Democrats & Liberals Archives

Hamdi, Padilla and You

President Bush labeled Hamdi and Padilla “enemy combatants” and had them “detained” without access to any judicial process. Although Hamdi and Padilla eventually received some semblance of due process, the administration remains against justice for those Bush labels “enemy combatants.” Today it’s Hamdi and Padilla. Tomorrow it may be YOU who is labeled an “enemy combatant” and deprived of all your civil rights. All it takes is for Bush to pronounce you an “enemy combatant” because he dislikes your position on the war or detests you as a liberal (traitor), an atheist (infidel), or even a Republican dissenter.

Hamdi

Yaser Esam Handi was born in Louisiana. He is an American citizen. In the fall of 2001, he was arrested in Afghanistan and accused of fighting for the Taliban against the U.S. So he was declared an "enemy combatant" and detained in a military prison in Virginia. A petition of habeas corpus was filed in an attempt to make Hamdi's detention unconstitutional. The district court ruled for Hamdi, telling the government to release him. On appeal, a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals panel reversed the decision. It then went to the Supreme Court.

On June 2004 the Supreme Court "vacated the judgment and the case was remanded."

You might say that justice was done. What was the government's response? On September 24, 2004, nearly 3 years after his capture, the government decided to release Hamdi and deport him to Saudi Arabia where he will renounce any claim to American citizenship.

What a terrorist! The government let him go to Saudi Arabia! Why were we keeping this "nobody" incommunicado for 3 years as an "enemy combatant"?

This is American justice?

Padilla

Jose Padilla was born in Puerto Rico, which makes him a citizen. After traveling to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, Jose Padilla was arrested upon his return to U.S. on May 8, 2002. He was accused of being a nuclear terrorist planning to set off a dirty bomb. Padilla was declared an "enemy combatant" and detained without charges in a brig in South Carolina. He was there without justice for more than 3 years.

On September 9, 2005, conservative judge J. Michael Luttig wrote an opinion that President Bush does indeed have the authority to detain Padilla without charges. Sounds good for Bush. Bush, however, did not think so.

To prevent the case from reaching the Supreme Court, on November 22, 2005, the government finally indicted Padilla. There was no mention in the indictment about dirty bombs or Al Qaeda or that Padilla planned to attack the U.S. The charges stated vaguely that he "conspired to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas."

Evidently, Bush is afraid of the Supreme Court. He should be. According to our Constitution, no one should be named anything unless there is first a judicial process to produce an accurate name. How do we know the captured person is a terrorist? We do not - until we establish it in a court of law.

YOU

Bush believes in 2 parallel systems of justice. He wants one system of justice (you're guilty because I say so) for those he labels "enemy combatants" and another system of justice (you're innocent until proven guilty) for everyone else. This is dangerous. It is a recipe for disaster - for YOU!

You may think none of this should bother you. You are a citizen and have all the rights of citizenship. So did Hamdi and Padilla. You are not a terrorist. I don't know, but would Bush let Hamdi and Padilla go if they were terrorists; probably not.

Of course, Hamdi and Padilla had Arab names. Does that mean you are safe if you have a different kind of name? NO. You think you are safe because you are law abiding? NO. Maybe somebody may get suspicious of you because you look different, read certain books or they just don't like you. Maybe suspicion could arise because you are a liberal, a democrat, an atheist. Or perhaps you are against the war or hate Bush or are a Republican that does not always stick to the party line. Or maybe you express your thoughts too well as a blogger.

Who knows what may trigger it? The point is that the system is arbitrary. Bush is the accuser, the jury and the judge. We need one system of justice for everyone, so we know who is guilty and who is not.

Here's what the Supreme Court said in the 1866 landmark case, Exparte Milligan:

"No graver question was ever considered in this court, nor one which more nearly concerns the rights of the whole people; for it is the birthright of every American citizen when charged with crime, to be tried and punished according to law... The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances."

"Equally in war and peace." We do not need a new system because we are at war. As Senator Russ Feingold says:

"It is crucial that civil liberties in this country be preserved. Otherwise I'm afraid terror will win this battle without firing a shot."

What happened to Hamdi and Padilla may happen to YOU. Let's modify the Patriot Act so that it does not.

Posted by Paul Siegel at December 27, 2005 2:44 PM
Comments
Comment #108095

That you think “Jose Padilla” sounds like an Arab name is the least of your post’s problems.

What happened to Hamdi and Padilla may happen to YOU. Let’s modify the Patriot Act so that it does not.

