George W. Bush | News | Republican Party

With Stroke of the Pen, Bush Kills Habeas Corpus

Crooks & Liars has a wrap-up from Keith Olbermann on Bush's latest shameful signature, the Military Commissions Act of 2006:

Bush_bill"Today, 135 years to the day after the last American President (Ulysses S. Grant) suspended habeas corpus, President Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006. At its worst, the legislation allows President Bush or Donald Rumsfeld to declare anyone — US citizen or not — an enemy combatant, lock them up and throw away the key without a chance to prove their innocence in a court of law. In other words, every thing the Founding Fathers fought the British empire to free themselves of was reversed and nullified with the stroke of a pen, all under the guise of the War on Terror."

Jonathan Turley, Professor of Constitutional Laws at George Washington University, lays it all out: "The Congress just gave the President despotic powers and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to Dancing With the Stars."

Battle brewing:

Bush: "One of the most important pieces of legislation in the war on terror."
ACLU: "One of the worst civil liberties measures ever enacted in American history."

(via virtual matter, video via wonkette)

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  1. Hypothetically speaking, an Iraqi civilian, no different than any American civilian, has part of, or all, of their family bombed or slaughtered or kidnapped or murdered. Can they be blamed for any rage which might motivate them to strap on an explosive device and blow themselves up within range of an American military patrol? Should that person be expected to continue supporting his glorious invaders and their dreams of an Iraqi democracy?
    Consider that since Bush's invasion, an estimated 655,000 Iraqis have lost their lives and are 58 times more likely to die a violent death than before Bush invaded. How could this possibly be making America any safer? Bush's America is creating an entire nation of terrorists and, unbelievably, they are completely unable to see this. The impact of Bush's involvment in Iraq will be devastating to what world peace there could ever have been in our future.
    For those Americans who steadfastly follow the Republican propoganda machine, how can you not see this? How can you deny the possbility that these numbers might be true? When do you see a so called "victory" in the so called "war on terror" occuring? Bush's policies have set the stage for generations of terrorists to come. I feel far less safe than I ever have.
    The problem in America is not with phantom terrorists conjured up by Karl Rove and Donald Rumsfeld, but rather, with the ignorance and political dogma that Republican faithfuls practice without compromise or consideration that their leaders may, in fact, be wrong. The problem with fighting a "war on terror" is that by killing innocent, ordinary people, you only motivate their surviving family members to want to kill you. Invade any country, not just an Islamic one, and you're going to experience the same outcome.

    Posted by: D. R. H. | Oct 18, 2006 8:52:26 PM

  2. This all started with the Civil War when the constitutional right of states to seceed was superceded by the Federal Government's imperialistic desires.The Founding Fathers rolled over in their graves at that instance and they have been doing the rock and roll in their coffins ever since. Bush is not doing anything which Abraham Lincoln, the hero for most Americans, did when he suspended the right of Habeas Corpus for the sake of "The Union". President's like to keep us at war, because they are able to assume greater power than in peacetime. Both Democratic and Republican parties have played along with this tendency. That is why I waste my vote and vote Libertarian when I can, just to ease my conscience.

    Posted by: John | Oct 18, 2006 9:06:53 PM

  3. very cool article at a political blog about how out of control the anti-gay environment is under the bush administration... a must read

    Posted by: eduardo | Oct 19, 2006 12:57:36 AM

  4. Obviously this will be an unpopular opinion, but I for one say good riddance to these terrorist assholes.

    They absolutely do not deserve the full protection of the U.S. legal system. The vast majority of the nice fellows in custody were caught on the battlefield in Afghanistan and would kill you or me given the first opportunity (most likely with glee given their deep affinity for us "gays"). The only reason they weren't blasted to visit their 72 skanky virgins during battle is that they might have proferred up some useful information about their infidel-hating buddies. After they've yielded up everything they're going to yield up, I frankly don't care what happens to them. And no, this law will have absolutely no effect on my civil liberties whatsoever.

