Friday, June 30, 2006

some playground thoughts . . .

I have a playground response to yesterday's Supreme Court decision in Hamdan regarding the use of military tribunals to try detainees in the "war on terror," which I have admittedly not read [relying instead on the Court's syllabus describing the many opinions).

"If you're going to constantly going to rely on the phrase 'the Commander-in-Chief during a time of war,' don't be surprised when the Court tells you "oh, you are subject to the rules of war.

Part of the Court's decision yesterday was to bring in at least some of the "coverage" of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, which creates minimal protections for detainees. Justice Stevens explained that the "law of war" applied.

Don't yell at the New York Times, or anybody, about what it does "during a 'time of war'" and then act surprised when you're told "the rules that apply 'during a time of war' apply, baby!"

I'm also struck by the obvious notion, well, not so obvious to some, that the President is the "Commander-in-Chief" of the Armed Forces during the war, not of the country [in other words, don't read "Commander-in-Chief" as "omnipotent decider"]. That seem kinda obvious, although there's not gonna be a Supreme Court justioce saying that.

My visceral response to GWB and his Admin. always forces me to step back, and take a breath, to make sure I'm not going overboard. And I need to scale back my criticism to make sure I reaffirm my understanding and belief that "foreign policy," and especially the conduct of war, is particularly the province of the President. That makes sense, and is likely necessary -- the winds of war can't tolerate the machinations of a responsive, hot-wired House. Nor are judges in big white buildings particularly equipped to make judgments about events in Afghanistan, for example.

But we do have three co-equal branches of Govt., who must work together, and we can't have a President stretching an authorization to act against the perpetrators of the jet crashes in NY and in Washington, DC into authority to govern by fiat.

thanks to Brennan Linsley Photo


Anonymous Mister Parker said...

I couldn't help note, however, that those strict-constructionist literalists, Scalia, Thomas and Alito, somehow had no trouble believing that our Founding Fathers, fresh off a revolution against what they perceived to be an over-reaching unchecked executive, could somehow write a Constitution leaving the chief executive of our own little democratic experiment completely unfettered by the rule of law.

i swear to God I hear Barry Goldwater tumbling around in his grave.

Friday, June 30, 2006 4:36:00 pm  

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