Saturday, September 30


The Rethuglican Congress now shares complete responsibility with Bush and Cheney for every act of torture, rendition, and flouting of the U.S. Constitution. When Bush famously declared that his job would be a lot easier if he was dictator, little could we know how eager Congress would be to grant him such powers.

The bill, which cleared a final procedural hurdle in the House on Friday and is likely to be signed into law next week by Mr. Bush, does not just allow the president to determine the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions; it also strips the courts of jurisdiction to hear challenges to his interpretation.

And it broadens the definition of “unlawful enemy combatant” to include not only those who fight the United States but also those who have “purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States.”
Bruce Ackerman, a critic of the administration and a professor of law and political science at Yale University, sharply criticized the bill but agreed that it strengthened the White House position. “The president walked away with a lot more than most people thought,” Mr. Ackerman said. He said the bill “further entrenches presidential power” and allows the administration to declare even an American citizen an unlawful combatant subject to indefinite detention.

“And it’s not only about these prisoners,” Mr. Ackerman said. “If Congress can strip courts of jurisdiction over cases because it fears their outcome, judicial independence is threatened.”

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