After being reminded of the song "Opposites Attract" by some commentary on this post, I thought that "Two Steps Back" pretty much summed up how I felt when I saw this this headline:
Bush Signs Terror Interrogation Law
As I previously mentioned, this is some pretty scary litigation. It is just amazing to me that in the year 2006, we think that holding people without charge, putting people to death based on hearsay evidence and coerced testimony, and denying them habeas corpus is, as Bush put it "a way to deliver justice to the terrorists we have captured." There is nothing just about it. We are compromising the very principles that separate us from terrorism: the rule of law, respect for human rights and dignity, and the search for truth through due process. Why are we turning back the clock to the time of the inquisition?
Here's what the president had to say:
"It is a rare occasion when a president can sign a bill that he knows will save American lives," Bush said. "I have that privilege this morning."I can understand how it provides post-hoc retribution, but how is this going to save lives? Indefinite detention might keep these specific guys out of the picture, but the hate it generates in the Muslim world and elsewhere will create more terrorism, not less. Torture, abbreviated justice, and death sentences will not provide a deterrent to Islamic fundamentalists who are willing to blow themselves up for their cause anyway in order to become a martyr. By giving these guys disproportionate justice via special kangaroo courts, we only play into the rhetoric of Al-Qaeda and other groups who claim that the United States is at war with Muslims.
There is also an interesting debate going on as to whether Congress has the authority to suspend habeas. (Post at Balkanization). To wit: Does the Suspension Clause present a non-justiciable political question? and if so, doesn't that render an explicit prohibition in the Constitution completely meaningless?