I made myself clear about how I felt about the last war. I was there for the troops, and wanted to rally, hit once and hit hard. As a vet, I was behind the President too. I think President Bush did what he believed was the right thing and that he had and has good intentions. Trouble is, the post-war President’s toughness, determination and directness are being replaced by something stubborn, bullheaded, and steamrolling, and–good man or bad–I won’t back a bad idea. The right to fair trial and its presumption of innocence must be protected.
President Bush is attempting to expand on the US Patriot Act of 2001. In a new “3 point” plan, he is seeking to include measures that give further authority to federal agents to demand private records and compel testimony without the approval of judges or federal prosecutor. There’s more: President Bush also wants to expand the death penalty for terrorist-financing crimes and reduce opportunities for bail.
So why should you care? The Patriot Act requires the typical judge or grand jury approval for subpoenas. President Bush is wanting to change that, greatly expanding the powers of law enforcement. Law enforcement is not bad, neither is fighting terrorism, but the method the President offers is a corrective quick fix that fails to address the nature of the crime, at the expense of the rights of the accused. These types of measures work to reduce the rights ensured to all Americans. Fair trials and rights for the accused have long been a hallmark of our democracy and of a civil society. Reducing these rights means that we are no longer innocent until proven guilty; the burden of proof moves onto the defense and so instead you must prove your innocence!
Skim over the Partiot Act and see what “enhanced surveillance procedures” you’ve already approved. Find out for yourself if enough is enough.
p.s. I was reading an article about a popular, independent newspaper in Zimbabwe that was shut down by a court order. Apparently there’s suspicion this event is related directly to the increasingly-authoritarian leadership of Robert Mugabe. Especially before September 11, the problems of other, non-American countries could be easily if not conveniently disregarded as someone else’s problems. Not anymore. America has never been an island and the forces that could dissolve a peoples’ rights in Zimbabwe can act as effectively anywhere in the world.