Thursday, January 18, 2007

Just to pretend to be current

and to keep up the new trend of starting my post titles with "Just"....

AG Gonzales, currently testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, just told the Senators that "illegal enemy combatants" don't play by the rules (!) and therefore don't deserve any legal protections, but the US, out of its magnanimity, gives them legal rights anyway, such as a status review hearing in Gitmo. And, one presumes, medical treatment and feeding tubes if they refuse to eat after being found to be a person who's status relegates them to endless imprisonment in Gitmo.

But I digresss....

What this really left me wondering about, was why we don't apply the clear intent of AG Gonzales's statement to criminals in the US. After all, criminals don't "play by the rules" either; otherwise, they wouldn't be criminals. They don't wear uniforms, swear fealty to a recognized national power, or bear arms in a validly established army. Why do we give them any rights, either? Why don't we just lock them up and throw away the key?

That seems a logical conclusion to the AG's argument. I mean, by his reasoning, we'd be magnanimous just locking up criminals in warehouse prisons, rather than shooting them on sight. Actually giving them trials, or even the right to challenge their imprisonment, as he said, puts us at a disadvantage. "We" play by the rules, "they" don't? What are we, nuts?

UPDATE: in the same hearing, Sen. Leahy brought up the Arar case (the Canadian citizen who was detained here and sent to Syria), and when Gonzalzes refused to say explain why Arar was sent to Syria (or, indeed, to say anything about the case in this hearing), Leahy responded (and I attempt to quote): "We knew damned well that he wouldn't be tortured in Canada! We knew damned well he would be tortured in Syria!" Leahy went on to describe it as a black mark on the US. and to point out we had sent many people overseas to be tortured in the past 5 years. Gonzales didn't venture a challenge to any of those statements.

Hopefully this will appear on the news bites tonight.

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