Two days ago, Judge Ricardo Urbina demanded that the Bush administration produce seventeen Chinese Uighers captured in terrorist training camps seven years in his courtroom on Friday, announcing his intention to release them in Washington DC. Urbina then refused to offer a stay for the purposes of an appeal and warned the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau not to enforce immigration law by blocking suspected terrorists from entering the country. Fortunately, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency injunction blocking Urbina’s decision to import terrorits into the nation’s capital:
A group of Chinese Muslims set to be freed into the U.S. this week from Guantanamo Bay found their freedom stymied yet again after a simple government plea: What’s a couple more weeks or so in jail after nearly seven years?
That in essence was the Bush administration’s argument to a federal appeals court in a 19-page emergency request that maintained there would be only “minimal harms” if the detainees were to stay at Guantanamo a while longer.
Late Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed, halting the 17 men’s release for at least another week to give the government more time to make arguments in the case.
The appeals court set a deadline of next Thursday for additional filings, when it will be left up to the judges to decide how quickly to act — and in whose favor.
Let’s recap the situation. Our armed forces capture seventeen Uighers in terrorist training camps far from home in Afghanistan. They have received training in al-Qaeda tactics — exactly the kind of people we want to keep out of our country while AQ wages war on the West. We’d like to get them out of Gitmo after having derived what intelligence we can from them, but no one seems terribly interested in taking al-Qaeda terrorists into their countr, either. The Chinese want them, but we’re afraid the terrorists will be mistreated by Beijing, which is suppressing a Uigher insurgency at the moment.
What solution does our brilliant judiciary reach? Let them live in the nation’s capital, the very place al-Qaeda trains its recruits to destroy! What a great idea!
The 4th Circuit has given the Bush administration another week to make its arguments to the entire 19-judge panel. Hopefully, the majority of them show a little more sense than Urbina did, but I’m not entirely optimistic. The appellate courts have shown a desire to run this war as a collective commander-in-chief rather than to follow the laws passed by Congress in dealing with unlawful combatants, who are supposed to have less protection than POWs, not more.
Send them back to the Chinese. They want these detainees returned to them. Sign a compact that promises no torture, declare it sufficient, and put them on a plane to Beijing. Problem solved.