Sour Grapes
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The government threat to our security

The Supreme Court has yet to decide three cases, all expected to be decided by the end of this week, I believe to be crucially important to the future of the United States. So does Bruce Schneier. But I had only ever really considered them from a civil liberties point of view; he argues that the decisions are critical for security reasons as well. That's not too surprising. What might be surprising to some is that the security threat he sees is from our own government, specifically the police and military.

As the U.S. Supreme Court decides three legal challenges to the Bush administration's legal maneuverings against terrorism, it is important to keep in mind how critical these cases are to our nation's security. Security is multifaceted; there are many threats from many different directions. It includes the security of people against terrorism, and also the security of people against tyrannical government.

The three challenges are all similar, but vary slightly. In one case, the families of 12 Kuwaiti and two Australian men imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay argue that their detention is an illegal one under U.S. law. In the other two cases, lawyers argue whether U.S. citizens — one captured in the United States and the other in Afghanistan — can be detained indefinitely without charge, trial or access to an attorney.

In all these cases, the administration argues that these detentions are lawful, based on the current "war on terrorism." The complainants argue that these people have rights under the U.S. Constitution, rights that cannot be stripped away....

Unchecked police and military power is a security threat — just as important a threat as unchecked terrorism. There is no reason to sacrifice the former to obtain the latter, and there are very good reasons not to.

[via Dave Farber's IP list]

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