Happy birthday, Gitmo!

You’ve been with us ten years now.

But after the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Centers, Americans feared our still-unknown assailants far more than we feared the implications of unchecked executive power. We could not get the lid off that particular petri dish fast enough. Less than a week after 11 September 2001, Congress passed the Authorisation for Use of Military Force, which grants the president unlimited power to use force against anyone in the world – any nation, organisation, person, associated forces and so forth that the president determines was, in any way, involved in 9/11. Military Order #1, passed two months later, authorised the president to direct the capture of any non-citizen anywhere in the world allegedly involved in international terrorism, and detain that person indefinitely without access to the remedy of habeas corpus. (In another example of the deterioration of Americans’ rights post-9/11, that power can now be applied to citizens as well.)