Thursday, August 03, 2006

Submitted for our disapproval

It is good to see that Bush isn't being distracted from his domestic agenda by all the unpleasantness in the Middle East. And not that anyone's disapproval will matter to this White House, but given that the Supreme Court actually encouraged this in its own decision in Hamdan v.Rumsfeld, it hardly comes as a surprise. In fact, I was just waiting for the day:
U.S. citizens suspected of terror ties might be detained indefinitely and barred from access to civilian courts under legislation proposed by the Bush administration, say legal experts reviewing an early version of the bill.

A 32-page draft measure is intended to authorize the Pentagon's tribunal system, established shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks to detain and prosecute detainees captured in the war on terror. The tribunal system was thrown out last month by the Supreme Court.
Just as expected. There was a lot of overblown rhetoric about what a whallop the Supreme Court decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld dealt Bush's "unitary executive" claims. I didn't buy it. And I didn't buy it for exactly the reason we're seeing here: new legislation that would make the White House use of military tribunals legal and even retroactively so. And, as was also pointed out here, the White House even has a strategy to get Congress to pass the odious law:
So, we have an admission of the ploy by Bartlett that anyone who opposes any new legislation that Bush asks for -- and he will ask for it -- is to be portrayed as supporting terrorists. Which means, of course, that Democrats and whatever few Republicans there are left with a congressional bone in their otherwise rubber-stamp bodies will grant Bush whatever he demands....

... just what these days wouldn't pass "constitutional muster"? If Bush said he needed to eat babies in order fight terror, well, by god, that would good enough for this Congress. Have at 'em George! Salt?
Some of the provisions contained within what is surely the product of Yoo's and Abugraiberto's legal minds are as sinister as they are expected:
The administration's proposal, as considered at one point during discussions, would toss out several legal rights common in civilian and military courts, including barring hearsay evidence, guaranteeing "speedy trials" and granting a defendant access to evidence. The proposal also would allow defendants to be barred from their own trial and likely allow the submission of coerced testimony.
Hearsay and testimony derived from torture and abuse are just two vertebrae in this administration's legal backbone. Furthermore, the bill stipulates that
the military would be allowed to detain all "enemy combatants" until hostilities cease.
Judging by the conditions in the Middle East, that will be a very long time, indeed.


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