How does the Patriot Act relate in any way whatosever to what happened to Hamdi and Padilla? A
nd why should anybody who hasn’t trained in an Al Qaida camp in Afghanistan think that any of this might apply to them?

This is yet another case of a liberal who by all apperances has no idea what the Patriot Act does but wants to change it anyway.

Posted by: sanger at December 27, 2005 3:36 PM
Comment #108101

And why should anybody who hasn’t trained in an Al Qaida camp in Afghanistan think that any of this might apply to them?
==========================sanger,

Do you really believe the “If you’re innocent then you have nothing to worry about” argument? Do you really think it is anything more than BS? If so, try driving while black in Orange County.

Posted by: Dave at December 27, 2005 3:46 PM
Comment #108102

Hmmm, my friend lives in Orange County and is black, he doesn’t have any troubles driving around…

Do you have anything to back up your claim of racism other than fearmongering and hatred? Or just using those emotional subjects to attempt to score political points without actually addressing the subject?

And you wonder what the real problem with race is in this country, you’ve just displayed it.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 27, 2005 3:51 PM
Comment #108106

oh, and no, I don’t think that you should not worry if you aren’t guilty of something, our government is currently a tyrannical one, but that’s why we need to remove the power that it has over us, not keep fighting between ourselves while more and more rights are taken away.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 27, 2005 3:52 PM
Comment #108107

You know, I don’t really buy into the whole scare tactics of “YOU might next!!!” coming from the left. Just like I didn’t buy the scare tactics of the right saying, “Smoking gun coming under a mushroom cloud!!!”

To me it’s the morality at the essence of the issue. We should do better. We are not a democracy that slips into kingships during times of threats. We are democracy. Ergo we should do better for our citizens, we should be the bastion of freedom and liberty that we once were.

That being said, we still need to be able to fight terrorism in all it’s forms. Where I differ from the right wing is that I believe that we should fight terrorism within the boundaries of our laws, and if our laws are not enough then pass a bill to change them. Everything done should be legal and transparently so. Again I’m sure we’ll hear about who the terrorists are, and the tactics they use, but as McCain once said, “It’s not about who they are. It’s about who we are.”

Posted by: chantico at December 27, 2005 3:53 PM
Comment #108110

Dave, nobody has made “the innocent then you have nothing to worry about” argument. Civil rights should and must protected. But what we’re really seeing here is the left making an “if you’re guilty, you SHOULD have nothing to worry about” argument.

Make no mistake about it. The left is not attempting to protect our civil rights here. And why should we trust them, of all people, to assume that role? Why should we trust for a second a political movement which has dedicated itself for decades now to stripping the heart out of the first amendment (speech codes, “hate-crimes” legislation), the second amendment, the right to be hired and fired without regard to race, property rights, the rights of association, and pretty much the rest of the rights supposedly guaranteed by the Consitution too?

No, the left is not interested in protecting our rights. They’re simply bitter, and will even side with the right of Al Qaida to operate freely within American borders to express that bitterensses.

Posted by: sanger at December 27, 2005 3:58 PM
Comment #108115

Hmmm, my friend lives in Orange County and is black, he doesn’t have any troubles driving around…
Do you have anything to back up your claim of racism other than fearmongering and hatred? Or just using those emotional subjects to attempt to score political points without actually addressing the subject?
And you wonder what the real problem with race is in this country, you’ve just displayed it.
Posted by: Rhinehold at December 27, 2005 03:51 PM
===============================================
I really do love those “I have a friend…” comments and your rapid descent into baseless insult. I used to think you had something to say but your post says alot about the superficial nature of your “tolerance”.


You know, I don’t really buy into the whole scare tactics of … We are not a democracy that slips into kingships during times of threats. We are democracy… I believe that we should fight terrorism within the boundaries of our laws.. “It’s not about who they are. It’s about who we are.”
Posted by chantico at December 27, 2005 03:53 PM
===============================================
Maybe some see it as a “scare tactic” but I think the “you’re next” is a valid warning. As you’ve pointed out, Bush is going outside the law, where’s the line where he’ll stop? History says that once this ball starts to roll, it’s hard to stop.

Posted by: Dave at December 27, 2005 4:02 PM
Comment #108119

Sorry sanger,
(A) They were never convicted in a court nor were they willingly given legal representation by BushCO.
(B) Liberals want to eliminate the bill of rights? Well, maybe you’re just kidding on that one.
(C) Side with Al Queda to operate freely? Because normal people still think “innocent before hung” should be the way to go?
BTW: Nice Coulterisms in your post. Really brings it up a notch…

Posted by: Dave at December 27, 2005 4:06 PM
Comment #108120

chantico,
Actually we are not a Democracy. We are a Republic.
There is a great difference between the two.
Linda H.

