Cloture to end debate on legislation to grant habeas corpus to "enemy combatants" was blocked today:
Last year, Congress passed and President Bush signed an act eliminating the right of habeas corpus for non-Americans who are labeled “enemy combatants” in the continuing campaign against terrorism.I am not a global citizen, but I do believe in unalienable rights, rights every person is born with. I also believe when engaged in war, rights are quite trivial.
Most immediately, the 2006 act affected hundreds of prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba who the authorities say are Al Qaeda or Taliban militants. More broadly, the act has stoked the ongoing debate over the proper balance between national security and personal liberty in an era of terrorist threats.
I could care less about enemies' right to petition our government after they were picked up on the battlefield. After all, this denial of habeas corpus applies to only foreign non-citizens labeled 'enemy combatants'. But the fact that we pluck these combatants from 'battlefields' including urban areas, means we will inevitably deny habeas corpus to an innocent bystander caught in a battle who then was wrongfully labeled an enemy. I think we already have. But that doesn't mean we should commit the obviously counterintuitive measure of allowing every single Guantanamo inmate the right of habeas corpus.
I guess I'm just on the fence on this one. I understand and am sympathetic to both sides of the argument. I guess it comes down to how you look at it: protecting Americans, or the American way.