Sunday, November 20, 2005

Torturing people to death is not a serious way to wage war on terrorism

Bush isn't just trying to protect his power to torture from Congress. Republicans are also trying to remove the extremely limited judicial oversight of the GOP gulags. Julian Sanchez writes:
in the absence of any judicial review, not only will we remain in the dark about how well interrogators are sticking to the rulebook; we also can't know how many of our detainees are hardened al-Qaeda killers and how many are Afghan farmers who'd been conscripted by the Taliban, or targeted at random by bounty hunters eager to reap a reward for catching terrorists, or singled out by informers who happened to be personal or political enemies, or simply caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. We do know that the Guantanamo prison continues to hold detainees who the government itself has determined are innocent—in one case prompting a reviewing judge to complain that the military had waited months before bothering to inform him of that determination. Under the habeas rules approved by the Senate, that judge wouldn't be involved at all. We also know that's not the only time military tribunals have ignored evidence exculpating detainees. But, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is fond of saying, we don't know what we don't know—and we'll know still less if habeas review is choked off. In the absence of oversight, the military will face a powerful temptation to keep ten innocent men secretly incarcerated rather than risk the embarassment of releasing one genuine enemy.
Meanwhile, Republican Congresswoman Jean Schmidt has been accusing Democrat Congressman and ex-Marine John Murtha of cowardice. As Jesus' General says: fly, my pretties!

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