Pandering to fear

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It is quite remarkable that no one in the current administration seems to know that President Bush’s policies were soundly defeated in the election in November. The president’s minions have been carrying on blithely as if they had won.

One example of this mindset is the rules they recently drafted – in secret, without input from anyone – for trying the Guantanamo detainees. These rules fly in the face of bedrock due process principles universally accepted by civilized nations.

They permit defendants to be convicted – and executed – based on hearsay and coerced evidence and prohibit them from even seeing all of the evidence against them. The Washington director of Human Rights First states that “[n]o civilized nation permits convictions to rest on coerced evidence, and reliance on such evidence has never been acceptable in military or civilian courts in this country. … [Coerced evidence] is inherently unreliable, and permitting its use … undermines the prohibition on torture and abusive treatment.”

As an attorney, I am once again ashamed that members of my profession, who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, eagerly undermine it on orders from their political superiors; as a citizen, I am once again ashamed of our president and vice president and their entire administration for debasing principles that America has long stood for and for continuing to pander to Americans’ fear in the name of “national security.”

Paul F. Macri, Auburn

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