Don't Stop the ACLU

Thursday, June 29, 2006

You mean I don't get unlimited power?

Before I begin today, I have an announcement to make: Her Majesty, in her infinite wisdom, has seen fit to grant me the rank of Major, my second promotion in as many years. Let me just say that I am honored that the Crown has taken notice of my ongoing philanthropy and loyalty to the empire. Shalom, my sista. Now on with the show...

From NYT: The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 today that the Bush administration must put an end to military tribunals set up to try terrorist suspects at Guantánamo Bay. Chief Justice Roberts recused himself since he had ruled on the case as an appellate judge last year, but I'll bet you can guess who voted which way among the rest (Hint: The Godfather, the Quiet Man, and the New Guy were in the minority). The Court ruled that administration's kangaroo courts violated both American military law and the Geneva Conventions.

President Bush had this to say: "[T]he Hamdan decision was the way forward. ... The ruling won't cause killers to be put out on the streets. I'm not going to jeopardize the safety of the American people." Oh my stars! I think he actually gets it! He understands that the Court isn't telling the administration to empty Guantánamo Bay onto the streets of New York City; but rather, they're asking that the rule of law be upheld when these suspected terrorists are brought to trial.

To recap: No, you can't arbitrarily decide how to try suspected terrorists. Yes, you may continue to hold the suspects. No, please do not release the suspects from prison.

It sounds to me as though the Supreme Court made the correct decision. The rule of law is a cornerstone of any functional democratic society, and whether we're trying petty criminals or terrorists, certain rules must be followed. To do otherwise would undermine our core values. The big question that must now be answered is if these suspects won't be tried by military tribunals, then how will they be tried?

Already some in Congress are saying, well, use the military tribunals anyway! Senators Lindsey Graham and Jon Kyl issued a statement saying that they "intend to pursue legislation in the Senate granting the Executive Branch the authority to ensure that terrorists can be tried by competent military commissions. Working together, Congress and the administration can draft a fair, suitable, and constitutionally permissible tribunal statute."

This ruling has some people running around and smacking into each other like children hopped up on Pixie Stix. I won't go through all of their whiny and hyperbole-laden rants, but I'll just highlight a couple of my faves:

Jay at Stop the ACLU goes off thusly: "It is celebration time for the left, as Al Qaeda terrorists now have 'protections' via the Geneva Conventions thanks to the US Supreme Court." I hate terrorists as much as the next guy, but are they really so different from more traditional enemy combatants that we should strip them of their rights? A war is a war, and the same rules should apply across the board.

And a cat called AJStrata added this: "Well, if we can't try them without exposing more national security details to the enemy through (our? their?) the press we will just have to kill them. Bring on more virgins! Maybe we should just release them and hope they have learned their lessons? It may be less dangerous than exposing our defensive programs and efforts in court." A few words for ya, bub: sequor, sequi, secutus sum. Anyway, well done, sir. You managed to slip in a couple of opinions on issues that are somewhat related while calling for the wholesale execution of suspected terrorists, and I think that bit about releasing terrorists is one of them straw man thingies that Internet folk have grown so fond of using. Note to everyone reading: Please check yourself before posing silly arguments. How do you people sleep at night when you're pleading for executions and kinda-sorta lying about everything?
posted by Maj. M.T. Rational XXXIV at 2:47 PM

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