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Don't Abandon Golden Rule (Read 52 times)
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Don't Abandon Golden Rule
Jun 19th, 2002 at 3:47am
 
by Charley Reese

Most of us can recall the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Real simple. Reciprocity.

But there is a variation of this rule that applies to government. This golden rule for government is: Make sure the government treats others the same as you would want the government to treat you. If you don't want the government to trample on your rights, don't let it trample on someone else's rights. That means you have to protest, even if you don't like the person whose rights are being trampled upon.

The logic behind this position is simple: What the government can do to one person, it can do to another. Once you say to the lynch mob, "Go ahead and hang that guy, he deserves it," you leave yourself without any defense when the mob turns on you. Once you consent to the government ignoring the Constitution, you deny yourself the protection of the Constitution.

For that reason, Americans ought to raise hell with the Bush administration over its treatment of this character who calls himself Abdullah al-Mujahir. This guy might be guilty of everything the Bush administration has told the press he's guilty of, but he's an American citizen, and you do not have to suspend the Constitution to fight terrorism.

If the government has evidence of his guilt, present it to a grand jury, indict him, try him and sentence him. Simple enough. But the Bush administration won't even charge him. He's being held without having been charged with committing any crime. He was held for a month before the administration even told anybody he'd been taken into custody.

And aren't you suspicious that his presence in U.S. custody is announced a month later by the attorney general from Moscow? Doesn't that smack of the old trick of creating a phony deal to distract the public from, among other things, congressional criticism of the CIA and the FBI? And did the Bush administration not say, when it announced military tribunals were to be created, that U.S. citizens would not have to worry? So now Bush simply designates this 31-year-old American as "an enemy combatant." That means he can be held in the military brigs without charges, without access to a lawyer, virtually forever, since obviously Mr. Bush's fantasy war against terrorism will never end.

Legally, we are not at war, so how can anybody be an "enemy combatant"? And how is it that these very same intelligence agencies that were deaf and dumb prior to Sept. 11 now know what one man said to another in a foreign country?

The truth is that the Bush administration hasn't charged this guy because it doesn't have any evidence that he committed a crime. The administration has this continuous need, however, to keep the American public scared so that they won't question this fantasy war that Mr. Bush is playing.

Well, if Mr. Bush wishes to fantasize that God appointed him the savior of the world, that's his business, but the Constitution is our business. We must not be silent when it is violated.

It isn't just this guy who's been kept in prison without charges. The government continues to hold hundreds of people in jail without due process. And to show you how loony this administration is becoming, it has announced that it will require fingerprints from people wanting visas from certain Arab countries. But the country from which most of the Sept. 11 crowd came from, Saudi Arabia, is not on the list. Go figure.

Charley Reese can be contacted at briarl@earthlink.net.
http://reese.king-online.com/Reese_20020619/index.php
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