Why does Sen. Hatch hate American Values?

I read with dismay Sen. Orrin Hatch’s op-ed piece in today paper (click!) and have to wonder where he went to school — Russia in the 1950s?

His piece argues for keeping Guantanamo prison open as a place to house terror suspects, but his arguments for detaining these people are spurious at best and, in one sense, downright un-American. Hard to fathom from an alleged Republican who swore, so we are told, to uphold the Constitution.

 He says these people are dangerous, they are terrorists, they need to be held. But how do we know that?

We have his word, presumably, and the word of the government that captured them. But what good is that word? This is the same government that tells us radiation won’t hurt us when it blows up bombs in our back yard, that football heroes died in honorable combat in Afghanistan when they were really killed by their own men, and that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

So there’s that. If these men had been tried, and evidence presented, and guilt proven, we might have a better idea of their guilt, but we haven’t had that process.

The Bush Administration, in its rush and fear after 9-11, decided that all Constitutional protections needed to be tossed out. It so botched the capturing and handling of these prisoners that it may never be possible to try them fairly.

Sen. Hatch seems to forget that the protections of accused in the Constitution are not the result of some liberal cabal at the original Constitutional Convention trying to introduce weeny liberal ways for the guilty to get out on a technicality. They are the deeply conservative result of the very well founded fear by the Founding Fathers that government will, if given the opportunity, throw its enemies into dark holes and lose the key. Certainly Vice President Dick Cheney and President Bush saw nothing wrong with that. The Power to toss some poor schmuck into jail is very heady, the Founding Fathers knew, which is precisely why the put so many restrictions on it.

History tells us that the first thing every power-drunk megalomaniac says is ”trust me, I’ll only do this to really bad people.” He/she then proceeds to toss all his/her political opponents into jail. Richard Nixon clearly wanted to do just that in assembling his “enemies list” during the Watergate scandals, and it lurks constantly.

That’s really my main problem with Sen. Hatch. Even if he were right about these prisoners (and I have no way of knowing if he is) he expects us to support the continuation of an enterprise that confounds that most basic of American rights: The right to not be imprisoned unjustly by government.

Sen. Hatch expects me to believe that these men need to be held just because he says they need to be. That is not a power I trust Sen. Hatch, or President Obama, or anyone else to have.

Guantanamo represents an astonishing abuse of power and needs to be shut down. Sen. Hatch needs to get back to defending the Constitution.

If that means we end up releasing a few guilty terrorists, or a few innocent ones, or imprisoning some guilty ones in the US, so be it. The alternative is to hold untried prisoners forever, something no American should allow.

Guantanamo was set up as a prison for these people in the first place precisely to avoid applying American values to their incarceration. That decision has now come back to haunt us, but in the long run should serve as an example to reinforce the need for those protections, and their application at all time, in the future.

 

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16 Responses to Why does Sen. Hatch hate American Values?

  1. Jim Hutchins says:

    One need look no further than the deceptively named Bush 43-established National Applications Office to see the corruption in “American Values” promulgated by the idiot wing of the Republican Party.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0609/23664.html

    Wiretapping a sitting Congresswoman? That’s an enemy of the people, all right.

  2. flatlander100 says:

    Based on Hatch’s past performance, what all those detainees need to do is take up pop music, cut a demo or two that Sen. Hatch likes, and he’ll move heaven and earth to get them released in a heartbeat.

  3. Doug Gibson says:

    The main obstacle (at least those with power) to Obama shutting down Gitmo is not Hatch, it’s the Democrats in the Senate. No one wants these detainees. I suggest California take them for a price. It has a big fat deficit it needs to trim!

  4. Jim Hutchins says:

    If that’s true, Doug, they haven’t checked with their own citizens.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-terror-prison4-2009jun04,0,215259.story

    I don’t understand the position of Sens. Udall and Bennet (in the state next door, Sen. Bennet has only one ‘t’).

  5. California Man says:

    Charles T, you really are a rambling idiot, however, its no wonder, writing for an unheard of fringe website. I got here by some friend’s link, never would’ve found this hole in the wall website otherwise.

    In times of war, prisoners of war must be treated as such, they are not ordinary US citizens but are terrorists who tried to kill our soldiers or plotted to harm USA in some way. And if the Tribunal has not reached some of the inmates due to circumstances, I’d rather have Bin Laden’s groupies locked up rather than running around with suicide waist bombs, wouldn’t you? Obviously not..

    Strange how you liberals always love the terrorists more than your country or Constituion. We live in a strange world now. USA has been safe ever since 9-11… thanks to Bush

  6. ctrentelman says:

    I’m not entirely sure how “loving terrorists more than the constitution” jibes with hating the idea that we’ve thrown out habeas corpus which, last time, was kind of an essential part of the Constitution.

    In broader terms, in no war that I know of in the past has the US treated POWs the way these alleged POWs are being treated, and certainly in previous wars we didn’t set up POW camps in out-of-country areas specifically so we could torture them without legal ramifications.

    That’s the difference — its not about loving terrorists (which we don’t know for sure these people are — no trials, remember?) but maintaining our own standards as expressed in that Constitution.

