What Were They Thinking?
In what is being called a stunning blow to President Bush--and, more importantly, America--the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued their opinion in Boumedine v. Bush. In a 5-4 decision, the SCOTUS (who are supposed to be on our team) extended the rights of habeas corpus to prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay. This effectively gives enemy combatants the same rights as, say Orenthal James Simpson (and we all recall how that turned out).
Imagine a world where Mahmoud, a peace-loving Muslim, with six kids, four wives, and a hankering to get to Paradise (where he can get 72 Virginians) gets caught on his way to a suicide bombing, then shipped off to G'itmo for some fun in the sun. Instead of some water sports (the new term for water-boarding), three squares, and five prayers a day, he gets access to the American legal system.
Instead of swift, sure military justice, we will surely get years of wrangling over whether Mahmoud was read his Miranda rights; whether he received (competent) counsel; and, whether the rape of a six-year-old camel is grounds for execution. Idiots, languishing on Death Row, while Americans die (and pay for their care and maintenance). Idiots telling idiots that they have rights.
What this decision might do, however, is lead to something quite unintended by the SCOTUS.
Rather than have the courts (and juries) of the United States judging the enemy combatants, the Coalition of the Willing just might take matters into their own hands. They might ship prisoners off to Egyptian prisons (where the detained don't have it quite so well); or, they might just shoot the motherf***ers. After all, only God can be the judge. We can simply insure that the enemy combatants get to their appointment on time.
So, maybe Boumedine is not the defeat that the Right thinks that it is. Rather, it may give The War Against Terror a wee-bit of inertia, which will lead to increased security (and a diminished population at Club G'itmo). And, for those who think that precedent means everything, they should remember that President Abraham Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus during the War of Northern Aggression. Perhaps President Bush should take a page from The Great Emancipator; or, perhaps we should find someone like Colonel Walter E. Kurtz to run the show. Either way, people will complain.