7.02.2006

too soon

Question: Why haven't you cheered the recent US Supreme Court decision ruling on the military tribunals at the Guantánamo Bay prison camps?

Answer: Because Gitmo still exists. The prisoners are still there.

Don't get me wrong. It's an important ruling. It's a great ruling. The Supreme Court is finally pushing back the Cheney White House's mad power grab, finally deciding in favour of the Constitution and not some hyperbolic war against imagined enemies. Affirming that there actually aren't two sets of rules, one for the United States and another for everyone else.

Bruce Shapiro, writing for The Nation, says the ruling is to Bush what the Pentagon Papers were to Nixon: "a devastating rebuke to a President who thought he had a blank check; a clear reaffirmation of the rule of law even--or especially--in times of national crisis."

The human rights lawyers who represent the Guantánamo prisoners were thrilled. Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights said, "It doesn't get any better."

The decision also gives us some hope that the junta is not complete. William Kennedy, now the Court's swing vote, swung the right way. Justice John Paul Stevens, is still a beacon at 86 years old.

But meanwhile: they're still in there. The prisoners. Their situation has not changed.

Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive writes:
The question is whether Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld will obey the Court or whether they will directly flout it. This latter course of action is unlikely, though the legal claim the Administration has been asserting — that the judiciary has no authority to interfere with the exercise of the President’s commander in chief powers — suggests that this may have crossed their minds.

More likely, the Administration will drag its feet, as it did after the Rasul decision, the 2004 ruling that allowed Guantánamo detainees to challenge their detention. And Bush will probably look to Republicans in Congress to give him approval for tribunals and more.
I don't put anything past the murderers and thieves who have taken over the US. I can't celebrate until the prison camps are empty.

We have to keep the spotlight on this darkness, all of us, all over the world.

4 comments:

deang said...

I feel the same way. So often in the US, someone imprisoned can be found innocent but still remain locked up for an indefinite amount of time, while guards wreak frustrated vengeance on them for showing them up. In this Guantanamo ruling, I was also disturbed that the vote was rather close, with the most elderly members deciding the outcome. That does not bode well. It is also possible that the administration will merely "extraordinarily render" the prisoners to parts unknown, in the manner of the "disappearances" that the US helped pioneer in Latin America during the 70s and 80s and similar to the common practice of tactical prison transfers within the US. Meanwhile, Bush lies that the imprisoned are dangerous murderers who, if released, would immediately start slaughtering people. This is what many in the US believe is true of anyone imprisoned, so such fear-mongering plays well to Americans. Not much cause for celebration yet.

Lone Primate said...

Hope comes in for me in the fact that one of the things people in the US pride themselves on is playing by the rules. The victory here is that the Court has made this determination, and the lingering doubt in many right-wing minds is now cleared up. They might not like it... they might want even to amend the Constitution... but as it stands, now they now it says what it says, and most will nod to that. Bush's hands are tied, unless he really wants to pull a Lincoln... and to do that, you need a civil war. Ironically, it's the doing that might get him one.

I think it's just a matter of time till the US wakes up from this nightmare.

P.S. I really wish to God they'd formulate a means for us to edit these comments. Flickr does; why doesn't Blogger? :/

L-girl said...

Hope comes in for me in the fact that one of the things people in the US pride themselves on is playing by the rules.

My, you're feeling generous tonight. Aren't Americans the ones suffering from exceptionalism? The "we don't need your stinking rules" mentality?

The victory here is that the Court has made this determination, and the lingering doubt in many right-wing minds is now cleared up.

This is just not so. The rabid right wing disagrees with the ruling, and their main boys on the Court validated that view for them when they dissented from this opinion. If you need proof, check out the reaction on Fox and the right-wing blogs. Liberal activist judges are coddling the terrorists...

I think it's just a matter of time till the US wakes up from this nightmare.

Well, all storms pass eventually. The questions are how long do they last, how much do they destroy, and what does the landscape look like after they've passed through. "Just a matter of time" may be too long.

LP, you're too mellow tonight! :)

James said...

Hope comes in for me in the fact that one of the things people in the US pride themselves on is playing by the rules.

That's one of the things the current administration likes to say it believes in, but this is the same President who, over 750 times, has signed bills into law while adding caveats ("signing statements") that he doesn't have to obey them.

Remember the phrase "activist judges"? That's basically short for "those rules don't apply to us 'cause we don't like them".