Thursday, September 28, 2006

Loving freedom

Do you love freedom? Or do you just love yourself?

Hopefully, that's an easy question to answer, but let me explain things a bit, so you understand why I'm asking.

You see, if someone said he loves humanity, but drives while drunk, I'd figure one of two things was true: either he was lying about loving people, or was one of the biggest goddamn fools I'd ever seen.

If you love humanity, then you can't take reckless chances with people's lives.

I mean, it's impossible to do avoid taking any chances of hurting anyone; life is dangerous (and invariably fatal). But you won't be reckless about hurting other people, and if you are, you'll feel ashamed of your lapse, and do what you need to do to put things right.

So, do you love freedom? Are you willing to put things right when freedom is violated? If someone's freedom could be taken away recklessly, would you take a stand?

Or do you just love freedom for yourself? Is freedom just a good idea, and awfully nice, but you don't really care about it?

Those are the choices. They ain't very pretty, but I know what side I'm on. I love freedom.

No government on this planet has a right to grab a person, and hold them indefinitely, without ever having to show any cause to hold them. If any nation did that, it would be terrible, but when a nation founded upon the love of freedom, it's an abomination.

If any nation on this planet wants to grab someone, and deprive them of their freedom, that nation should be prepared to explain why, and that explanation had better not be an unsupported claim that "they are dangerous people, terrorists and unlawful combatants." Some minimal standard of evidence must be reached; some tiny bit of objective proof must exist.

If there's no evidence that can be presented to a proper court of law, it's no longer an "arrest", or "detention"; it's a kidnapping.

"But, but, but," a semi-honest Republican might bluster, "But these are battlefield captures!"

Then show it. Tell us the story of the capture, and tell us why you know that particular person was a combatant, and not some poor schmoe who was in a dangerous place at a bad time. It's easy when it's an enemy soldier; you've got that whole uniform thing going. But contrary to the insultingly pathetic justification given by the Bush administration, you can't tell if a person is a terrorist just by looking at them. You need evidence. Without evidence, you might be stealing a person's freedom without any reason.

And if you love freedom, that's unacceptable. A simple hearing, where the government has to show some kind of justification, some meaningful evidence, would weed out the worst of these mistakes. To refuse this hearing is to take reckless chances with other people's freedom.

George W. Bush has refused to hold such hearings, and has demanded the power to do away with them. He doesn't want to detain an innocent person... but he doesn't care if he does.

He's also claimed he loves freedom.

How can you trust anything he says?

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