I suppose that it was inevitable that the executive would start to habitually bypass the courts. the first instances which were winked at were the setting up of the prison at Guantanamo and the indefinite detainment of "suspected terrorists" without due process.
Once the American people swallowed that one, then it was only a matter of a short time before the executive decided that they could indeed do anything in 'a time of war'.
It may not be amiss to point out that when the British ruled America, fomenters of rebellion were 'the terrorists' and similarly in my country, when we fought for independence, all of our leaders spent long stints in jail without any due process. these were all imperial and executive decisions taken in the best interest of protecting the nation against "terrorists". There is no doubt at all that Robin Hood is a terrorist of the first order and so too William Tell.
But, we could excuse this of emperors and kings - those who believe that they alone are capable of interpreting rightly their God given prerogatives - can we expect the same from those who espouse the wonder of democracy and who claim to be under the constitution and law of their land?
Renditions of such declared terrorists to other countries where there will be no question of any civil rights (nor even human rights) is another case in point. These are not the actions of America for if they were then there would never have been any need for secrecey in the first place!
Despite having been proved wrong on WMD and Iraq, despite the disastrous cosequences of a prolonged war/insugency in Iraq and despite the fact that graver threats exist and are now having to be ignored - it is time that the American people, through their judiciary and elected representatives, restored that balance of power that has sustained such a vibrant democracy for the last three centuries and restore to us in the rest of the world, a nation that is both mature and respectful of its own proud tradition of freedom.
A YES FOR THE 1st AMENDMENT
Today's U.S. news of the acquittal of a person who had expressed support for Palestine and condemned Israel is an indication that America has not yet abandoned basic human rights despite the threat of terrorism:"...that people's beliefs or thoughts or wishes were criminal," said David Nevin, a Boise lawyer who defended the student in Idaho last year. "I think juries are pretty reluctant to go there."
ENCEPHALITIS AND DENGUE
The whole world is worried about avian flu mutating into a more virulent form. But, what are we doing about diseases that are very similarly transmited and even more dangerous to humans? In India, over 1,300 kids have died in Uttar Pradesh of the Japanese Encephalitis Virus. In many areas of India, during the monsoon season, Dengue quietly kills hundreds of children. In the U.S., West Nile Virus - another ARBO - is rapidly spreading.
Our failures on the extant diseases do not augur well for how we will deal with any new epidemic.
Over 40 million cases!
My own data indicates an incidence of 1.5 - 1.8% in the general population of my home state of Tamil Nadu, with a Male:Female ratio of 15:1. Of the affected women, about 6% are sex workers while the vast majority (92%) are housewives who have got AIDS from their spouses. Still 2% are unmarried and have contracted AIDS from premarital sexual activity.
And yet when an actress dares to address this issue in public, she is ostracized and criminal cases are registered against her.
ON KICKING THE ENEMY WHEN HE IS DOWN
Now that President Bush is on the defensive on Iraq, it was refreshing to see support for him coming from a democrat who has even higher aspirations - HRC.
Whether her analysis is sound is a different question. Regardless of the presence of American and allied troops, Iraq will still turn into a very dangerous place!