Posted by: Linda H. at December 27, 2005 4:07 PM
Comment #108132

“chantico,
Actually we are not a Democracy. We are a Republic.
There is a great difference between the two.
Linda H.”

Right you are. Touche!

Posted by: chantico at December 27, 2005 4:26 PM
Comment #108135

you do not mention anything about an athiest being wrongly imprisoned, so why do you mention them. This concerns me very much because i am an athiest, so would you please explain why i should be put in prison. Isn’t it enough punishment that people hate me for using the phrase ‘happy holidays’.

Posted by: ? at December 27, 2005 4:28 PM
Comment #108149

….again. There was plenty of information before 9/11. What was lacking was competence. The appalling lack of competence in the war effort indicates the problem continues.
There is a connection between intelligence and competence. Americans know that. That is why we elected Al Gore in 2000.

Posted by: Bill at December 27, 2005 4:56 PM
Comment #108158

Sanger:

I admit that Padilla is not an Arab name. As I said, you do not need to be Arab to be unfairly
accused.

It’s true that the Patriot Act does not speak specifically about “enemy combatants.” However, Tom Oliphant, a Globe Columnist, writes how the Padilla case shows the need for change in the Patriot Act:

“THE GOVERNMENT’S 11th-hour decision to dump the ridiculous case of accused ”dirty bomber” Jose Padilla on the criminal court to which it should have been referred nearly four years ago is Exhibit A against the Patriot Act as currently written.”

Read the whole thing.

What I said has nothing to do with being on the left or on the right. Your civil liberties are being endangered. Even Bob Barr, a man on the right if there ever was one, says that the Patriot Act goes too far and should be modified.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at December 27, 2005 5:11 PM
Comment #108176

Bill,

It’s really time to move on.

Posted by: Pill at December 27, 2005 5:43 PM
Comment #108208

Paul, the debate over the Patriot Act is something completey different from the debate over the treatment of enemy combatants.

The Oliphant column you link to demonstrates the same muddled thinking. How can he say that the Padilla case is “Exhibit A” against the Patriot Act when Padilla’s detention had nothing to do with the Patriot Act?

Unfortunately, “the Patriot Act” seems to have become, without reference to what it actually contains, a catch-all phrase for all anti-terrorism measures. But this isn’t just partisan spin. The Patriot Act really has nothing to do with enemy detention.

Posted by: sanger at December 27, 2005 9:03 PM
Comment #108213

Also, your whole line of argument here is very misleading.

For one thing, the Hamdi and Padilla cases are pretty different and whatever you think about where they currently stand neither case is at all alarming from the point of view of all our civil liberties. Definitely not alarming enough to say, as you have done, “Hamdi, Padilla, and You,” as if any one of us is in similar danger of arrest.

Hamdi was arrested fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan. He was literally taken into captivity on the battlefield.

How many of us need worry that one day while we’re trying to kill American soldiers, we’re going to be scooped up and denied our civil liberties?

Is this what the left stands for these days?

That a decision was made to release him to Saudi Arabia does NOT in any way mean that the administration lacked the authority to detain him.
The authority was there.

The detention of enemy combatants is a long-standing practice. When World War II was over and we released hundreds of thousands of Japanese and German prisoners, it was in no way a tacit admission that we lacked the authority to hold them in the first place.

In fact, the times when American authorities arrested people found to be American citizens in WWII, they were shot—they were in fact treated much more harshly than foreign nationals.

Padilla is different because he was not arrested on foreign soil, but was still designated by the president as an enemy combatant. A designation, as I understand it, which has been changed—meaning that he can stand trial for what he’s accused of. This does not mean that the president lacked the authority to designate him an enemy combatant, or that he was wrong to so. Only that Padilla will get a trial.

Posted by: sanger at December 27, 2005 9:25 PM
Comment #108215

Wow! I think Linda H. and chantico both pointed out something that Bush once said (during one of the Bush v. Gore debates I believe) and then later claimed to have “misspoken” about: The good old USA is a Republic, not a Democracy.

Now, I’m a bit long in the tooth but I seem to recall from my Social Studies that under a Republic once the public has voted all other decisions are left to those elected (largely because most of the voters are not smart enough to make really informed decisions).

So if this is the true scenario and the Republicans gain control of the Executive, Law making, and Judicial branches of the government then they could do away with voting altogether. Gee that sure would simplify things.

Since Bush & Co. seem hell bent on creating a Dominionist Theocracy I see no reason to worry as long as I don’t fall out of the good graces of the “one true god”.

