Because having a mullet and a pornstache is not a crime.

The Fourth Circuit has ruled that President Bush doesn’t get to declare civilians to be “enemy combatants.” W00t! this is in the case of Ali al-Marri, a Quatari who is being held in Charleston without any rights and without being charged with any crime. The court has ordered the White House to either charge him with something or deport him. Duh.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

19 replies on “Because having a mullet and a pornstache is not a crime.”

  1. While this is a huge victory for justice and due process, I’m a little disappointed that when I clicked on the link that said “Because having a mullet and a pornstache is not a crime,” it wasn’t a post about your new hair style (with pictures), Waldo.

  2. Am uncertain how affording constitutional due process designed for American citizens to foreign nationals present in this country for the purpose of killing American citizens is a “huge victory for justice.”

    Politically, of course, this is gold for conservatives as it demonstrates how the President is trying to protect America from another 9/11 while liberals are agitating to coddle terrorists with lavish discovery motions and Miranda rights. Still, all in all, I’d rather we all play for the same team.

  3. Terrorists? Who said anything about terrorists? This is just some guy that’s locked up and the White House won’t say why. If he’s a terrorist, they should charge him with terrorism. The fact that they haven’t indicates that, clearly, he’s not a terrorist.

  4. According to a Justice Dept. statement quoted by the NYT al-Marri trained at bin Laden camp in Afghanistan and personally met with KSM before being dispatched to the US. I undertand that to most liberals the only thing that can be inferred from that is that al Marri has eclectic tastes in travel that can’t possibly be understood by most of the ignorant bourgeoisie here in America, but for the rest us this means he is a terrorist worthy of being designated an “enemy combatant” and held until the cessation of hostilities.

  5. So, Smails, do you believe that he is getting due process, and that we should blindly trust our leaders when they take a firm stance against any sort of accountability or do you believe that due process is antithetical to justice?

    Really, which is it?

  6. Again, if this were true, they’d have charged him with being a terrorist. The fact that he has not been charged indicates only that there’s insufficient evidence to do so.

    Do yourself a favor and listen to This American Life’s “Habeas Schmabeas”. It’s a ground-breaking hour-long piece about who, exactly, is being held at Guantanamo. They’re regular Joes, accused of absolutely nothing, kept prisoner because it spares the administration the embarrassment of admitting that they fucked up and seized somebody more or less at random.

    One cannot both be conservative and support the elimination of habeus corpus. Unfortunately, it’ll be at least a few years more until that becomes clear to the majority of self-described conservatives.

  7. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. FDR had 7 or 8 Nazi saboteurs hung. In time of war, what the Bush administration is doing is hardly unprecedented.

    The 4th Circuit (and you) seem to be saying we have two choices: Afford this guy and those like him discovery which would aid them in knowing how they were caught, or release him so he can try to kill us on some other day. Indeed, had Mohammed Atta been caught on 9/10, under these new rules those are the two choices we’d have. Good luck selling that bill of goods.

  8. I’ll take that to mean that you think that due process is antithetical to seeing that justice is done.

    Judge Smails, your logic works the same for citizens as it does for non-citizens. We have a War on Drugs in this country. Given that it’s war time, shouldn’t we allow the US to seize property and lock up citizens indefinitely, without trial? To do otherwise would be to either aid them in knowing how they were caught, or release them so they can try to kill us on some other day.

    Oh, and there’s obviously historical examples of this as well. FDR and Japanese Americans, for example, not to mention examples from the War on Terror.

    Given that there’s no official declaration of war or anything, and we’re just working on basically the fact that there are people out there who hate us, I can’t imagine any time in my lifetime that the president couldn’t claim we’re at war with someone or something. Do you believe that this is a power that the US Government should have at all times, against all people?

  9. According to a Justice Dept. statement…

    I thought we had all agreed that Gonzales’ “Justice Department” wasn’t capable of making an accurate statement?

