It was a bad decision. "I'll just watch Nightline and then go to bed." Ted Koppel has such a soothing way about him, even when he's mercilessly grilling people on both sides of an argument. But last night it was all about John Ashcroft and his defense of a government policy that I despise. I couldn't sleep well at all after watching that.
Unlimited detention without being charged. Roundups of individuals rumored to be involved in suspect activities. No public access to information. And summary justice by secret military tribunal. This is not the America we're defending, is it? This is close to the police states we're fighting against. This is a poor model for the Afghan leaders trying to create a new government.
It's a "different world" since September 11, they tell us. Well, it surely is, if the government is promoting ethnic profiling, blacklisting and the suspension of civil liberties. Even if we accept that during "wartime" some freedoms must be surrendered, how do we know when we'll get them back if the "war" is as open-ended as this one is?
If the ultimate goal is undefined (or unattainable, which is even worse), does the war keep going as long as Ashcroft and his boss can milk it? It's not as if there's a chance they'll ever run out of potential enemies. They have enough plates to keep them spinning forever.
To me it looks like the ultimate hypocrisy to defend freedom by suspending it, and to commit deliberate injustices in the guise of protecting our values. If we believe in fairness, we have to believe in it for everyone, because applying it selectively is unfair and inequitable by definition. We can't logically hold up a beacon of justice to the world, and then tell the world that it doesn't apply unless you're on the "A list."
Since when are we afraid of the truth? How did a fair trial become a luxury? Our way of life is threatened, all right, and not just by terrorists.