In light of it being Veteran’s Day (see below), is there some mad karmic coincidence that the United States Senate has voted to deny habeas corpus, the basic right of American justice, to prisoners at Gitmo?
The Senate voted Thursday to strip captured “enemy combatants” at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, of the principal legal tool given to them last year by the Supreme Court when it allowed them to challenge their detentions in United States courts.
The vote, 49 to 42, on an amendment to a military budget bill by Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, comes at a time of intense debate over the government’s treatment of prisoners in American custody worldwide, and just days after the Senate passed a measure by Senator John McCain banning abusive treatment of them.
If approved in its current form by both the Senate and the House, which has not yet considered the measure but where passage is considered likely, the law would nullify a June 2004 Supreme Court opinion that detainees at Guantánamo Bay had a right to challenge their detentions in court.
I guess we’re exporting so much freedom and democracy to places like Iraq and Afghanistan that we have to give up some of it here, and it kind of makes you wonder what the hell we’re fighting for over there.