Wednesday, September 19, 2007

US Senate Fails Us Again

Habeas Corpus, the legal action that gives a person the right to challenge an unlawful detention, is no more. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 revoked this right that has been a cornerstone of Western democracies since the 12th Century.

The Democratic-led US Senate again failed to pass a measure that would return this fundamental right to US citizens.

Said US Presidential candidate Senator Chris Dodd, "Each of us in the Senate faced a decision either to cast a vote in favor of helping to restore America's reputation in the world, or to help dig deeper the hole of utter disrespect for the rule of law that the Bush Administration has created. Unfortunately, too many of my colleagues chose the latter."

Yahoo News/The Nation


Blogger Paul Hue said...

This issue isn't clear to me due to the nature of a war. Did captured German and Jap troops enjoy this right? Should they have?

In any case, I lean in favor of conferring this right in Bush's wars against those anti-US militias.

September 21, 2007 9:34 AM  
Blogger Nadir said...

Anyone can be designated an enemy combatant. Recent legislation dictated that peace activists can be guilty of giving "material support" to the enemy. This means that anyone who is found to be at odds with the Bush administration can be deemed as such.

Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the civil war, but that doesn't make it right, or constitutional.

September 21, 2007 10:11 AM  
Blogger Paul Hue said...

I agree that there is an inherent problem, since "anyone who is found" is determined by the people enforcing this law. I have found no reason to believe that any independent check exists on assessing the correctness of who gets this label. One of the areas where I fault the Bushies is their failure to accept inherent problems with a free nation conducting a war. Tyrants have important advantages in conducting a war. I share your opposition, Nadir, to transforming ourselves into tyrants in order to defend ourselves from tyrants.

I also agree that just because Lincoln did something in an effort that we all applaud (defeating the confederates), that doesn't make it right. However, it is very instructive for us to understand what happened in the past, and the results.

Did Lincoln's suspension of HC really help? Did his draft really help? How helpful was Sherman's "total war" on the confederates, which qualifies as terrorism?

We can ask, and should ask, the same questions about WWII. And maybe we will learn that without terror bombing of civilian targets in Germany and Japan the tyrants would have won; I am not sure. But I am certain of the long term results: peace, prosperity, independence, and democracy in the US south, Germany, and Japan. Thus I am certain that the amount of civilian destruction and domestic spying today on behalf of the Iraq war (which is far less than in these previous efforts) does not necessarily preclude here the same wonderful ultimate outcomes that we saw previously.

September 26, 2007 2:29 PM  

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