Let’s start slow and with the juiciest part of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, signed into law yesterday, October 18, 2006, by President George W Bush.
We'll move on to that ever-so-evil Geneva Convention in due time. Don't be in such a rush. It's not like it applies to you anymore, anyway.
(1) UNLAWFUL ENEMY COMBATANT.—(A) The term ‘unlawful enemy combatant’ means—
(i) a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents who is not a lawful enemy combatant (including a person who is part of the Taliban, al Qaeda, or associated forces); or
(ii) a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense.
Please read it carefully. To paraphrase, (i) spells out what qualifies a person as an unlawful enemy combatant. (ii) says "and the rest of you, too."
(ii) doesn't specify as does (i). Instead, the language of (ii) is so vague it can be used against any person on this planet and would then include all U.S. citizens — on U.S. soil or abroad. If you’re a U.S. citizen abroad, you’ll be comin’ home. If you’re not, better hope they don’t catcha.
If you don't qualify as an unlawful enemy combatant under (i), you sure as hell do under (ii). Covered that very well, they did.
Moving on to the Geneva Convention, the act says:
GENEVA CONVENTIONS NOT ESTABLISHING SOURCE OF RIGHTS.—No alien unlawful enemy combatant subject to trial by military commission under this chapter may invoke the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights.
This means anything the United States agreed to when signing the Geneva Convention on August 12, 1949 is no longer agreed to by the United States unless they wanna. And by "they," they don't mean you.
If you're not familiar with the Geneva Convention, please take the time to get familiar with it. It doesn't apply to you anymore, so maybe you could take your time doing that. Ditto on the Constitution.
In a nutshell, any provision of rights (to include not torturing someone to actual death) is no longer afforded to any "unlawful enemy combatant" of the United States. Please reread what qualifies a person as an "unlawful enemy combatant." Did you catch the word "alien" in the phrase "alien unlawful enemy combatant"? If you think this means you're off the hook as a U.S. citizen, read on:
DETERMINATION OF UNLAWFUL ENEMY COMBATANT STATUS DISPOSITIVE – A finding, whether before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense that a person is an unlawful enemy combatant is dispositive for purposes of jurisdiction for trial by military commission under this chapter.
Again, this means everyone — as in everyone who doesn't fall under the heading of "alien" or otherwise qualifying as an "unlawful enemy combatant." That's you and me, babes.
What are some things you the citizen could do to land yourself in the category of "unlawful enemy combatant"?
* You could do research for an article or a college essay online, at your library, and/or in interviews with Muslims or anyone of non-American descent.
* You could be the spouse or parent of a wounded U.S. military servicemember who told someone in passing that you didn't think the government was doing their best to provide for the wounded.
* You could tell your neighbor how upset you are about having to send combat gear to your loved one in combat because he/she doesn’t have adequate protective equipment.
* You could volunteer to work on an archaeological dig outside the United States alongside those who have been deemed enemies of the United States. Do you know what the criteria are for determining an enemy of the United States? Again, the act says (to paraphrase), "anyone is an unlawful enemy combatant who is an alien and/or meets the criteria under (i) and/or those who don’t fall under (i) but do fall under (ii)."
* You could fly to Kabul as an American tourist and visit the site where the Taliban dynamited 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha.
* You could redress your grievances and use your free speech to protest this or any other act.
* You could plant flowers in the colors of a random Muslim country.
* You could be the author of or the reader of this article.
Essentially, anyone could do anything anytime anywhere. As long as those who have been or will be assigned to determine your status think you are an unlawful enemy combatant based on all the points in (ii) — read it again for specifics and take note that there are none — your constitutional rights don't mean jack and the Geneva Convention doesn't apply to you.
Your human rights are now better protected in just about every country on the planet than they are in the United States. Do the people of the United States care? Apparently not. Are there those who think this is a good idea (besides the President and anyone who gets to decide who is who)? Sure; but it’s not clear whether those in favor have actually read the act what with their emphasis on gettin' those terrorists and not even mentioning the implications for the rest of us. And by "us," they mean you.
If you think I’ve interpreted the act incorrectly, read it for yourself.
In the meantime, watch where your donations go. The act says (to paraphrase), anyone who contributes monies to anyone or anything deemed connected to an enemy of the United States is an unlawful enemy combatant. Who’s to say this doesn’t include any and every charitable organization such as the Red Cross, Red Crescent societies, or any religious group supplying aid of any kind to refugees or peoples thought to have connections of any kind to enemies of the United States?
On that note, and if you're feeling really froggy, read the part that says who can and cannot be part of the rather small group of people who will decide whether or not you're an unlawful enemy combatant.
Eddie Izzard used to be so funny, but not so much now:
“Cake or death?”
“Uh, cake please!”
“Well, we're out of cake!”
“So my choices are ‘or death’?”