  10. @ Ben:

    Look it, I get that in your fevered imagination Bush denying would-be terrorists due process is merely the first step down a slippery slope (TM) that will eventually lead to the imprisonment and execution without trial of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. I just don’t think that way. I don’t believe Bush or his lieutenants have anything in mind other than protecting Americans from another 9/11 type attack.

    I believe holding these al Qaeda types without charge is wholly reasonable and eminently defensible. I believe this asinine 2-1 decision (with both majority judges being Clinton appointees, only one didn’t make it before he left office and so Bush renominated him in an idiotic “goodwill gesture” to Democrats for which of course he never received a shred of credit) will be overturned the the 4th Circuit en banc and that decision upheld by the S. Ct. The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

  11. Why in the world would I worry about Reid or Pelosi? They’re both upper-class, mainstream white folks of high social standing. And, more than anything else, they’re super high-profile. I worry about law abiding citizens who don’t have the visibility or means to avoid bad treatment when they become a problem to the US government. I worry about a Kafkaesque government having power to become as corrupt as it wants, and being able to make the whistle-blowers disappear.

    Your blind faith in government and your nationalism cannot be considered conservative. They fly in the face of small government and of traditional values like those held by our forefathers. What you advocate is much closer to fascism than federalism.

  12. Oh, and before you try to portray me as worrying that they’re throwing peaceful dissenters in the brig right now, I’ll point out that my concern is not what they’re doing so much as the legal precedent being set. I doubt we’re currently disappearing peaceful dissenters because I think we’d see more trouble from within the rank and file of the administration, but I also realize that I have nothing to base this assumption off of, since there is no oversight.

    You’re advocating a system with no oversight and ultimate power over people’s lives. I’m opposing it. Call me whatever names you like, but I can sleep quite soundly with my position.

  13. Smails, you claim that these are “would-be terrorists” and that clear evidence backs this statement. What would be so wrong with charging ’em with a crime and putting them before a court? If the evidence is good, they’ll be charged and held. If not, then you didn’t have a case anyway.

    Also, are you aware that a large number of the prisoners at Guantanamo are victims of tribal grudges? We were doing a pay-per-tip deal in Afghanistan, so folks were turning in their personal enemies for cash.

  14. Excuse me for not responding earlier. I was too caught up in watching the disbarment proceeding of Democratic Durham DA Mike Nifong for persecuting innocent American citizens.

    Where were we? Ah, yes, why not just charge these terrorists, you ask? Because discovery motions would afford them way too much knowledge of US intelligence sources and methods which they would then share with their buddies still trying to kill us.

    Look, I know you guys think the evil Bush administration is holding all sorts of innocent pistachio salesmen who just happen to vacation in Jalalabad on trumped up charges. I just disagree. Tell you what, let’s vote on it in Nov. ’08 and see who wins.

  15. J.S., would you be willing to give any one of the Democratic candidates for the presidency the power to imprison you without cause, giving you no recourse? Would you be willing to give that power to the heads of state of every nation in the world?

  16. It was Habeas Corpus and discovery motions that demonstrated the Durham DA was prosecuting innocent Americans. I’d prefer to keep those Constitutional procedures. But if the President wants to change them, we have a Constitutional procedure for that too. Think he has a two-third majority?

  17. It’s sad, really, that Smails has so little faith in the American system of justice. Perhaps he’d care to clarify which countries have systems that he approves of? I’ve got a few ideas, but I’d love to hear about them myself.

  18. Tell you what, let’s vote on it in Nov. ‘08 and see who wins.

    How does this have anything to do with the moral or ethical questions here? All this would answer is how popular the various candidates are. Even as a popularity contest, it’s not a good determination because Bush is not running for another term, and as far as I can tell, all of his party-mates are trying very hard to distance themselves from him.

    You’re arguing for a system where the government can–without any accountability accept to itself–imprison people indefinitely and effectively without cause. I don’t know what else to say but the fact that so many people believe this is a good thing has truly shaken my faith in the American people.

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