With the signing of this law, Bush may as well have just torn up the Bill of Rights and set it on fire.
Supporters of this law claim that it will keep our country safe from terrorists. At what cost will we protect our country? Will we go so far as to ignore the Geneva Convention and start treating people worse than we treat rats?
The right-wing Republicans who wrote and voted for this bill say that this law makes it possible for our government to elicit confessions and information out of prisoners. In reality, this law goes against everything that the Geneva Convention has accomplished. Now, prisoners can be tortured to the point of death in order for us to get a confession.
In order to gain more support for this law, the Republicans have come out slamming Democrats. Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, has come out saying, “The Democratic plan would gingerly pamper the terrorists who plan to destroy innocent Americans’ lives.” To me this sound like a party desperately trying to hold onto Congress by saying that Democrats will allow terrorists to attack our country again. Hastert could not be more wrong. Democrats want to protect America, however they would like to treat these prisoners like the human beings that they still are, no matter how evil they might be.
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” These words were spoken by Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding fathers, who lived in a time when our country’s founders fought and died to protect the very freedoms that our president just signed away this week.
America is at a crossroads. The people have a decision to make. We can either choose to keep what freedoms they have left, or sign them away forever. Once we sign away our freedoms, they are gone forever. It is time for us to tell Big Brother, rather, President Bush, that the American people will not allow the unwarranted arrest and torture of human beings to take place in the name of national security.