October 1, 2006
by Reb Yudel
There is no question that the Military Commissions Act, given the
language it now contains, grants -- in principle -- full dictatorial
powers to the executive. As I explained in the earlier essay, the
executive and certain entities it controls can designate anyone,
including any American citizen, as an "unlawful enemy combatant." That
person can then be imprisoned for the rest of his life, with no
recourse whatsoever. Period.
That is absolute power over every single one of us. Absolute. Consider the word, and what it means. Your life is no longer yours.
It is the executive's, to dispose of as he chooses. I must repeat an
earlier point: it is most likely that this power will not be exercised
to the full extent possible, or anything close to its full extent, any
time soon. The exercise of that power will come, if it does, in stages.
See Jim Henley's post
on this point. Of course, the specifics may be very different,
depending on many other events -- and depending on what particular
individuals hold this fearsome power, and what their specific
The critical point is what, in principle, the grant of power includes. As noted, the grant is absolute: it includes everything.
As I have pointed out, the determination of the Bush administration to
achieve absolute power has been indisputably clear since shortly after
9/11. And this is hardly the first time that I and others have noted
that the mechanisms for a complete dictatorship have now been put in place.
What to do? Who is responsible? And what does this have to do with Milton Mayer? Read it all.