But darn it, there’s this agnostic thing hanging over my head and the fact that I think Darwin may have been onto something. Arrgh, I’m thinkin’ I’d best be changin’ my ways. Then again it’s been a bit chilly lately maybe hell would just warm me up. (Or maybe the lay-over at Git-mo) I’m kind of glad we have that pesky freedeom of speech thing.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at December 27, 2005 9:27 PM
Comment #108345

First They Came for the Jews

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
Pastor Martin Niemöller

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 28, 2005 7:25 AM
Comment #108365

There was that guy in Germany that was tortured because he had a similar name to a terrorist.

Posted by: Aldous at December 28, 2005 9:59 AM
Comment #108447

Sanger - I will use your own words as a dismissal of your arguments from here on:

“This is yet another case of a liberal who by all apperances has no idea what the Patriot Act does but wants to change it anyway.”

“Is this what the left stands for these days?”

“No, the left is not interested in protecting our rights. They’re simply bitter, and will even side with the right of Al Qaida to operate freely within American borders to express that bitterensses.”

“Make no mistake about it. The left is not attempting to protect our civil rights here. And why should we trust them, of all people, to assume that role? Why should we trust for a second a political movement which has dedicated itself for decades now to stripping the heart out of the first amendment (speech codes, “hate-crimes” legislation), the second amendment, the right to be hired and fired without regard to race, property rights, the rights of association, and pretty much the rest of the rights supposedly guaranteed by the Consitution too”


Your hatred of ‘the left’ is too obvious and it taints everything you say. I am part of ‘the left’ and I would call BS on just about every assumption you have tried to make, but obviously, you hate us —- so it leaves little room in your mind to actually discuss what is going on. If you want to discuss things - OK, fine by me… but as soon as you make a broad ‘you left’ type of statement, your point of view becomes instantly irrelevant.

Posted by: tony at December 28, 2005 12:52 PM
Comment #108448

Sanger - I will use your own words as a dismissal of your arguments from here on:

“This is yet another case of a liberal who by all apperances has no idea what the Patriot Act does but wants to change it anyway.”

“Is this what the left stands for these days?”

“No, the left is not interested in protecting our rights. They’re simply bitter, and will even side with the right of Al Qaida to operate freely within American borders to express that bitterensses.”

“Make no mistake about it. The left is not attempting to protect our civil rights here. And why should we trust them, of all people, to assume that role? Why should we trust for a second a political movement which has dedicated itself for decades now to stripping the heart out of the first amendment (speech codes, “hate-crimes” legislation), the second amendment, the right to be hired and fired without regard to race, property rights, the rights of association, and pretty much the rest of the rights supposedly guaranteed by the Consitution too”


Your hatred of ‘the left’ is too obvious and it taints everything you say. I am part of ‘the left’ and I would call BS on just about every assumption you have tried to make, but obviously, you hate us —- so it leaves little room in your mind to actually discuss what is going on. If you want to discuss things - OK, fine by me… but as soon as you make a broad ‘you left’ type of statement, your point of view becomes instantly irrelevant.

Posted by: tony at December 28, 2005 12:53 PM
Comment #108466

Tony,

Your hatred of ‘the left’ is too obvious and it taints everything you say. I am part of ‘the left’ and I would call BS on just about every assumption you have tried to make, but obviously, you hate us —- so it leaves little room in your mind to actually discuss what is going on. If you want to discuss things - OK, fine by me… but as soon as you make a broad ‘you left’ type of statement, your point of view becomes instantly irrelevant.

You bring up an interesting point. However, quite a few people talk about “Bush” or “the right” the same way Sanger did of “the left.”
Take this article, for example. Paul went out of his way to mention Bush as many times as possible. From the first sentence on, he inserts Bush into situations that the President was probably not personally involved with, when he could have used more accurate terms like “the administration” or “the government.”
Both sides spend so much time talking about each other that the points they are trying to make sometimes get lost altogether.

For the last half a year or so when posting here or on other sites, I’ve deliberately tried to refrain from using terms like “left,” “right,” “conservative” or “Liberal.” I’ve also tried to talk about the parties in terms of their actions, not their supposed ideologies. What I have to say is more to the point and in some cases, more accurate.

That being said…
When Paul talks incessantly about “Bush” or Sanger goes on and on about “the left,” don’t automatically disreguard what they have to say. Behind all the partisanship there are usually some valid points to be found.
Well, sometimes… ;-)

Posted by: TheTraveler at December 28, 2005 1:39 PM
Comment #108472

The Patriot Act? Hell, ask liberal and conservative Christian church groups about the IRS and freedom of speech; then ponder the possibilities. These should not be partisan issues. To advocate for or to condone intrusions upon the liberties of one or a few, whomever they may be, even as a matter of conscience or security, endangers us all. Who knows what gang may hold power in ten years?

