Move Over Pearl Harbor

On December 8, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed December 7th a day that would live in infamy. I was a Junior in High School, and we listened to his speech on the radio in Spanish class. Up until now, that day has stood alone as one deserving such a description. It is no longer alone. September 11, 2001 was in the running to join it, but today's events make it pale in significance. Almost three thousand lives were lost on that day. Today, the hundreds of thousands of lives sacrificed to preserve our freedoms were thrown on history's trash heap. Today, George W. Bush signed into law the most despicable act of a despicable legislature. Today the guarantees of freedom from government abuse, which we have taken for granted throughout our history, disappeared—with the stroke of a pen. The ceremony was filled with enough sanctimony to sicken an elephant, but the damage to all of us has been done.

Until a case reaches the Supreme Court, the president or the Secretary of Defense can determine what constitutes an enemy combatant and throw away the key. You've heard the expression where the sun don't shine in a different context, but this one is really frightening. No longer is there a guarantee that you can know the charges against you, have the right to a speedy trial, or a trial at all for that matter, face your accuser, see the evidence against you, or the many rights we as Americans have enjoyed and, indeed, taken for granted. Our hopes are in the hands of one Supreme Court Associate Justice, Justice Kennedy. Four of the black robed deciders are in the president's camp. Four are usually on the side of liberty. One is a swing vote and can't be counted on, particularly in this case. He's already said it's up to the legislature and, unfortunately, that rubber stamp group has acted. October 17, 2006. Patrick Henry, where were you when we needed you?