Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A liberal is a conservative who's been booked...

Accused Al Qaeda operative can't be jailed indefinitely, appeals court rules - Los Angeles Times: "WASHINGTON — In a setback for the Bush administration, a federal appeals court ruled Monday that an alleged Al Qaeda operative arrested in the United States and detained in military custody for four years cannot be held as an enemy combatant."

Americans need to get off their butts and start defending their rights while they still have rights to defend.

Make no mistake, this case is going set an important precedent. Al-Marri was arrested in Illinois on credit card fraud, labeled an "enemy combatant", pulled out of the court system and thrown in the brig on Fort Brag, NC.

Al-Marri is most likely a real-live bad guy. He probably did come here with the intent to do evil. But if al-Marri can be labeled an enemy combatant, stripped of his rights and indefinitely confined without due process, then so can you.

The term habeas corpus dates back to the Magna Carta in 1215 CE. It literally means "to have the body." It is a requirement to show cause for confinement. While our Bill of Rights are amendments to the Constitution, habeas corpus is actually written into Article I. It is a basic human right.

A few words on the difference between a right and a privilege. A right is something you have and a privilege is something you're given. Privileges can be taken away and rights cannot. Freedom must not become a privilege.

The title for this entry is from a joke my dad used to tell: "You know what a liberal is? A conservative who's been booked! Know what a conservative is? A liberal who's been mugged!" The issue of perspective is worth considering. If you were wrongly accused of terrorism, how confident would you be that your liberties were protected?

As an aside, the LA Times has one of the worst "free registration" schemes I've ever seen. If they've put the article behind a log-in screen do a Google search. There's lots of content of equal or better quality out there.

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