Here’s what happens when this irresponsible Congress railroads a profoundly important bill to serve the mindless politics of a midterm election: The Bush administration uses Republicans’ fear of losing their majority to push through ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217-year-old nation of laws — while actually doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser.(nytimes,)
Johnson, Shays & Simmons Vote Yes, DeLauro & Larson vote No.
Mr. President, on September 11, 2001, America was attacked by
ruthless enemies of this country. It is my strong belief that those
responsible for orchestrating this plot, and anyone else who seeks to
do harm to our nation and our citizens, must be brought to justice,
and punished severely.
These are extraordinary times, and we must act in a way that fully
safeguards America’s national security. That is why I support the
concept of military commissions -- to protect U.S. intelligence and
expedite judicial proceedings vital to military action under the
Uniform Code of Military Justice. In my view, as we develop such
means, we must also ensure that our actions are not counter-
productive to our overall efforts to protect America at all levels.
As you know Mr. President, 430 detainees are being held in Guantanamo
Bay facilities as so called “enemy combatants.” The President has
claimed the authority to detain prisoners indefinitely without
formally charging them with a crime, to use questionable
interrogation practices which some experts say violate international
law banning torture, and to set up secret tribunals in which some
detainees could be convicted without ever seeing the evidence against
them, while others receive no trials at all. The Supreme Court ruled
in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld this activity is unconstitutional. But the
groundwork for this decision was laid in the Supreme court decision
Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, two years ago, in which Justice Sandra Day
O’Connor declared “A state of war is not a blank check for the
Mr. President, the Administration and Republican leadership would
have the American people believe that the War on Terror requires a
choice between protecting America from terrorism and upholding the
basic tenets upon which our country was founded -- but not both. This
canard has been showcased in every recent election cycle.
I fully reject that reasoning. We can, and we must, balance our
responsibilities to bring terrorists to justice, while at the same
time protecting what it means to be America. To choose the rule of
law over the passion of the moment takes courage. But it is the right
thing to do if we are to uphold the values of equal justice and due
process that are codified in our Constitution.
Our founding fathers established the legal framework of our country
on the premise that those in government are not infallible. America’s
leaders knew this sixty years ago, when they determined how to deal
with Nazi leaders guilty of horrendous crimes. There were strong and
persuasive voices, at the time, crying out for the execution of these
men who had commanded with ruthless efficiency the slaughter of six
million innocent Jews and five million other innocent men, women, and
children. After World War II, our country was forced to decide if the
accused criminals deserved a trial or execution.
Read more of Dodd's Speech
Updated: Lieberman Yes Dodd No Senate Passes the Military Commissions Act of 2006: A bill to authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and for other purposes.