Sunday, May 09, 2004

One of the many, many reasons Iraqis are so upset about the prisoner abuse situation is that they are more aware than we are of how many of the detainees are not actually involved in organized insurgency. Our troops know very little about Iraqi society, and oftent they detain people based on their neighbors' say so. I have read a couple accounts by soldiers saying that some tribes in the Sunni Triangle have long-running feuds like the Hatfields and McCoys - when Marines come around asking questions, locals finger people who are already their enemies, whether they are involved in the insurgency or not. Add to this our troops' tendency to detain anyone who is at the address they are given, regardless of what name they give, and you have the very real possibility that many detainees are innocent. Which is really disturbing, since some of these guys are not being detained, but just getting whacked. If you don't believe it, look up Patrice Lamumba sometime.

Which brings me to the home front, and once again to my homeboy Jose Padilla. Now I'm not a big fan of any of these West Side gangbangers and I'm more than happy to see him convicted and sentenced for anything, whether he's a terrorist or not. But under the constitution, the guy deserves a fair trial on concrete charges. If the government has nothing on him, they have to let him go. I'm not defending the bastard for a second, what I'm saying is, if the government can hold a citizen without evidence, without charges, then the government can hold you, too. And that, folks, is the end of our freedom. The other day I got a notice in the mail that I received a parking ticket on Apiril 20th in Peoria, Illinois on April 20th. The notice threatened to revoke my license if I don't pay up. Interesting, since I have never been to Peoria in my life. Since there is an accepted legal process associated with parking tickets, I called and found out the ticket was issued to some guy with a Ford. Since I don't drive a Ford, the issue will probably be sorted out. But if the Bush Administrations rules were in force, they would just take the money out of my bank account, seize my liscence, or both. The fact that it's a mistake would never come out, without due process.

Now some people would tell you that it's worth falsely imprisoning a few people for years to prevent another 9/11, but they are chickenshit morons. Look, 9/11 was terrible, but we are still here. We lost 3,000 people. Terrible, but we are not broken. We lost 400,000 people in WWII and are still standing. I'm not meaning to be callous, but I want to point out that Al Queada does not have the power to destroy our society, overthrow our democracy, or take our freedom. All they can do is kill people, and not enough people to bring the American experiment to an end. We have faced worse in the past; we have survived. But our own government, stripped of its checks and balances, can destroy our free society.

But not without a fight.
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