Breaking news: Torture is now endorsed by the Obama administration and the US Supreme Court and is available for use on US citizens.
The Obama administration now bravely supports expanding the scope of the Bush administration’s torture policies to include possible application for any US citizens. Anyone that a US President wants to torture must simply be accused of being a “terrorist”, without any evidence or review, and the torture and brutality can begin. Obama’s brave new stance in favor of torture is in spite of his previous “populist” campaign promises to completely eliminate torture:
Appalling: Under the US Constitution no person can be held without due process nor be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. Torture is explicitly and specificity illegal under US law – it is in fact a capital crime. But if the President – or anyone he designates – declares you to be “a suspected enemy combatant”, you cease to be “a person” and have no rights whatsoever. None. You can – and will be – tortured. That’s what the Supremes said, after a lower court ruled that “torture is an ordinary, expected consequence of military detention.” The Bush Obama administration sought the rulings. (Source)
Torture, it’s for our own good.
Who could have known?
UPDATE Jan 2, 2010: Update on Our Brave New Slavery: Yes, It Applies to American Citizens, Too
My piece was picked up by a few other sites, where it attracted some criticism for being too “extreme,” too shrill, too panicky and exaggerated. After all, some critics said, this case involves foreigners rounded up in the context of a military conflict. (An undeclared, open-ended, borderless, lawless conflict, but still.) And while one might consider the captives treatment a bit too rough or unjust, it is still a far leap to conclude that the Supreme Court ruling implies some kind of general attack on the liberties of real, honest-to-god American citizens!
Ah, what bliss it must be, to dwell in such sweet ignorance. The many decisions by the Supreme Court and lower courts upholding the federal government’s authoritarian power to strip Terror War captives of inherent and inalienable legal rights are part of a larger framework that applies both in theory and in practice to everyone — American citizens included. What we are seeing is the construction of a new “social contract,” the open codification of a new relationship between the individual and the state, in which all powers and rights reside solely in the latter, which can bestow them or withhold them at will, arbitrarily, unaccountable. In contrast, it is the individual who must be totally accountable to the state. The state is bound by no law, but the individual is subject to them all — including “secret laws” and decrees and executive orders of which he or she has no knowledge.
The state has always tended toward the imposition of this feudal condition, of course — hence the many balks and bafflements to state power that have been attempted over the years. But now the exaltation of state power over any claim of individual rights is being openly declared, avidly pursued, and judicially ratified.
Blogger Petro, at Deconstructing the Manifest, quotes a conversation Krishnamurti had regarding a similar situation:
”What happens,” he asked, “when I, as an individual, feel I cannot go along with the supreme command’s decision? What if I won’t conform?”
“We would try to convince you that individual dissent, perhaps valid before a decision is taken, cannot be tolerated after. All have to participate.”
“You mean obey?”
“And if I still couldn’t or wouldn’t agree?”
“We would have to show you the error of your ways.”
“And how would you do that?”
“Persuade you that in practice the philosophy of the state and the law must be upheld at all times and at any cost.”
“And if someone still maintains that some law or regulation is false, what then?”
“We would probably incarcerate him so that he was no longer a disruptive influence.”