May 16, 2006

The definition of "legal"

H/t to UBUB. As this column argues, the argument that immigration is just about following the law is rather hollow under this administration.

Gonzales/Rodriguez: "Anti-immigrants like to bandy about the phrase: What is it about illegal you don't understand? And they go ballistic at the thought of "amnesty" -- at the thought of treating all human beings equally and humanely.Here's a question that should help clarify the meaning of illegal:
In U.S. history, which of the following were not simply common practice, but legal?
a) forced removal of native peoples and the theft of their lands.
b) slavery, segregation & racial discrimination and the denial of voting rights to women.
c) mass internment of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent and the mass repatriation of U.S. citizens of Mexican descent.

If you answered yes to all of them, you would be correct. But let's fast forward to 2006. Which country asserts the right to:
a) wage preemptive and permanent worldwide war against nations that do not pose an imminent threat?
b) secretly and indefinitely detain suspects incommunicado, without charges at home and also outside of its legal system, while exempting its military from the international war crimes tribunal and claiming that the Geneva Conventions on war do not apply to this nation?
c) spy on its own citizens outside of the law, and also asserts the right to use the military for domestic purposes?

If you guessed the United States -- right again. The U.S. formulation of what is legal/illegal emanates from its military arsenal. (Since the 1950s, the United States has overthrown dozens of legitimate governments and propped up brutal military dictatorships). President Bush is but carrying on a tradition that says that whatever he says is legal, is legal, or else."

1 comment:

Bruce said...

The law is such a useful tool. There when you need to smite your enemies and absent when it comes time to steal poor people blind or wage a war of choice.