Thursday, June 15, 2006

We've Come a Long Way, Baby (Sort Of)

I had always thought that America meant that things had changed for people. That we were a country that recognized the Rights of Man. Clearly, I have been mistaken:
Judge Rules That U.S. Has Broad Powers to Detain Noncitizens Indefinitely

A federal judge in Brooklyn ruled yesterday that the government has wide latitude under immigration law to detain noncitizens on the basis of religion, race or national origin, and to hold them indefinitely without explanation.
The decision is profoundly disturbing because it legitimizes the fact that the Bush administration rounded up and imprisoned our clients because of their religion and race."
Of course there is precedent for this in Roman Citizenship:
While citizen rights varied over time, a partial list of them includes:

The right to vote in the Republic.
The right to make legal contracts.
The right to have a lawful marriage.
The right to stand for public office.
The right to sue (and be sued) in the courts.
The right to appeal from the decisions of magistrates.
The right to have a trial (to appear before a proper court and to defend oneself).
Citizens could not be subjected to torture.
(emphasis added)
So, if you were a citizen of the Roman Empire you had the right to a trial. Clearly, if you were not a citizen, you didn't have these rights. You were in the same situation as a Muslim in New York or Guantanamo.

Remember, we're talking the Roman Empire here circa 50 BC. We used to hold up the Emperor of Rome (Caesar, etc.) as being the ultimate example of unfettered authority. That has just changed.

May I also remind you that Caesar didn't have nuclear weapons at his disposal.


markfromireland said...

There's going to squealing when foreign countries start doing that to US citizens. It's called reciprocity.

Dr. C said...

That's why Bush flew into Baghdad in the middle of the night with the lights out.