Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bush Slips In Surprise For Senators

The Bush administration, supported by House allies, has slipped a small but important change into last week's "compromise" bill on terror suspects. The earlier bill, worked out in negotiations with restive Senate Republicans, defined enemy combatants as those who have "engaged in hostilities," but the latest draft legislation expands the definition to include those who have "supported hostilities." The new language could boost the administration's contention that it can designate virtually anyone an enemy combatant. The Washington Post notes it "does not rule out the possibility" that the designation could be applied to a U.S. citizen.

Wheeeee! Now the President can kidnap and torture and kill American citizens!

Unfortunately, the Mainstream Corporate News Media seems to have awakened far too late to the most controversial aspect of the bill: If passed, the legislation would strip detainees of the right to challenge their imprisonment in court. The Senate judiciary committee took up the issue today, and among those invited to testify was Thomas Sullivan, a lawyer for several Guantanamo detainees. Describing existing Guantanamo hearings to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a former judge who supports stripping habeas rights, Sullivan channeled Joseph Welch:

There was no lawyer given to the defendants. They didn't speak English, most of them. They were young men who had no training in law. There were no rules of evidence applicable… Now, [do] you call that due process, Your Honor? Do you? … This is a historic moment in our time. To suspend the writ of habeas corpus without hearings, rushing it through just before elections, where people are afraid to vote against this bill because somebody on the other side is going to hold up a TV commercial and criticize them for it, is phony.
What an Islamofascist Traitor this guy is, with his quaint belief in the rule of law and the Constitution and the idea that America might be making some kind of mistake.