    The alternative, giving these douchebags full access to publicity- and money-hungry defense attornies such as Lynne Stewart, endless appeals, access to classified information and using our courtrooms as pulpits for their bullshit jihad diatribes just ain't gonna happen. Rarely, but fortunately, the Republicans sometimes get something right.

    Posted by: FuckJihadis | Oct 19, 2006 1:59:18 AM

  5. Is Olbermann correct?

    The suspension of Habeus Corpus in the Act does not appear to apply to US citizens. Read here:

    "No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination."

    Note words: " alien..."

    So, all this talk of Bush being able to point at people on the street, "US citizen or not," arrest them, then deny them Habeus is a bunch of hysterical hyberbole, it would seem. Or am I missing something?

    Posted by: Pompeius | Oct 19, 2006 4:42:25 AM

  6. Well I certainly could not agree more with Fuckjihadis and Popeius!!! And I can assure you one thing; George W. Bush is far less a threat to gays than the fundamentalist muslims of the middle east!!! At least here if you are "caught" being gay you are not hung by YOUR GOVERNMENT! Again, W does NOT care that you are gay. He may not want to give us equal marriage rights, which I do not agree with, but he does not care none the less.

    In regards to D.R.H., lets talk about "propoganda". You certainly have passion in your words, but lack concrete facts. The last time I checked, U.S. citizens were not being "hunted down" and killed by their government the way Saddam did. He systematically tried to remove an entire group of people from his population!

    "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two Kurdish witnesses at Saddam Hussein's genocide trial gave harrowing accounts yesterday of surviving killing fields where guards executed hundreds of detainees at a time in sprays of gunfire.

    One said he fell wounded into a ditch full of bodies. He said he climbed out and ran for his life past mounds in the desert, the mass graves of other victims in a 1987-88 military offensive against Iraq's Kurds."

    Does anyone remember this happening in our history? Try Hitler!!! Many people in European countries thought he was a "good guy" in the beginning too!!! History will prove that Saddam was right there with Hitler and we did the right thing.

    I think we really need to look at reality here. These people want us dead for being American let alone GAY! They are NOT U.S. citizens and are not entitled to habeus corpus!

    Posted by: RB | Oct 19, 2006 5:28:47 AM

  7. The problem with all you Dem's is that you feel that everyone has to live in your world. Fortunately, you are living in ours.

    Posted by: Richard | Oct 19, 2006 7:26:27 AM

  8. O rly

    Posted by: anon | Oct 19, 2006 9:06:40 AM

  9. Issue 1: Everyone who disagrees with Bush is not a Democrat. There are other political parties as well as Independent. Get a clue.

    Issue 2: The suspension of Habeus applies to ANYONE determined by Bush to be an enemy combatant. There is NO distiguishing between US or non-US persons.

    Posted by: dc-20008 | Oct 19, 2006 9:30:18 AM

  10. (sorry hit submit too soon)
    Issue 3: This law does not go away at the end of Bush's presidency. All presidents from here forward can use it--for good or ill.

    Those who say terrorists don't deserve Habeus--fine--I agree. But if one man can decide what or who is a terrorist, that is terrifying AND un-American.

    I for one will not give up MY civil rights to Bush or any other president.

    Posted by: dc-20008 | Oct 19, 2006 9:43:21 AM

  11. Thanks RB, you're absolutely correct. Saddam Hussein was undoubtedly an evil, cold-blooded murderer and the world will be the better for his removal. The problem with your point having any relevance is that Saddam had been so for decades, and, despite this fact, the U.S. government saw no problem with it until Bush came along. Ronald Reagan even leant his support in the form of money and weapons when American oil interests became threatened by the new Iranian fundamentalist government.
    Coincidentally, the U.S. also gave support to another tyrant, he was fighting with the mujahadeen in Afghanistan when the Russians were trying to invade that country; one who seems to have been forgotten by Bush and Friends; one who ultimately is the cause of all our fighting. Remember Osama? Oh yeah, that guy. Isn't it funny how old friends can become new enemies?

