Thursday, September 07, 2006

The secret prison network

Allow me to announce in my customarily calm and measured manner that I am deeply disturbed by the President's acknowledgement of the existence of a secret CIA prison network.

Let's leave aside the question of whether or not it's legal. In fact, for the sake of this discussion, I'll stipulate that its perfectly legal for the president to be able to ship someone off for torturing in some foreign dungeon. The question isn't whether or not it is legal, but whether or not it is wrong.

I say it is wrong because it puts all of us at the mercy of the president's whim. If the president can send Abdul to Turkey without first having to prove Abdul's guilt, why can't he do the same to Gil, or Mis-nagid, or anyone else? How can we ever be sure that the president isn’t abusing his power? How can we be sure he isn’t carrying out a petty grudge? The rule of law is valuable because it protects against the capriciousness of one person. By arguing for the judicial protection of suspected terrorists, I am also arguing for the judicial protection of you and me.

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