17 June 2008

The Butter-Cutter On Habeas Corpus

On reaching the virtual chow line, I called out to The Butter-Cutter, “Have you heard? Last week the Supreme Court granted habeas corpus rights to the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.”*

“What the f*** are . . . hebegebe rights?” he asked.

“Habeas corpus rights,” I corrected. “It means that those held at Guantanamo can now appeal their designations of, 'Enemy Combatants' to a federal judge, and if he is not satisfied with the rationale for labeling them 'Enemy Combatants,' the judge can order their release,” I explained. 

“Release ta where?” The Butter-Cutter wanted to know.

“Freedom. They can go wherever they want to go.”

With a frown on his face The Butter-Cutter volunteered, “If I remember right, some 30 Gitmo maggots went back ta trying ta kill our guys after they were released from there. Is that about right?”

“In more delicate terms, the four dissenting justices used that example to argue against the five-justice majority's opinion to grant habeas corpus,” I explained. “Also, Justice Scalia wrote for the minority about the effect of this opinion, saying, 'It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.' “

“Almost? Shit! It WILL cause more of us ta get killed. Whose side are them Supremes on anyhow? And, why are they stickin' their legal beagle noses inta this business? Didn't the Congress come up with some sort o' court er whatever fer givin' out these labels of Enemy Combatant?” he asked.

“Yes, again. Congress enacted legislation establishing, 'Combatant Status Review Tribunals' to decide detainee statuswithout federal review. The Supreme Court shot that down because they believe these detainees were guaranteed the right to argue their status before a federal judge by the U.S. Constitution.”

“These are foreigners not Americans! Where does it say that foreigners have rights under our Constitution?” he asked. 

“Interestingly, although the Court said that the doctrine of habeas corpus was enshrined in the Constitution, it admitted that it could not cite a single case where an American court--or even an English court for that matter--had used such an argument involving aliens held overseas,” I said. 

“So, the power grabbin' liberal Supremes trumped the Congress by making-up the law ta let the foreigner PWs out o' jail!”

“PWs have historically been kept in confinement until the end of hostilities. However, the Guantanamo detainees are not PWs as defined by the Geneva Convention and that's part of the problem. They . . .”

“This whole freakin' thing stinks, stinks, STINKS the more ya tell me about it!” The Butter-Cutter shouted in cutting me off. “We have ta use the Geneva Convention when we interrogate these maggots but we can't use it ta keep 'em off the battlefield. This is more of that aceymetrectal warfare shit--we got the weapons, they got the rights, 'n' everybody sticks it up our RECTAL!” he said in an ever-rising voice.

“The term is, 'asymmetrical warfare' and you're exaggerating the import of all this,” I said.

“Bull Shit! We fight 'em losin' buddies in the process. They go ta jail. They get outta jail. We fight 'em again losin' more buddies in the process. No, the solution is: DON'T TAKE PRISONERS! SHOOT THESE SONS O' BITCHES THE FIRST TIME AROUND!”

“Don't be foolish!” I shot back. “YOU violate the Rules of Engagement and YOU go to jail!”

“What? The Spear-Chuckers send us ta war with a mouse gun; the Supremes say that our Constitution protects them that want ta kill us; 'n', YOU say obey the rules! Well, I say: we have only each other ta depend on; 'n', the only rule that makes sense is for us ta do whatever is necessary ta get each other back ta the real world ALIVE!”

Semper Doing Whatever Is Necessary,

Anthony F. Milavic

   Major USMC (Ret.)   

* BOUMEDIENE ET AL. v. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL. No. 06-1195. Argued December 5, 2007-Decided June 12, 2008. http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/07slipopinion.html