Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What Everyone Knows

Wow, what a blow delivered yesterday to the Bush administration. Judge Motz (Clinton appointee, natch) ruled that the US cannot hold civilians in this country as enemy combatants indefinitely. Aside from sporting a horrendous haircut, the guy in question Ali al-Marri is definitely not good news. His ties to Al Qaeda don't seem too much in doubt. Capital B bad. There is a part of me that can see the appeal of getting all Israel-ish on his ass and ordering a clandestine execution. But you know, I did see Munich and that method doesn't seem work out that well, either. An eye for an eye, both blind etc.

Once you eliminate the easy answers (kill 'em or lock 'em up and throw away the key, ignoring our own judicial principles and oh yeah, the Geneva Convention, too) where does that leave you? In the trenches, doing the work. You know, all the work that the 911 Commission discovered wasn't done. Intelligence 'n stuff. The slogging work that's often tedious and sometimes dangerous. What Lester in The Wire calls "good po-lice." But, in true-blue American fashion, between 1998 and 2004 our military was too busy firing all the Arabic speaking linguists because they were gay to be gathering intelligence that could thwart terror plots. And even if someone uncovered intelligence, who was left to translate it? A proud moment for America.

So instead of being deported or booked on charges in a civilian court, this bad-haircut-up-to-no-good guy is held for four years, the first 16 months of which had no contact with his family or attorney. Everyone knows you can't do that. Judge Motz wrote, “The president cannot eliminate constitutional protections with the stroke of a pen ..." Everyone knows you can't do that! Don't they?

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