Hamdan, Human Rights, and John Edwards

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2 Responses

  1. l.k. Richard says:

    It seems to me, although I can’t speak exactly for the language or intentions of SCOTUS or the AUMF, that the decision to leave open the option to detain a combatant ‘engaged in an armed conflict against the United States’ is an incredibly infallible position. I say this from the standpoint that by this definition it can be reasonably implied that the combatant intends to return to the services of the enemy side of the war after the jail term has been concluded.

    On some levels, it is readily apparent that this is the wrong take, especially from the standpoint of the rest of the world, who only hear the soundbytes translating the message that the US violates international principle again. It would also be valid to argue that the Hamden’s sentence ought to infer that his crimes have met with the full force of the relevant law to the extent that the same force of law should no longer possess the ability to pursue punishment beyond what it has allowed. And finally, how will this all affect legal trends, if laws are bent in an arguably unpopular because fundamentally wrong why?

    Despite these good ideas though it would still seem necessary to consider the opposition claims against holding a prisoner if that prisoner is going to reengage in combat pursuant to his release. Not to say that Hamden will, just that, if somehow it can be determined that his first actions after stepping across the jail threshold were: fly to Iraq, meet with contacts (which were not told of along with the ‘whole truth’) and then start killing soldiers again, or something, then the idea would be to stop that just as we would stop any other combatant.

    Of course, the burden of proof necessary to show that Hamden will reengage in combat should be ridiculous. In fact, it ought to be almost unprovable, men in this or any vein of suspicion being probably not impeccable fortune-tellers. But if he goes on record and convincingly makes a statement to that effect (thinking Dave Chappelle’s skit regarding the R-Kelly scandal: the proof he jokingly required for conviction was the eye-witness of police officers and R-Kelly’s grandmother to ID him and the girl holding 3 forms of government ID, among other things), then detention would be necessary.

    Unless I am totally wrong, and even the strongest (vaguest?) language is inadequate protection for some basic freedoms…

  2. Saqib says:

    I’d like to learn your take on the Dr. Afia Siddqui case.