The New York Times has just published, as their editorial, a list of things that need to be done to “reverse the unwise and lawless policies of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.”
The Bush administration’s assault on some of the founding principles of American democracy marches onward despite the Democratic victory in the 2006 elections. The new Democratic majorities in Congress can block the sort of noxious measures that the Republican majority rubber-stamped. But preventing new assaults on civil liberties is not nearly enough.
Five years of presidential overreaching and Congressional collaboration continue to exact a high toll in human lives, America’s global reputation and the architecture of democracy. Brutality toward prisoners, and the denial of their human rights, have been institutionalized; unlawful spying on Americans continues; and the courts are being closed to legal challenges of these practices.
It will require forceful steps by this Congress to undo the damage.
And those forceful steps?
Here’s their list as bullet points, though the full editorial is well worth reading.
- Restore Habeas Corpus, the ancient right for someone to challenge their imprisonment in court
- Stop illegal spying
- Ban torture, really
- Close the CIA prisons
- Account for “ghost prisoners”
- Ban extraordinary rendition
- Tighten the definition of combatant
- Screen prisoners fairly and effectively
- Ban tainted evidence
- Ban secret evidence
- Better define “classified” evidence
- Respect the right to counsel
Let’s come back to this list in six months and see what’s been fixed.
Thanks to former senator Stephen Loosley for the pointer.