The President of the United States today signed into law the Military Commissions Act  which changes the way “enemy combatants” are tried for crimes. It narrows the interpretation of the Geneva convention, but more importantly allows someone deemed an enemy combatant by a military committee, to be tried without habeus corpus and without letting the defendant know exactly what the charges are.

I’ll grant you that justice is tricky in war, but that is never an excuse for curbing liberty.  This is not the one law the eliminates our freedom as some on the left would like you to belive.  Nor is it a deep necessity to winning the war as the right would have it.  It’s not that simple. However, it is a step in the wrong direction. Let’s not worry so much about present actors on the stage.  This law allows someone in the future to define what he or she thinks is an enemy combatant, arrest and hold a trial without presenting the evidence to the accused, and convict without a jury. This is how freedom dies. We rationalize ‘necessary evils’ oin the face of fears and we slowly erode our own liberties.

The conspiracy theorists do us a disservice.  This isn’t a grand plan of the right wing to put forth a dictatorship. Saying so only overheats the debate. We are doing it to ourselves. we would like to blame the government, or the terrorists, or someone else, but we are responsible here.  It takes great courage to hold your values in the face of danger.  The United States is at the risk of faltering at this very moment.  And it makes me sad.