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Saturday, August 17, 2002
The Real Bush Doctrine
Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times featured an important piece by George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley on how U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft intends to build detention camps for U.S. citizens that have been deemed “enemy combatants” in the war on terror.
There won’t be trials of these people and they won’t have any legal recourse. They will be held captive until the war on terror is over, which presumably means until violence that the U.S. does not like has been eliminated. You know forever. And if Ashcroft, who presumably isn’t doing anything that bothers President Bush all that much, gets his way, all any U.S. Attorney General will have to do is say that a person is an “enemy combatant” and they will be considered as such and subject to indefinite detention. Your offense might be belonging to a terrorist group but it just as easily could be owning a copy of Empire.
Steve Earle has sung, “No judge, no jury, no hangman, no justice in Ontario” and while it is tempting to change that last word to sum up the situation, there really isn’t any need to. These indefinite detentions, which have already happened to Jose Padilla and Yaser Esam Hamdi, are simply the internal expression of the war on terror. On July 12 your humble blogger wrote that the real Bush Doctrine for the “War on Terror” was:
The United States reserves the right to label any country, group or individual as being terrorists without any evidence. The United States then reserves the right to do anything it wants to these countries, groups or individuals.That formulation is largely correct but should be updated to:
The United States reserves the right to without any evidence to deem any country, group or individual as being terrorists or as aiding terrorists. The United States reserves the right to do anything it wants to any country, group or individual it has deemed to be a terrorist or to be aiding terrorists. If and so long as the United States deems any country, group of individual to not be a terrorist or aiding terrorists, that country, group or individual is not a terrorist or aiding terrorists regardless of whatever actions or activities they engage in. Having created this doctrine, the United States reserves the right to modify this system as it pleases. Thank you for compliant servitude.