Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Unrestrained Executive Power

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, beginning the forced internment of Japanese-Americans.

Without any due process and in flagrant violation of the Constitution, the U.S. Government stripped 110,000 people -- including women, children and the elderly -- of their livelihoods and property, and imprisoned them in concentration camps simply because of their ancestry.

Talk about the dangers of unrestrained executive power...

By comparison, the current administration has shown incredible restraint in the face of global conflict.

Despite all the hoopla about the presidential wiretapping orders after 9/11, which are consistent with actions by prior presidents and with earlier court rulings, unless you're a member of Al Qaida or talking with one regularly, you stand very little chance of having your phone bugged. And much less of a chance of being confined as an enemy combatant.

Generally speaking, better to be a Muslim-American now than a Japanese-American in 1942.

6 comments:

storyhas2sides said...
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JBlog said...

Wha? Thought I heard something in here.

Nope -- it was nothing.

Craig Bob said...

I think the question is: is it better to be an anglo-american in either case? Discuss.

JBlog said...

Only in the context, I suppose, that Anglos neither invaded Manchuria nor bombed Pearl Harbor, and they didn't hijack planes and crash them into Skyscrapers or send suicide bombers into crowded markets.

Therefore, they haven't been become the targets of suspicion, justified or otherwise.

Other than that, I'm nor really sure what point you're on.

The real question here is whether the actions of the Bush Administration to combat terrorism demonstrate unrestrained (and unreasonable) executive power.

I would suggest that based on a review of the facts and in a historical context they actually show tremendous restraint -- far, far fewer innocent people being persecuted now than under FDR.

Basically, if you've had your phones tapped or been sent to Gitmo it's because you've either been talking to Al Qaida or your ARE Al Quaida. That wasn't the case under FDR.

whit said...

I think the issue of eroding civil liberties is overplayed by those genuinely concerned as well as those like the Dems who use it merely as another piece of propaganda in the on-going hatchett job on the Bush Presidency. As to the first group, I say first things first. If your house is burning don't worry about the termites in the foundation. As to the second group, I say "keep digging."

JBlog said...

Well, I'm as concerned about civil liberties as anyone.

But as long as the criteria for spying is that one of the parties on the phone call is a member of Al Qaida, I'm okay with that.

If someone can provide some actual proof that the NSA is conducting surveillance of U.S. citizens outside of those criteria, I'd like to see it.

I agree with you Whit -- the cries of "wolf" are overblown and unsubstantiated.