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Dangers to our liberties lurk in our own desires
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As Democrats and Republicans fall all over themselves trying to come up with ways not to raise payroll taxes on millions of Americans — all with an eye toward next fall’s elections — there is another, more sinister proposal working its way through Congress.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., by a vote of 93-7.
That measure would have, if not for an amendment offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., allowed the military to hold, indefinitely, without charge, terror suspects arrested inside or outside the United States, including American citizens. And it would have transferred authority to prosecute those individuals from the Justice Department to the military.
Certainly, if not for the amendment that states: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States,” the president would have been forced to use his veto power. The amendment passed 99-1. Who was the lone holdout? Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.
We all want to stop terrorism, but the ability of the government to hold American citizens in military custody indefinitely without charge or trial is not consistent with our Constitution and way of life. Who wants to give the government the ability expressed by Graham during the debate promoting the bill, to be able to say during an interrogation of an American prisoner, “You don’t have a right to a lawyer”?
What would make our lawmakers believe such a proposal would not be objectionable? Fear. Fear makes men and women do foolish things. While we have to be ever vigilant, we must not, in our desire to protect ourselves, lose our soul.
“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” — Benjamin Franklin

— Macon Telegraph

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