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Detaining People Indefinitely, Even After Acquittal, Plus A Little Torture A-OK With Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist Because “We Don’t Want Them To Have Everyday Rights”

Reported by Ellen - September 29, 2006 -

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was the lead-off guest on Hannity & Colmes last night (9/28/06) to praise the just-passed bill innocuously described on the screen as “setting rules for detainee interrogations.” The New York Times, in a blistering editorial, said the bill gives President Bush “the power to jail pretty much anyone he wants for as long as he wants without charging them, to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, to authorize what normal people consider torture, and to deny justice to hundreds of men captured in error.” But there was no guest with an opposing view to balance Frist on last night’s show.

Alan Colmes didn’t go into the torture provisions, nor the fact that the bill grants, as The Times put it, “a blanket waiver for crimes Americans may have committed in the service of (Bush’s) antiterrorism policies. Instead, Colmes focused on the fact that ordinary Americans could be rounded up and held indefinitely. “The president can decide not to release somebody who stands trial and is even acquitted until the perceived threat is over. Even if that person is acquitted. This can apply to American citizens.” Colmes went on to ask if Frist would be comfortable with that power going to the hands of a Democratic president, “a power that’s never before existed in our government?”

Frist, of course, talked about “a new sort of opponent” and, he claimed, “The American people will get it… We don’t want (enemy combatants) to have everyday rights of American civilians right here.” In fact, Frist was wrong. A September 15-17, 2006 USA Today/Gallup Poll found that most Americans think the US should abide by the same Geneva Conventions standards that apply to the US military when dealing with enemy combatants.

Colmes countered, “But if someone is acquitted, they can be detained.”

Frist agreed but, he said, the bill gives detainees “a lot of rights.”

They must have reached their quota.

Interestingly, Hannity was quiet about the bill and focused on the cloture vote to build a fence along the border and the upcoming elections.

You can watch the segment on FOXNews.com.