Friday, May 19, 2006

How Does President Bush Compare with Other Wartime Presidents With Respect to Free Speech Issues?

A history lesson in a nutshell. John Dean's comparison of wartime presidents is well done.
How Does President Bush Compare with Other Wartime Presidents With Respect to Free Speech Issues?: "Bush and Cheney Are On Track To Outdo Their Rights-Infringing Predecessors
It's true that Bush and Cheney did not call for the arrest of Howard Dean in 2004, as Woodrow Wilson did with Eugene Debs during World War One - an analogy Stone offers to suggest some progress is being made. But as more and more comes out about what they have done, it is clear that they plan to outdo all their predecessors when it comes to dramatic infringements of civil liberties in the name of wartime necessity. Stone may have been premature in believing progress has been made. The facts suggest otherwise.
Rather than suspend habeas corpus, Bush and Cheney declare people 'enemy combatants' and keep them out of the jurisdiction of federal courts. No one knows how many Arab Americans (or Middle Easterners) have been rounded up, but rather than create internment camps, they are deporting them, sending them to secret prisons, or turning them over to countries where civil liberties do not exist, in a process delicately known as 'diplomatic rendition' but better described as 'torture by proxy.' .
More generally, Bush and Cheney have surely topped all their predecessors in their unbridled support for and use of torture. They have outdone all their predecessors, too, in their high-tech, relentless fear-mongering. In their claim of strengthening the presidency, they have shown they are cowards hiding behind the great power of the offices they hold, the prerogatives of which they are determined to abuse.
Professor Stone quotes Justice Louis Brandeis, who wrote 'Those who won our independence � knew that � fear breeds repression and that courage is the secret of liberty.' There is no such courage in the Bush and Cheney presidency.
John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist"

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