This is my first entry in to the world of blog, because I am astonished by the lack of outrage over the case of Jose Padilla---an American citizen who has been held in solitary confinement for 31/2 years, been deprived of the right to counsel for 21 months, all as a result of the unfettered discretion of the President in designating Mr Padilla as an "enemy combatant". The N.Y. Times (12/4/06) reported that during a recent trip to the dentist, Mr. Padilla's legs were shackled, his wrists cuffed and "noise-blocking headphones placed over his ears and blacked-out goggles over his eyes".
Mr. Padilla was originally arrested and publicly charged with plotting a dirty bomb attack in the United States. He was eventually charged with conspiracy and of providing material support to terrorists. The recent indictment was not in recognition of his constitutional rights as an American citizen, but rather a strategic decision by the administration to avoid what undoubtedly would have been an adverse judicial decision condemning the confinement and treatment of Mr. Padilla. The alleged dirty bomb plot is nowhere mentioned in the indictment against him. Mr. Padilla may be guilty of something, but the administration is guilty of far worse.
The administration has justified (and to large extent the public has accepted) wiretapping, these detentions, and possibly even torture, on the basis that these methods fight terrorism and confine terrorists. But what if they are not terrorists? Hundreds have been released after extended confinement without charges. They are all someone's husband, son, brother or father. For many such persons, the government has now suspended habeas corpus ("the best and only sufficient defense of personal freedom" Justice Chase, 1868), thus denying the means and opportunity for those detained to establish their innocence of any wrongdoing.
American soldiers are dying to win freedom for the people of Iraq, while we are losing freedom for the people of America.