Disagreeing with Dick Morris on habeas corpus, detainees

In his column of July 2 (“Supreme Court boosts Obama”), Dick Morris repeats a Bushie canard that was never true and that even Morris should be ashamed to roll out at this point. Halfway through the piece he says that the Supreme Court’s “decision to grant habeas rights to Guantánamo terrorists is a vivid example of reprehensible judicial lawmaking. To decide that men whose only nexus with the United States is that they shot at our troops is insane.”

There has been a good deal of credible evidence, made public at last, that many of the Guantánamo detainees never came close to shooting at our troops. The primary appellant in the decision referred to was Boumediene, who was arrested by Bosnian police and acquitted by a Bosnian court, then re-arrested by Bosnian police and turned over to the U.S. military. He was apparently never in Iraq or Afghanistan. The whole purpose of habeas corpus is to find out if there is a legal reason for detaining someone, in order to prevent keeping him or her wrongly in detention for years. Those who indeed shot at our troops will not be released in a habeas proceeding.

Furthermore, Morris refers to his prior “revelation” that 50 of 420 detainees already released have been killed or recaptured fighting our troops, supposedly as proof that they were terrorists all along. We will never know that. But if you put 420 randomly chosen, innocent men in detention at Guantánamo for several years, I would be amazed if only 12 percent of them took up arms against us afterward. If their habeas rights had been recognized from the first, they would have been released a lot earlier, and may never have become enemies. But for Bush and Rumsfeld and Morris, they too are the “worst of the worst.”

Washington

Obama must clarify Iraq withdrawal plan

From Howard Lohmuller

(Regarding article “Obama says slower Iraq withdrawal possible,” July 3.) Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has a right to change his position on withdrawal of American troops from Iraq because the situation is changing there. Combat by American troops has wound down to a small fraction of what it was. He would have been wise, however, to vet his new plan with commanders in Iraq.

What Republicans should be asking the senator is whether he wants to bring home American soldiers from around the world. Of more than 90 countries where American military personnel are stationed, 200,000-plus troops are still in Germany and 50,000-plus have been in Japan for more than 65 years. In Korea there are more than 40,000 troops after more than 50 years.

The war in Iraq has basically been won. So does Sen. Obama want to follow past U.S. policy to safeguard world stability, or does he have new ideas for the use or non-use of our military forces? Sen. Obama’s apparent change to ease up on withdrawal is getting closer to past U.S. military policy but his call for total withdrawal within a short timeframe moves away from past policy. He needs to explain which course he intends to follow.

Seabrook, Texas