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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

SCOTUS loses its mind; grants Geneva rights to Al Qaida

And I'm royally pissed.

The Supreme Court has voted 5-3 to strike down the President's authority to hold military tribunals for the ~450 enemy combatants currently held at Guantanamo Bay, and further, that they may be eligible for POW status under the Geneva Conventions.

Andy McCarthy predicted it:

For pre-mortem, though, I've been poking around, and it seems like there's a prevailing view that if — as expected — the decision comes out in favor of Hamdan, the theory will be that al Qaeda does have Geneva Convention protections.

Make no mistake: if this happens, the Supreme Court will have dictated that we now have a treaty with al Qaeda — which no President, no Senate, and no vote of the American people would ever countenance. [...] The Constitution consigns treaty-making to the political branches, not the courts, but a conclusion that Geneva protects Hamdan (and, by extension, his fellow savages) would ominously mean that the courts, under the conveniently malleable guise of "customary international law" can rewrite treaties to mean whatever they like them to mean.

Yep. In one fell swoop of the gavel the Court has stolen the hard-earned valor of America's military men and women, who accumulated that honor through years of abiding by the Laws of Land Warfare, and handed it, free of charge, to the butchers among Gitmo's detainees. I'm with milblogger Oak Leaf, who laments, "I wasted 12 months of my life in Afgahnistan for this." Amen. And I wasted 7 months in Iraq.

Apparently all you need do to receive the POW protections guaranteed under the Geneva Conventions, conventions specifically designed to protect civilians, is... target civilians.

Up is down and black is white. Our enemies in this war know the value we in the West place on the lives of non-combatants. That's why they target them. What I don't (can't!) understand is why some here in the West could possibly see value in rewarding their actions. Are we in this to win or not?

UPDATE: Great minds think alike. And sometimes, highly emotional, non-legal minds like mine think like dispassionate, eloquent minds like James Taranto.

My rant over at Lee's joint:

Oh! And a note to all the BDS sufferers who think this was a righteous "rebuke" of the President's "overreach"? The most likely result of this is to throw those 450 men in Gitmo back into legal limbo, while we sort out their status. Way to go! You've condemned hundreds of human souls to months or even years without process just to score a political point against a president you didn't vote for. Congratufuckinglations.

Taranto's assesment:

The chief result of this ruling will be to delay the trials of Guantanamo detainees until Congress or the Pentagon establishes a regime of military commissions that meets the court's approval. For those concerned with the duration of terrorists' captivity--a perverse thing to worry about anyway--there's little to cheer here.

I'm now reading several analyses that say today's ruling rejects POW status for enemy combatants. Which gives me some measure of relief, I don't mind saying. Justice Stevens had senority over this case (Chief Justice Roberts was involed with the case at a lower level and so recused himself) and did not address Geneva status (much) in his written opinion. Which means, as much as Stevens wants to talk about it, if it isn't written down, it holds no weight as precident. I'm no lawyer, but this is what lawyers tell me.

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