George W. Bush today signed the Military Commissions Act which was supported by all of the Republicans in Colorado's Congressional delegation, and Democrats Ken Salazar and John Salazar.
The bill eliminates recourse to the courts for torture and other violations of the Geneva Conventions, pardons U.S. government employees who violated the Geneva Conventions, ends all penalties for some violations of the Geneva Conventions, and suspends the writ of habeas corpus for non-citizens declared to be enemy combatants by the President. It changes none of the flawed procedures for determining if someone is an enemy combatant, and allows people so detained to be tried before military tribunals and sentenced to death based on hearsay and information obtained through torture after 9-11 and before 2006, on charges that have never previously been recognized as war crimes. The bill can only hurt the war on terrorism by undermining the moral authority of the United States and by emboldening people who hate freedom to act likewise.
No one expected that the President would fail to sign the bill, which he pushed hard to win. John Salazar now says he will fight to restore the elimination of habeas corpus which he voted for, and also says he hopes that the courts will overturn parts of the law he voted for. Ken Salazar's statements have been even less satisfactory.
When the history books look back to see how America could do evil things and call it legal, they can point at George W. Bush, Wayne Allard, Ken Salazar, John Salazar, Marilyn Musgrave, Joel Hefley, Tom Tancredo, and Bob Beauprez. Without their express assent to this regime of horrors and rollback of the constitution, which their constitutents urged them to reject in advance, it wouldn't have been possible.