by Kagro X
A day after saying that terror suspects had a right to protections under the Geneva Conventions, the Bush administration said Wednesday that it wanted Congress to pass legislation that would limit the rights granted to detainees.
The earlier statement had been widely interpreted as a retreat, but testimony to Congress by administration lawyers on Wednesday made clear that the picture was more complicated.
The administration has now abandoned its four-year-old claim that members of Al Qaeda are not protected under the Geneva Conventions, acknowledging that a Supreme Court ruling two weeks ago established as a matter of law that they are. Still, administration lawyers urged Congress to pass legislation that would narrowly define the rights granted to detainees under a provision of the Geneva Conventions known as Common Article Three, which guarantees legal rights “recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”
How narrowly would those rights be defined? Well, that's the question, isn't it?
But any redefinition of the CA3 rights is probably a violation of the spirit of the Hamdan ruling. But if the spirit of Hamdan was something I ever expected the "administration" to abide by, I wouldn't be arguing for the necessity of impeachment the way I do.
No, the spirit of Hamdan would erase all justification for the NSA spying, but the "administration" has already denied that they believe that's the case.
The spirit of Hamdan would erase all justification for torture, but now the "administration" denies that, as well. Or viewed more "charitably," the "administration" believes our international treaty obligations just require a bit of tinkering.
And of course, the spirit of Hamdan suggests that regularly constituted courts martial are adequately equipped to try detainees. But the "administration," of course, prefers to argue:
that the best way to bring detainees to trial after the court’s ruling would be for Congress to ratify the military commissions the court struck down, with what Daniel J. Dell’Orto, a Pentagon deputy general counsel, described as “minor tweaking.”
A "minor tweaking." Meaning what? Change the color of the jumpsuits and claim "new facts" require a new ruling? Insane, right?
But so's intentionally ignoring the spirit of Hamdan. How much more insane do they have to get before we all understand Jack Balkin clearly when he says:
What the press and the public must understand is that this Administration does not play by the rules. It does not take a hint. Instead it will continue to obfuscate and prevaricate, as it has so often in the past on issues ranging from detention to prisoner mistreatment. This Administration will not conform its actions to the Rule of Law unless it finds doing so politically infeasible. As a result, the Congress, the courts, the press and the public will have to object-- repeatedly and strenuously-- if they want the Executive to abide by its constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
This "administration" has no intention of interpreting Hamdan outside its four corners, something I've said over and over, while the great bulk of blogosphere punditry has tried to agree with, but temper, based on a tradition of reasonableness that this "administration" has never given any indication it respected in the least.