Monday, November 13, 2006

Let the reader understand

The real irony of American history:

Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument.
I was reading the Declaration of Independence with my Freshman English class (to them is more accurate, actually), when this part of the bill of particulars Jefferson enumerates against King George struck me:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
The Declaration of Independence, of course, is a classic of American history. And monuments are how we preserve the lessons of history, the better to ignore them.

Adding (as of 8:53 p.m.; and in case there's some confusion on the point):

The Bush administration said Monday that Guantanamo Bay prisoners have no right to challenge their detentions in civilian courts and that lawsuits by hundreds of detainees should be dismissed.

In court documents filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the Justice Department defended the military's authority to arrest people overseas and detain them indefinitely without access to courts.

It's the first time that argument has been spelled out since President Bush signed a law last month setting up military commissions for the thousands of foreigners being held in U.S. prisons abroad.
Liberty for me, but not for thee.

*"A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read."--Mark Twain

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