Democrats seize Gitmo ruling to push for more rights for captured terrorists

It’s becoming impossible to argue that the Democrats even care about national security or the safety of citizens. They’re not simply mistaken or misguided–they just don’t care.

Exhibit A: The Senate just passed the Kennedy amendment to the noxious Bush-McCain-Kennedy immigration bill. That amendment relaxes much of the standards by which immigrants are judged threats or not. It’s a bad amendment to a bad bill, but it passed 63-27. Some Republicans voted for it, but apparently all of the Democrats did.

Exhibit B: The Democrats have seized on the Khadr case, which a military judge tossed this week over a lack of clarity in the law governing how captured terrorists are to be tried in court, to expand the rights of detainees at Gitmo. This move looks like a welfare bill for ACLU lawyers.

A day after two military judges ruled against the Bush administration’s system for trying terrorism detainees, Democrats seized on the rulings on Tuesday as evidence that Congress should restore the right of those held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to challenge their detentions.

Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who is the majority leader, said he would be willing to bring such legislation to the floor. The Senate Judiciary Committee is preparing to approve such a plan on Thursday.

Uh, their “rights?” They’re not US citizens. Not that Reid understands what that means anymore.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the rulings on Monday in two cases added urgency to the push to restore detainees’ right to file habeas corpus suits. Congress eliminated that right last year while redesigning the military tribunals after the Supreme Court struck down the first plan.

Mr. Leahy criticized the administration for insisting on an approach to the tribunals “which even conservative courts say no to.”

Leahy’s assertion is flat-out ridiculous, as Andy McCarthy explains:

Imagine for a moment a statute that said a court could only try cases involving citizens of New York. Let’s say that, to make certain he had jurisdiction over a case, the presiding judge referred the narrow question of the defendant’s New York citizenship to a magistrate, who then made a finding that the defendant “was a U.S. citizen who had lived his entire life in Albany.” What Colonel Brownback has essentially done here is throw out the case because the magistrate didn’t come out and say, “the defendant is a citizen of New York,” even though, if you actually look at what the magistrate did say, it is pluperfectly [sic] obvious that the defendant is a citizen of New York.

That’s really all that happened here. The CSRT found that Khadr was an “enemy combatant” by employing procedures under which such a finding cannot happen unless the person is found to be an unlawful enemy combatant. But because the CSRT procedures don’t require the tribunal to say the magic word “unlawful” — just to find the real-world fact of unlawfulness — Colonel Brownback has found the CSRT wanting.

Exactly. Now, back to the Democrats.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who is a member of the Judiciary Committee, said, “The denial of habeas corpus is a mistake.”…

Ms. Feinstein said there should also be a vote as part of that bill to close the Guantánamo detention center. “After this year, I don’t think Guantánamo makes a great deal of sense, if it ever did at all,” she said.

What would the senator prefer be done with the likes of Khalid Sheik Mohammed? Democrats never get around to answering that question.

Looking at all this action, Curt at Flopping Aces says Gitmo isn’t going anywhere. I’m not so sure. I think the Democrats would free most of the detainees and grant the rest the full rights of US citizens to trial, given the chance. Put a Democrat in the White House in 2008 and they’ll be given that chance.

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