Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

A fatal flaw?

By
September 27, 2006

By DALE McFEATTERS

The compromise between President Bush and Senate Republicans on detainee treatment has one gaping flaw. It carves out an open-ended exception to the great legal principle of habeas corpus.

Habeas corpus has its roots deep _ it is said to predate the 1215 Magna Carta _ in English common law, from which we derive our own legal system, and, on issuance of a writ, it requires a prisoner to be brought before a court to determine whether he is being lawfully held and, if not, released.

It is a principal safeguard of civil liberty, essential toward making the government obey the law.

Habeas corpus is specifically mentioned in Article One of the Constitution, which mentions only two exceptions for its suspension, "Rebellion or Invasion," mercifully, neither of which prevails today.

But language in the pending detainee-treatment bill would deny habeas corpus to foreigners and, arguably, American citizens deemed "unlawful combatants," an ambiguous classification that the Bush administration reserves the right to define.

The bill defines a combatant as one who "has engaged in hostilities" against the United States, which is fine, but then goes on to broaden greatly the definition to include one "who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States."

Since the war on terror is said to have no boundaries and no end, people could be detained anywhere in the world and held indefinitely, for life even, with no right of appeal to an impartial judicial panel and thus no way of challenging their imprisonment.

Since most detainees, like most prisoners of war, are unlikely ever to be charged with a crime, the length and terms of their incarceration depend solely on the good will of whoever is occupying the White House.

Founder John Adams said that "ours is a government of laws, not of men." It is also a government of principles and one of them is habeas corpus. The Great Writ should not be a casualty of the war on terror.

(Contact Dale McFeatters at McFeattersD(at)SHNS.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com)

8 Responses to A fatal flaw?

  1. South Point Man

    September 27, 2006 at 10:34 am

    What? Scripps carried an article that ended up here that wasn’t simpering, sycophantic jingoism?

    I…I… feel confused… What universe am I in…?

    I have a better idea. How about no compromise because there isn’t anything to compromise regarding the value and dignity and respect that’s to be given to people’s lives.

    The damn nincompoops in DC have run amok making evilness seem the norm instead of the opposite.

  2. JimZ

    September 27, 2006 at 3:20 pm

    If you need an explanation of what WHY we need all of this, just tune in to Rush or Sean Hannity. I’m SURE there’s a rational reason for all of this. Their believers (the “soul snatched”) will continue to believe. You can’t crack these nuts with a hammer.

    After all, I’m SURE Bill Clinton is to blame, somehow.

    Let’s face it, most of this is a smoke screen to cover up the REAL reason for this bill. It is to provide cover for the already commited crimes of King George 0. It’s in the details. The GOP will bend to his demands to cover up for him. THE REPUBLICANS ARE WILLING TO DESTROY OUR ENTIRE NATION TO COVER FOR DUBYA. What a bunch of a-holes. The Senate and Congress leadership is morally bankrupt.

  3. Florence Murphy

    September 27, 2006 at 9:16 pm

    JimZ thanks for your comment in capital letters in your closing paragraph.
    I have been waiting for some “pundit” to espouse this fact but, no courage in these sissies. Doesn’t anyone “see” what this is all about? We just can’t have another impeachment or war crimes trials for these crimes…after all the people couldn’t sustain this disruption of our “democracy”. Once again, we are treated like incompetent children. We are not fools…the decimation of our civil liberties and habeas corpus can be turned on us! Was it Richard Wright who warned us about this in his book, The Fire Next Time? Hope I’m giving the proper credit to Mr.Wright
    I could be wrong.
    Once again thanks JimZ for
    your comments.

  4. Florence Murphy

    September 27, 2006 at 9:17 pm

    JimZ thanks for your comment in capital letters in your closing paragraph.
    I have been waiting for some “pundit” to espouse this fact but, no courage in these sissies. Doesn’t anyone “see” what this is all about? We just can’t have another impeachment or war crimes trials for these crimes…after all the people couldn’t sustain this disruption of our “democracy”. Once again, we are treated like incompetent children. We are not fools…the decimation of our civil liberties and habeas corpus can be turned on us! Was it Richard Wright who warned us about this in his book, The Fire Next Time? Hope I’m giving the proper credit to Mr.Wright
    I could be wrong.
    Once again thanks JimZ for
    your comments.

  5. Jennifer

    September 28, 2006 at 1:50 am

    As a former Christian, which I’m not, I know the bible.
    Christ said, “Love your enemy”, “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the earth”…how can the Republicans and Bush ok water-boarding, sending/attaching electrods to genitals of other human beings…what info are you going to get from that/them??? They might just tell the truth(god forbid) and let the American people know, that all of it, was an inside job………………for oil and any other resources, that, the invaded country might have.
    This has been going on for 200 years..nothing new…same old calvary, same old story.
    J

  6. LYNNE KRINGLER

    September 28, 2006 at 6:51 am

    Jesus is the Prince of Peace, not Eros, God of War.

    GOODIE! GOODIE! GOODIE! We get to torture and kill and we will not be punished for previous atrocities. We are now on equal with saddam.

  7. snymrik

    October 13, 2006 at 2:23 pm

    ionolsen16 Your site is very cognitive. I think you will have good future.:)www_4_2
    www_4_3
    www_4_4
    www_4_5
    www_4_6
    www_4_7
    www_4_8
    www_4_9
    www_4_10
    www_4_11

  8. karel

    October 13, 2006 at 6:38 pm