Battlepanda: America the Bully


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, November 14, 2005

America the Bully

Excuse me for being a bleeding heart liberal whose patriotism, as measured by the propensity to wrap myself up in the flag, is seriously suspect. But isn't the following seriously, seriously unAmerican? (Yes, it's old, but I just saw it on Mark Kleiman's blog).
Could a "little old lady in Switzerland" who sent a check to an orphanage in Afghanistan be taken into custody if unbeknownst to her some of her donation was passed to al-Qaida terrorists? asked U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green.

"She could," replied Deputy Associate Attorney General Brian Boyle. "Someone's intention is clearly not a factor that would disable detention." It would be up to a newly established military review panel to decide whether to believe her and release her.

Boyle said the military can pick any foreigner who provides support to terrorists or might know of their plans. And the foreigners held on the U.S. naval base in Cuba "have no constitutional rights enforceable in this court," Boyle told the judge.
We like to think of ourselves as the global avenger, but that's a slender figleaf that does not hide the embarrasing truth when we're reserving the right to imprison the proverbial "little old lady in Switzerland" as an enemy combatant. The hypocritism is especially hideous given our unseemly attempt to block our own citizens from international legal scrutiny at every turn:
Washington had warned Mexico that if it ratified the ICC and refused to sign an accord exempting U.S. nationals from the court's jurisdiction, it would cut 11.5 million dollars in funding from aid programs for fighting drug trafficking, according to human rights groups. The amount is equal to almost 40 percent of the economic aid Mexico receives from the United States.
It seems like what America stands for in international circles is the shameless, unprincipled leveraging of raw power for its own percieved gain. I say "percieved" because it must be quite obvious to those not blinded by "patriotism" that our current conduct is going to make us less safe, less loved, less respected and ultimately, less powerful, in the long run.