Sunday, June 24, 2007

Scott Horton and Ken Silverstein - Two reasons why you should read the July issue of Harper's Magazine

Last Thursday, I posted Ken Silverstein goes undercover to report on D.C.'s lobbyists for hire. That this is an important story is confirmed by Bill Moyers’ interview of Silverstein, Scott Horton’s post about it, and the link to Silverstein’s article at AlterNet, all of which appeared in the last two days.

If you don’t have a Harper's Magazine clutched in your hand at this point, I urge you to get one not just for Silverstein’s incredible report but also for Scott Horton’s (photo) equally important article, STATE OF EXCEPTION - Bush's war on the rule of law.

Like Silverstein, Horton blogs for Harper’s. Horton is the most prolific blogger I’ve ever come across. In his article, Horton moves beyond the space and time constraints (or the reader’s attention span) of a blog to fully flesh out the “carefully orchestrated Bush Administration policy that goes under the rubric of ‘lawfare.’

“According to Major General Charles J. Dunlap Jr., now the Air Force’s deputy judge advocate general, lawfare is the ‘strategy of using or misusing law as a substitute for traditional military means to achieve an operational objective.’”

Horton writes, “…under the current administration, those designated as enemies have no rights, neither under the laws of war nor under any notion of criminal justice. A radical rupture has occurred; American legal tradition has been swept aside and, with it, long-established precedents for dealing with adversaries in wartime—even those accused of heinous crimes. Nowhere is that more clear than in the treatment of the so-called habeas lawyers (so named because of their repeated attempts to enforce the rights of their clients through the writ of habeas corpus—the legal procedure that allows an imprisoned person to test the legality of his detention) who counsel the detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The habeas lawyers have been tarred with ethnic slurs and accusations of homosexuality, accused of undermining national security, subjected to continual petty harassment. They have also had their livelihoods threatened through appeals to their paying clients.”

Horton ends the article, “By providing an exception to the application of the rule of law, our nation may have unleashed a radical new constitutional order.”

The whole article is worth reading. With two “must read” articles in one Harper’s issue, It’s well worth the $6.95 newsstand price if you aren’t a subscriber.

(photo of Scott Horton – PBS)

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