June 20, 2002

Frightening editorial in the Washington Post - required reading for everyone who thinks things are hunky-dory here in Bunnypants' Fascistan:

"A court's inquiry should come to an end once the military has shown ... that it has determined that the detainee is an enemy combatant. ... [T]he court may not second-guess the military's enemy-combatant determination."

THESE WORDS were not written by some petty dictator whose kangaroo courts rubber-stamp his every whim and whose whims may include locking up citizens he regards as enemies. They were filed yesterday by the U.S. Department of Justice before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond in the case of Yaser Esam Hamdi. Mr. Hamdi is probably an American citizen, captured in Afghanistan and currently held without charge at a military base in Norfolk. He is not a sympathetic character, but that should not obscure the extraordinary power President Bush is claiming for himself in Mr. Hamdi's case: the right to detain without trial American citizens forever with no meaningful judicial review.

{snip} If this is correct, any American could be locked up indefinitely, without a lawyer, on the president's say-so. You don't have to believe that Mr. Hamdi is innocent to see grave peril in this. The Constitution's checks and balances don't contemplate blind trust in the wisdom or good faith of the president. And the courts must not acquiesce in Mr. Bush's claim that they are powerless to ensure the lawfulness of presidential behavior. - - (Thanks to samela at the BC Forum for the link)

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