Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

Controversial Executive Orders that remain in effect

After 9/11, George W. Bush secretly signed two executive orders. Both violated basic constitutional protections as well as U.S. obligations under international treaties, yet both carried the force of law.

The first order grants the president and other officials, including the secretary of defense, the secretary of homeland security) the right to declare anyone–including an American citizen–an “unlawful enemy combatant.” A person so declared has no redress, no way to appeal, no ability to challenge that designation. Once a person has been named an enemy combatant, according to the Bush Administration–and now to the Obama Administration–he has no rights. He can be held without charges forever, tortured, you name it.

In the second covert executive order, Bush authorized the CIA to target and assassinate said “enemy combatants”–again, including American citizens.

Congress tried to clarify matters in the Military Commissions Act of 2006, part of which–the section that eliminated the writ of habeas corpus–got struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. But the rest remains in force.

Scott Silliman, director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University asked: “Could you put a Hellfire missile into a car in Washington, D.C., under [the Bush] theory? The answer is yes, you could.”

Now that times have supposedly changed, it’s time to ask: why hasn’t President Obama abrogated Bush’s controversial executive orders?

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