Referendum on torture

Ned Lamont now has the chance to turn the Connecticut Senate race into a referendum on torture and arbitrary detention. I hope he does.

With Joe Lieberman voting for the torture and arbitrary detention bill on final passage, Ned Lamont has the chance to turn the Connecticut Senate race into a referendum on whether we intend to remain the United States of America, or give in to the terrorists by shredding our Constitution and sacrificing our national honor to our fears.

Win or lose, that seems to me like the right strategy.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

4 thoughts on “Referendum on torture”

  1. You have your tenses wrong. We no longer are the United States of America. We have shredded our Constitution (not to mention the Magna Carta). The question is whether we will ever recreate the nation that was founded in 1776, and I'm doubtful. The point, seriously, is that we remained the nation we were even with a rogue president, because there was still the possibility, however unlikely, that he could be prosecuted for his crimes. But when the legislature makes his crimes the law of the land, then we are no longer that nation.

  2. So now we have our own "Star Chamber" and I don't mean Kenneth Starr, though the confluence of names is apt. Now you can be taken prisoner, tortured, and kept in jail for ever because the President says you have "aided and abetted terrorists." You are convicted of being a terrorist without a trial. That can mean that if you inadvertently contribute to a charity that unbenownst to you helps an Islamist organization the Torturer-in-Chief can class you as a terrorist. If your protests about Bush and his Praetorian Guard become too loud – and too close to the truth – you can be wisked away and never heard of again. The "Star Chamber" was where, in medieval times prisoners were taken to be summarily sentenced to death without knowing what there crime bad been, with evidence they could never see (often obtained by torture) being used against them. It There was no defence. This country has now sunk to the lawless ness of medieval times. The "King" is sole juge, jury and executioner. What have we come to?

  3. To be whisked away you don't have to inadvertently contribute to a proscribed charity or loudly protest. With no habeas corpus, you can be whisked away for omitting the "h" in "whisked" or for no reason at all, as long as Bush says that you're an enemy combatant.

  4. Well, last I looked, Lieberman was ten points ahead. So if Ned Lamont makes it a referendum, the side you like loses. Is this smart?

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