    Safe because of bush? They’re gonna carve that cannard on his tombstone.

  7. laytonian says:

    “USA has been safe ever since 9-11….thanks to Bush.”

    It’s almost eight years since 9/11, isn’t it?

    Well….let’s see. If we’re going to use the same “California Man” logic, then we must also laud Bill Clinton for keeping us safe for the 8-1/2 years between the 1993 WTC bombing and 9-11.

    After all, no foreign terrorist attacked us on our soil between those times. Right?

    Of course, there is that little matter of the right-wing Aryan Christian Timothy McVeigh and his “little” killing of 168 in Oklahoma City.

    But that’s OK, because that was a right-winger. We cannot investigate right-wingers, can we? We must make our chief of Homeland Security apologize for even DARING to keep tabs on domestic terrorists.

  8. ctrentelman says:

    it’s even worse than that, even you wish to accept that spurious logic, which I do not.

    While there were no attacks after 9-11 on the US territory, there were numerous attack by terrorists elsewhere — the USS Cole, for one. A night club in Bali. Numerous suicide bombers in Israel. the entire insurrection in Iraq which, I must point out, is not over with yet.

    And on and on. The shoe bomber ought to count, and there’s the English subway stuff.

    So Bush’s tactics prevented precisely nothing — We were not attacked here because al quida did not choose to attack us. If they had, they would have had few hinderances — the entire US navy can’t keep cocaine smugglers from bring in multi-ton loads on homemade submarines, how hard would it be for a suicide bomber to get in?

    Well, if he’s foolish enough to try to get on a commercial flight, maybe a bit harder, but these people aren’t that stupid.

    The truth is, Bush kept us from being attacked in the same way that flapping your arms like wings keeps tigers away from yur back yard.

    No tigers in Ogden? Hey, it works!

  9. so tell me says:

    how can a non us citizen (terrorist or not) be given the same right as myself?? how can his rights be read to him as if he is me? last i checked they are known enemies of the U.S. ask any soldier who brought them in. ask me. this world is falling apart and cal man, your best to never stumble on this far left site again. its, at times, heartbreaking.

  10. Will Bike says:

    I am a U.S. soldier and we can not treat people like we are superior to them because we are American. The world is falling apart and it is led by the arrogance our country. Keep up the good work Charles.

  11. so tell me says:

    yeah will, cuzz your no better than ppl that strap bombs to handycap woman and children and sent into a crowd. Youv been brainwashed. i repeat, not us citizens!! how can they be told thier rights as if they are. and further more, can you imagine what “you have the right to remain silent” will do to our intelligence and safety? what is wrong with you ppl????

  12. Sam says:

    If this “imprison without trial” program Bush-Cheney started is so good, I propose Sen Hatch introduce legislation in the Senate to take the program nationwide. I wonder how long the American people will stand for a program where you are thrown in jail without knowing the charges and have no expectation of being trialed by a jury. What republicans and conservatives don’t get is what happened in Guantanamo is anti-American. This is a country built on laws, not a country built on lawlessness.

  13. Jim says:

    History revisionist abound once again. As I recall, after we were attacked on 9-11-01 on our own soil, an attack that killed nearly 3000 innocent Americans by the way, most Americans were pissed off and wanted justice and were OK with us going after anyone remotely associated with terrorists and throwing their arzes in prison. But now the revisionists such as this author want to armchair quarterback the situation and tell us how he would have done it. It’s so easy to point the finger when your not the man in the arena.

  14. Jim says:

    BTW, USS Cole attack took place before 9-11. And I would arguably contend that by killing terrorists and keeping them busy in Afghanistan and Iraq it did prevent further attacks on US soil. While you cannot prove that an event which didn’t occur would have taken place, nor can you prove that it wouldn’t have, especially given extenuating circumstances.

  15. laytonian says:

    Dear Jim:

    “most Americans” wanted Osama bin Laden’s head on a platter, and al Qaeda shut down. We waited a month to attack, then when we had him in our sights, we called off our troops. Why?

    “I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.” — George Bush.

    Ah, “revisionism”. We’re now supposed to believe that going into Iraq was merely to keep al Qaeda busy? What talking points are you reading, because that’s suddenly being blogged all over the place.

    We’re now supposed to believe that everyone told the truth, and that it was OK to “out” a patriotic CIA undercover agent because her husband told the truth?

    The pinnacle of revisionism is the right-wing’s hatred for the New York Times, the very newspaper used by the right-wing to support going into Iraq. But revisionist-themers don’t remember the name “Judith Miller”, do they?

  16. Revolution says:

    Does WWII and the inprisonment of japanes people ring a bell? or Topaze prison camp in Utah ring a bell. Why stop now? I agree they need to be put on trial then based on the results let go or put to death. We should not spend one more dollar houseing those who may inocent nor one more dollar on housing those who are guilty. But relax we are in a cold war with wacko countries. With Korea and Iran coming on line our kids will be luck to not see a weapon of mass destruction go off in a populated place. It is bound to happen the good bible says so.

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