If you doubt my Cheney-centric view of Bush scandals, read this account from today’s WaPo article that I referenced below.
For months, Olson and his Justice Department colleagues had pleaded for modest shifts that would shore up the government’s position. Hamdi, the American, had languished in a Navy brig without a hearing or a lawyer for two and a half years. Shafiq Rasul, a British citizen at Guantanamo Bay, had been held even longer. Olson could make Cheney’s argument that courts had no jurisdiction, but he wanted to “show them that you at least have some system of due process in place” to ensure against wrongful detention, according to a senior Justice Department official who closely followed the debates.
The vice president’s counsel fought and won again. He argued that any declaration of binding rules would restrict the freedom of future presidents and open the door to further lawsuits. On June 28, 2004, the Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in the Hamdi case that detainees must have a lawyer and an opportunity to challenge their status as enemy combatants before a “neutral decision maker.” The Rasul decision, the same day, held 6 to 3 that Guantanamo Bay is not beyond the reach of federal law.
The veep quite literally believes that the Executive branch can imprison any American, torture him and never answer about it to any court. You or anybody you know could find yourself naked in a cell one day and never see a lawyer or contact family. They could hold you until you die. Assuming that a Cheney-approved “review” process resembles Guantanamo, which seems if anything optimistic, prisoners could face a presumption of guilt, no access to their defense counsel and no right to review the evidence against them. Cases that the accusers lose can just be re-tried again and again until the government gets the result that it wants. Defense counsels who take their job too seriously would get punished as an example to others.
The whole premise would sound laughable, like some Kafka parody, if it was not happening today on American soil. The upshot of the Cheney-approved review process is that you don’t need any link to terrorism to find yourself locked up forever. Just the accusation, flimsily supported in a sealed brief, is more than enough.
It would really make my day if those few Bush fans who still back this drifting derelict of an administration would grow some balls and be honest about what they are defending.