Observations on the world today.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The "Bully" Pulpit 

Intellectual Capital: Michael McGough / Tortured interpretation:
Revelations about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison understandably consumed the attention of Congress last week. But how is the scandal being viewed by members of the third branch of the federal government -- the judiciary?

Specifically, could lurid photographs of hooded and humiliated Iraqi prisoners undermine the administration's position with the U.S. Supreme Court, which is preparing rulings in two cases challenging the detention of "enemy combatants"? The possibility of such a ripple effect was the talk of the press room at the Supreme Court last week, and reportedly also worries the White House.
Hmm? Didn't I blog on this last week? Why, yes. Yes, I did. Finally, one of my original ideas catches on. Another example of how this idea is spreading is from this letter in the WaPo:
Oral argument in those cases, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Padilla v. Rumsfeld, ended about noon April 28.

As it happened, the justices asked Principal Deputy Solicitor General Paul D. Clement what in the law would check the executive branch from torturing prisoners. He responded that the government would honor its obligations under the "convention to prohibit torture and that sort of thing."
Now this differs from my tack in a significant way. The idea here seems to be to simply accuse the administration of perjury. Which, while true, won't be effective. My idea is for Kerry to turn this into a strategy displaying his leadership. As I said in my original post, Kerry should be saying this:
For now, all eyes are on Iraq. But as recently as last month, our courts were considering the question of habeus corpus concerning our detainees on Guantanimo Bay in Cuba. This administration has the opportunity to make not-a-symbolic-gesture, but a true show of good faith by granting our prisoners from Afghanistan a full and transparent trial before an international tribunal.
In other words, make the damned Supreme Court case moot. Force Bush through applied pressure to reverse his position on Gitmo.


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