If you read only one blog post

on the travesty of Guantanamo and the need to restore Habeas Corpus, you should probably read this tour de force by Glenn Greenwald, but since you are here, you can hopefully make it to the end of my shorter one.  Interestingly, I was already planning on blogging about Habeas today because I recently finished listening to “This American Life's” amazing “Habeas Schmabeas” episode on podcast.  Lucky for me, the New York Times and Washington Post both have editorials on the subject today.   If you care at all about our democracy, you really, really should listen (that means you, Mom, if you can figure out how) to the “This American Life” episode.  I've long known what a sad and sordid tale Guantanamo actually is.  Dick Cheney goes on talking about “the worst of the worst” picked up “on the battlefields of Afghanistan” when we've actually learned that so many of these people were turned in for huge sums of money just for being foreigners.  Nonetheless, to have the whole story put together in such a compelling manner and listening to the first-person accounts of several former detainees declared “no longer enemy combatant” is just such an amazing indictment of the Bush administration.  How incredibly sad that America has become a country that will lock you up on the barest suspicion and not even give you the chance to challenge the legality of your attention.

Hopefully, this will change.  The time is now for Democrats in Congress to do the write thing and restore Habeas rights.  As mentioned, Glenn Greenwald had a masterful post on this today.  The New York Times had a really excellent editorial, here's some key bits:

President Bush turned habeas corpus into a partisan issue by
declaring that the prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, even innocent ones, do
not deserve a hearing. Lawmakers who objected were painted as friends
of terrorists.

But let?s be clear. There is nothing
?conservative? or ?tough on terrorism? in selectively stripping people
of their rights. Suspending habeas corpus is an extreme notion on the
radical fringes of democratic philosophy…

Consider some of the other wild-eyed liberals calling on Congress to
restore habeas corpus: William Sessions, director of the F.B.I. under
the first President Bush; David Keene, head of the American
Conservative Union; the National Association of Evangelicals; David
Neff, editor of Christianity Today, founded by the Rev. Billy Graham; a
long list of other evangelical leaders and scholars; and nearly two
dozen sitting and retired federal judges.

I'll give Greenwald (and Thomas Jefferson) the last word:

More significantly, whether a country permits its political leaders to
imprison people arbitrarily and with no process is one of the few
defining attributes dividing free and civilized countries from lawless
tyrannies. Or, as Thomas Jefferson put it in his 1789 letter to Thomas Paine: “I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor
ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the
principles of its constitution.” To vest the President with the power
to imprison people indefinitely with no charges is fundamentally to
transform the type of country we are.
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: