If I Were President
If I were president, I would start with a round of mass imprisonments.
As Machiavelli advises, I’d do it quickly, perhaps all in one night. A few tens of thousands should be enough.
No, no, you’ve got me all wrong — these aren’t political prisoners. Yes, they just happen to include the members of the Democratic and Republican National Committees. There are a lot of big-time political donors. (Which ones? Don’t ask!) Industrialists, financiers, labor leaders, community organizers. Academics. Journalists. Judges. A few members of Congress. (I wouldn’t need too many of those. It only needs a few pour encourager les autres.)
But they’re not in prison for their politics. No indeed. They’re terrorism suspects, and I’m holding them in military prisons for the duration of the conflict.
Courts don’t get to review my decision. No one does. I don’t need to show evidence. I don’t need to say where I’m holding them. I don’t even need to say who I’m holding.
What do I need? I need the loyalty of the folks with the guns. In a sense, that’s all I’ve ever needed, but it’s awfully nice of U.S. law to just come right out and say so, and to sweep away all the legal mumbo jumbo.
I also need to torture. Terror suspects deserve no less. I’ve got legal memos saying it’s okay.
I might go down in history as one of the most hated world leaders of all time, but I bet Americans would care a lot more about their civil liberties after my very short and perhaps violently abbreviated time in office.
Just a pity about all the damage I’d do in the meantime.