Monday, April 30, 2007

Blueprint for Dictatorship?

From Justin at

Blueprint for Dictatorship

Recent legislation sets us up for tyranny
by Justin Raimondo

America is headed for a military dictatorship – and recent legislation makes this all but inevitable. Last September, Congress passed the Defense Authorization Act, which empowered the president to declare martial law with very little provocation, namely in the aftermath of a "terrorist attack or incident." Having determined that "the execution of the laws" is hampered by the "incident," the president can unilaterally impose martial law – without the consent of Congress, which need only be informed of the event "as soon as practicable." The only condition attached instructs the president to report to Congress after 14 days, and every 14 days thereafter.

This use of the military to enforce domestic order is a new development in American history, one that augurs a turning point not only in terms of law, but also in our evolving political culture. Such a measure would once have provoked an outcry – on both sides of the aisle. When the measure passed, there was hardly a ripple of protest: the Senate approved it unanimously, and there were only thirty-something dissenting votes in the House. Added to the Military Commissions Act [.pdf], this new brick in the wall of domestic repression creates the structure of a new imperial system on the ruins of the old constitutional order. George W. Bush and his hard-core neoconservative henchmen may have lost the war in Iraq, but they have won a virtually uncontested victory at home: the conquest of the old republic by an emerging imperial order. This recalls the opening of Garet Garrett's 1952 philippic, Rise of Empire, wherein he diagnosed the essential indeterminacy of the transition:

"We have crossed the boundary that lies between Republic and Empire. If you ask when, the answer is that you cannot make a single stroke between day and night; the precise moment does not matter. There as no painted sign to say: 'You are now entering Imperium.'"

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