28 July 2004

Optimist Party

Professor Froomkin is not quite cynical enough:

I do not see how Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri’s Qatari citizenship will suffice to block his right to a hearing, and to counsel to prepare for it. And I can’t imagine any other grounds the government could have for this behavior.

"Bush, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft Resist Application of US Supreme Court Detainee Decision" (27 Jul 04) (emphasis added). The problem is the missing qualifier:

And I can’t imagine any other [legitimate] grounds the government could have for this behavior.

If there is one thing that the last three-plus years should have taught us, it's that—for this President and his advisors—the ends always justify the means, even in the face of absolute prohibition on those means (let alone the ends, or the stupidity of those means or ends). The administration will certainly have grounds of some kind for its actions; they just won't be consistent with the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdi, and will be propped up by some legalism that is logically inconsistent with the Court's decision but was not excrutiatingly and explicitly denied by that decision.

Note, too, that al-Marri is a citizen of one of our longest-standing and staunchest allies in the Gulf—one of the few Gulf nations whose ruling family/class has not been (thus far, anyway) publicly humiliated by accusations of complicity in terrorism through funding of terrorist groups by disaffected family members. This provides some food for thought for the more cynical of us, such as wondering whether al-Marri (and/or his family) is a known opponent of the Qatari government. Inquiring minds want to know; and that is precisely the purpose of a habeas proceeding: explication of the grounds for continued detention.

This morning's title unwittingly inspired by Karen Kosowski (MP3 [artist-authorized], 3.3mb).