Bad Due Process Begets Bad Due Process
The New York Times Sunday had a fine piece about the tug-of-war inside the Bush Administration over terror detainee policies. What was striking to me, reading the lengthy article by Tim Golden, is the extent to which hardliners within the White House, especially Vice President Cheney and his underlings, fought against Pentagon and State Department experts over what the new policy would be. How nasty the infighting was. How high up it went. How broken seems the system of internal debate within the Administration. How much that might explain how and why the White House has made the political decisions it has over the past few years. Read the piece. And then tell me you don't feel worse about the legislation Congress passed last week.
Equally fascinating is the notion, fleshed out by Golden, that some government officials now believe the new legislation "might fail to meet a primary goal of those inside the administration who had advocated change; quelling domestic and international criticism and moving past the federal lawsuits that have tied up parts of the detention apparatus since 2002." Golden quotes one administration lawyer saying this: "'There have been so many times when we thought we had broken through and turned things around, and then the forces on the other side kept charling back... [now], even after what was supposed to be this major legislation to resolve these issues we are going to be back at it.'"
"It" being more litigation, more delays, and more uncertainty over the fate of the 450 or so detainees now at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The irony, of course, is that a legislation that takes due process away from those men, and resident aliens who also now can be detained without charges, came about in large part because of a breakdown in due process along the corridors of power.
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Posted by: attorneyofrecord | October 3, 2006 09:06 AM
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