Posted by: Tom L at December 28, 2005 1:56 PM
Comment #108474

Rome was once a republic.

Posted by: Tom L at December 28, 2005 1:59 PM
Comment #108497

Traveler:

I agree with your point of view - let’s discuss the issues and refrain from tossing around political/orientation insults.

One point I would clear up, when people discuss ‘Bush’ or “This Administration’, they are discussing relevant topics and are probably expressing legitimate complaints. that’s very different than making sweeping generalities.

Posted by: tony at December 28, 2005 2:57 PM
Comment #108530

Tony,

One point I would clear up, when people discuss “Bush” or “This Administration”, they are discussing relevant topics and are probably expressing legitimate complaints. that’s very different than making sweeping generalities.

Some of them are. However, some people post for the specific purpose of discrediting him.
There quite a few people who write about their problems with the President (or the Domocrats, or the Republicans) but are reluctant to focus possible solutions to the issues at hand.Take this article. We don’t find out how President Siegel would handle enemy combatants or suspected terrorists. His topic is Bush, the issue is secondary. He brought up good points, but the partisan focus hurts the argument.
I’ve found this to be especially true of, but certainly not limited to, people who are against the President.
I’ve long argued that the Democrats would have an easier time getting elected if they and their supporters would tone down the talk about Bush and focus on their own plans for the future. That’s not intended as an insult to them; I honestly believe that it would be best for them as well as the country.

Posted by: TheTraveler at December 28, 2005 3:51 PM
Comment #108655

Traveler:

Try for a second to see issues from my perspective - I really wasn’t anti-Bush when he won 2000… I supported Gore, but it really was hard to be passionate for Gore. I was bored with the first 9 months - and the 9/11 and everything went to hell. Not because of Bush, but everything came off the track… So at this point, I would say I still was not a Bush-supporter - but I think everyone came together in trying to pull things together.

I did not like the Afghan. war - but it seemed to at least try and get at the problem.

My strong divergence with Bush came with Iraq. I felt from the beginning that this was built on bogus reasoning - that Bush did not truly want to build cooperation at the UN, and that we had not finished our business in Afghan.

I felt he pushed the war to soon - because to wait the last 30 days for the weapons inspectors to finish their search of Iraq would’ve meant that if they had said that Iraq had no weapons, he would not have the support for the war… so he jumped the gun (hoping to be proven right after troops were on the ground.) The worse-case scenario happened – and his critics were proven right.

At each step since then, things have seemed to prove that he had ill-motives… and there seems to be no definable success from his actions. You can point to the elections in Iraq, but I felt the whole Iraq invasion was wrong, so the elections don’t really mean much to me.

I felt the whole Katrina thing was a complete fu_k up on his part. Who cares who should have what responsibility - he seemed to have no interest in it at all until there was a public response that made him focus on it. (5 days… It’s long time to have to interest in our largest national disaster.)

Then of course there are all of the scandals with ethics and legal violations. It’s not just him… it’s Delay and everyone tied in with the Abramoff thing… His Presidency seems to have no positive outcome… and of all of the reactions - he seems to feel that things are going just swell.

So - when you hear people ‘out to get Bush’ - try to understand that he now has to work against 5+ years of negatives, and that has a way of always exposing the negatives with Bush. If there are positives, please share them… and like you said - we should always be seeking answers to the problems we face… for now, I just don’t think this Administration has the credibility to make solutions happen… I think people now will always wonder what his motives are - to be suspect of where his true interests lie… and that will work against him for the next 3 years.

Posted by: tony at December 28, 2005 7:01 PM
Comment #108920

Tony,

Well said; although I would also add “competencies” to the “credibility” gap phrase.

I just don’t think this Administration has the credibility to make solutions happen… I think people now will always wonder what his motives are - to be suspect of where his true interests lie…
Posted by: Dave at December 29, 2005 11:46 AM
Comment #109067

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/defense_doomsday_succession;_ylt=AgvTJla1dmVV8uWeJZI9Hgqs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ—

I don’t think there is room for debate, Americans all, should really make this group of men go away.

One more time, they have changed the order of how things work to suit themselves. The stage is being set. The players are being put in there places.

One day we will wake-up and this will not be a Democracy or a Republic. That day is, I’m affraid much closer than you may think.

Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at December 30, 2005 12:30 AM
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