Thursday, October 19, 2006

No Rights for Pirates ? It's the End of America !

Keith Olbermann has written a perfectly asinine piece for MSNBC "Beginning of the End of America" available at Real Clear Politics, here. Mr. Olbermann's subject is the Military Commissions Act (2006), signed this week by President Bush, and put through Congress to remedy some of the chaos created by the Supreme Court's 5-4 opinion in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, No. 05-184, 548 U.S. ____, ___ S.Ct. ___ (June 29, 2006). As John Yoo explained, in today's Wall Street Journal:
The new law is, above all, a stinging rebuke to the Supreme Court. It strips the courts of jurisdiction to hear any habeas corpus claim filed by any alien enemy combatant anywhere in the world. It was passed in response to the effort by a five-justice majority in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld to take control over terrorism policy. That majority extended judicial review to Guantanamo Bay, threw the Bush military commissions into doubt, and tried to extend the protections of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions to al Qaeda and Taliban detainees, overturning the traditional understanding that Geneva does not cover terrorists, who are not signatories nor "combatants" in an internal civil war under Article 3.

Hamdan was an unprecedented attempt by the court to rewrite the law of war and intrude into war policy. . .

Until the Supreme Court began trying to make war policy, the writ of habeas corpus had never been understood to benefit enemy prisoners in war. The U.S. held millions of POWs during World War II, with none permitted to use our civilian courts (except for a few cases of U.S. citizens captured fighting for the Axis). . .

(emphasis in underline supplied)

Read the whole thing. Professor Yoo places the Military Commissions Act in its proper context: Congress's response to a power-grab by the Supreme Court, which thankfully came a cropper.
In any case, the Act has Mr. Olbermann in high dudgeon because, inter alia it removes the right of alien unlawful enemy combatants to obtain habeas corpus relief in US courts. This is the nub of the matter: the conceit by Mr. Olbermann and the Hamdan majorty that there is no real difference whatever between an American citizen and a foreign national -- even if the foreign national has been shooting at Americans. This is the trend in the law generally, and it follows the prejudices of our overgovernment overlords in the bar, the media, and academia, who hold that national boundries and their associated parochial loyalties are outworn and outmoded.
The Hamdan majority (similar to those who would excuse illegal immigration) has, among other things, prostituted the concept of American citizenship, and privileged non-state actor combatants. The very idea of enemy prisoners -- particularly persons acting under the order of no government, who are not legally entitled to claim the status of prisoners of war - who are in fact no better than pirates, with no right to be under arms whatever -- being able to claim the rights of American citizens is utterly repulsive.
The protection of the Constitution should be for American citizens, wherever they are born. Legitimate prisoners of war -- lawful combatants acting for governments or as a part of other regularly organized armed bodies, -- do indeed have rights, and they may claim the protections allowed by the relevant international conventions. But the persons held at Guantanamo and elsewhere are not prisoners of war. The only thing that the Al Qaeda terrorists at Guantanamo are entitled to is a rope, and American law affords them more protection, more due process, and better treatment, than they could ever deserve (the detainees have a library, for God's sake). The Military Commissions Act does not change any of that.
Claiming the Military Commissions Act is the "beginning of the end of America" is ludicrous. We're coming up on 400 years of America -- for America predates the United States -- and there is no end in sight. Unless, that is, Osama and company manage to kill us all -- as they have bent over backwards to tell us that they would be proud and happy to sell their miserable lives to do. God forbid we should scratch a single scale on the precious heads of these snakes. How many of us are these people going to be allowed to kill, so that they can have their civil rights ?
The Constitution is in no danger. Congress meets, we have regular elections, and the courts are functioning (all too well sometimes). The fact that Mr. Olbermann can pen his arrant nonsense is proof enough that Americans enjoy plenty of civil liberties. Hopefully not so many that it kills us.

1 comment:

louielouie said...

............from the furthest back rows of attendants in the throneroom comes a disturbance ................ YES!
shouts of YES!
at the conclusion of every sentence excellency utters, a shout of YES! emanates from the back rows.
heads turn from the throne, indeed a no-no, as excellency continues his essay.
YES!
from the back rows louielouie is making an utter frikking fool of himself.
YES!
YES!
excellency continues with his essay, oblivious to the lunacy carried on in his presence.
YES!
YES!
YES!
outbursts such as these are not tolerated. ever. oddly though, louielouie is not being hauled out by his heels ....... as has been the custom in past occurances of this nature.

too bad louielouie can't put sentences together like that.