A week ago U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released after five years of captivity by the Taliban. Since then you’d have to be a cave dweller to have missed … Continue reading Bashing the Bergdahls
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is lucky there’s a Democrat in the White House because by now Republicans probably would have declared him an enemy combatant and whisked him off to a secret … Continue reading Tsarnaev to be tried in US criminal court system
Imagine you are at the mall one day and suddenly you are surrounded by a bunch of strangers, arrested, and taken to jail. Then you are transferred to prison and … Continue reading So the terrorists don’t have to
George Bush did a lot of things that upset a lot of people. One of them was authorizing the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists in Guantánamo prison, where he hoped they’d be beyond the reach of the U.S. legal system.
The very idea reeked of arrogant American imperialism run amok. Because we were Americans, we could snatch anyone from anywhere at anytime, arbitrarily label them terrorist suspects or enemy combatants, and toss them into Gitmo without further hearings, charges, or proof. Because we were aggrieved Americans, we had the right to flout any law on the face of the planet and hold these people indefinitely because they might pose a threat to us — a policy known as preventive detention.
During his campaign, Obama promised to end the abuses at Gitmo and close the place. And he’s been backing away from that promise ever since.
Now he’s even gone so far as to suggest preventive detention may continue and he will “reshape” our legal standards to ensure we have in place a “legitimate legal framework” and an “appropriate legal regime” for doing it. Scary, that — overhauling our current legal system to allow us to incarcerate people indefinitely just because we think they might act against us in the future.
Do we really want to go there?