    Posted by: D. R. H. | Oct 19, 2006 10:29:03 AM

  12. DC-20008, what is the source for your assertion that the Habeus provision of the law applies to citizens, in light of my quote of it above, which clearly states it can only apply to "an alien" enemy combatant?

    Posted by: Pompeius | Oct 19, 2006 12:54:23 PM

  13. Read Andrew Sullivan's blog. Also, per the quote at the top of this Blog item. Also the ACLU. Everyone is saying it.

    Your quote above pertains specifically to rights of aliens. Not to US citizens.

    What Bush has done is get Congress to give him authority to do exactly what he did to Jose Padilla--a US citizen. Locked up and tossed the key and removed all judicial recourse.

    Posted by: dc-20008 | Oct 19, 2006 1:18:06 PM

  14. DC-2008: as much as I hate to admit it (being a total Bush-hater), the new law does not include citizens in the group for whom the writ of habeus corpus may be denied. The problem is that the Constitution does not limit the applicability of the habeus corpus provisions. President Bush and his cronies will, I'm sure, find an excuse to apply the law to citizens as well as to "aliens." Incidentally, I think the first application will be to naturalized Americans, claiming that they came to this country and are, therefore, "aliens."

    Posted by: JT | Oct 19, 2006 1:29:54 PM

  15. "Everyone is saying it."

    Well, as my mother always said to me, "just because everyone is running over a cliff, doesn't mean you have to as well." :)

    Sullivan and Olbermann are not really authoritative sources. They are bloggers/journalists who may very well have made a factual mistake in forming their opinions. And thats what I'm wondering about...did they goof? A plain reading of the statute indicates they did indeed goof. And badly!

    However, if they are I right and I am wrong...I'd like to see the part of the statute that indicates so. I can find no such part. Again, thats why I'm asking.

    Posted by: Pompeius | Oct 19, 2006 1:35:25 PM

  16. JT, actually, the law defines whan an "alien" is explicitely as "a person who is not a citizen of the United States" [Sec.948a (3)]. So, there does not appear to be a way for the Bush administration to weasel around it like you suggest.

    Posted by: Pompeius | Oct 19, 2006 1:48:43 PM

  17. Pompeius: Thank you! I seriously mistrust him so much that I'm probably getting paranoid. You're sure?

    Posted by: JT | Oct 19, 2006 2:15:16 PM

  18. I believe the problem with the law is that while aliens get no HC review, citizens get only a very limited review, where the evidence presented to the judge is strictly the opinion of the president and his agents. It's sort of a "you gotta trust us on this" kind of review.

    Posted by: Anon | Oct 19, 2006 2:30:55 PM

  19. Yep, pretty sure:

    Posted by: Pompeius | Oct 19, 2006 2:39:39 PM

  20. exactly.

    and any president after George...

    Posted by: dc-20008 | Oct 19, 2006 2:41:19 PM

  21. Anon, can you direct us to a source on that?

    Posted by: Pompeius | Oct 19, 2006 2:41:49 PM

  22. OK, but can I still hate him?

    Posted by: JT | Oct 19, 2006 3:24:08 PM

  23. with any luck this law will get struck down.

    Posted by: Karim | Oct 19, 2006 4:39:16 PM

  24. I have no issue at all with the torture of a terrorist. In fact just shoot them because I really don't want my tax money spend on feeding them.

    Posted by: Richard | Oct 19, 2006 8:12:16 PM

  25. Thank God America voted to keep America safe by electing George W. Bush. I can only imagine the coddling these terrorists would have received from a John Kerry administration. The Clinton Administration practically sent out engraved invitations inviting terrorists to kill Americans (Remember the USS Cole!) Somebody ought to kick Madeline Albright's ass. Habeas Corpus? Boo frickin' hoo.

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | Oct 21, 2006 8:07:26 AM

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