Friday, September 29, 2006

Bad news: terror bill passed

This is dreadful news (BBC report here) that President Bush is about to approve legislation removing protections for terrorist suspects. We may feel nothing wrong with immediately locking up actual terrorists (although all are due a fair trial), but there is something very wrong about a system that would rather imprison the innocent than acquit the guilty. This safeguard is a bedrock of common law. Bush and our political leaders are about to tear this to pieces. (Excellent commentary at Crooked Timber and Leiter Reports.) Expect torture against US hostages to rise in response.

Life is never easy for the biggest kid on the block: there are plenty of nasty states. However, when you're the most powerful, you set a powerful example to others. If your conduct is (let's just say) less than exemplary, it's a green light to others and undermines your (moral) authority to do the right thing. What a mess.

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