Obama stood in the National Archives yesterday, and spoke these words:
The documents that we hold in this very hall — the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights — these are not simply words written into aging parchment. They are the foundation of liberty and justice in this country, and a light that shines for all who seek freedom, fairness, equality, and dignity around the world.
A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled — one of those documents behind Obama — laid out the complaints of the colonists against King George. Among them:
For protecting them [government soldiers], by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States . . .
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences . . .
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny . . .
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. . .
Compare that with yesterday, when an American president stood in front of that Declaration at the National Archives and proclaimed proudly that he is in favor of indefinite "preventive detention" — holding people without charges, without trials, without appeal, and without end. That’s an idea the Founders rejected, but yesterday Obama made it clear that it is a policy he supports and intends to continue.
Maybe President Obama should have turned around and read that Declaration.