2006/06/29

Hip-hip-hooray for Supreme Court!!

Good for the decision of the Supreme Court to slap down the illegitimate treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay!

To clarify what the choice in Guantanamo Bay was, talk show host Bill O'Reilly delivered his opinion of the matter:

During the "Talking Points Memo" segment (12 June 06) opening the program, O'Reilly asserted: "The Guantánamo controversy is easy to define. The Bush administration sees the 460 detainees as prisoners of war. The liberal press and some human-rights groups believe they are criminals entitled to due process."

This is incorrect. The choice facing the Bush Administration was never between treating the Guantanamo detainees as prisoners-of-war versus treating them as ordinary criminal suspects. The choice was between treating them as belonging to either category versus using a third, wholly made-up-on-the-spot category that had no meaning in either domestic or international law. "Unlawful" or "enemy" combatant has no legal meaning either nationally or internationally as it was invented by the Bush Administration and has never been defined by the passage of a law or backed up by any judicial decisions.

What the Supreme Court has done has been to return the Guantanamo detainees to a place where the rule of law has some relevance. Unfortunately, as Atrios points out, the story isn't over yet and we'll see what the Bush Administration does in response.

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