First, and most importantly: it comes very, very late in the game – perhaps too late. All of the tnical powers enumerated by the editorial were claimed – and put into practice – by Bush and Cheney five years ago. I began writing columns about these very claims in October 2001. In November 2001, I first wrote of Bush’s claim that he could not only declare anyone on earth an "enemy combatant" and jail them forever in black holes without charges, but he could also have them summarily killed. This was not classified information that I got from some bold Ellsbergian whistleblower; these were claims being made openly and proudly by "senior Administration officials" to – the New York Times, among others. I’ll be writing more on this point later in the week.
Second, the editorial, as strong as it is, doesn’t go far enough: We not looking at "our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts" as the newspaper puts it; things are much farther gone than that. What we are looking at is the death knell of the constitutional republic of the United States. Bush has long claimed dictatorial powers in secret; if Congress writes these liberty-gutting strictures into law, then the fundamental nature of the American state will be transformed. It will not be, in any sense – not even formally – a free country anymore. All of our rights and liberties will be the "gift" of the President, who can bestow them – or revoke them – as he sees fit.
Third, many legal experts note that the language of the laws in question here does not specifically exclude their application to citizens of the United States. Although Bush’s willing executioners of liberty among the Senate leadership – such as Lindsay Graham, John McCain and the lipless, cat-torturing, money-grubbing excuse for a man named Bill Frist – insist that these draconian powers will apply only to "furreners" (as though that made it all OK), Cheney and his minions have in fact ensured that the measures can be used against American citizens as well – as they already have been, over and over, during the past five years.
The Times has taken a good, strong first step; now they need to march forward boldly and tell the rest of the truth. Bush’s "War on Terror" is coming to the Homeland, and its target is the American people. Bush and his handlers want to destroy the ability of anyone to oppose their hard-right – and overwhelmingly unpopular – agenda. It’s the only way the Faction can maintain its domination – and avoid prosecution for its many crimes. They’re fighting for their freedom – so they’ll take ours. They’re fighting for their lives – so they’ll take ours.
Next time, the NYT should put a piece like this on the front page – and end it with a call for mass marches in the street, exhorting the American people to rally for their liberty and bring down the bloodstained tyrants who have usurped the Republic and dishonored our name.