Thanks for a fabulous and important essay. It may at first seem like hyperbole for Harvey Silverglate to call the Boumediene decision the most important of his lifetime. But it is important to acknowledge how deeply surreal and atavistic these cases have become. It is interesting that in many of the endlessly cited precedents — ex parte Quirin, Eisentrager, et al. — military tribunals have been used to expedite trials. Here, there seems to be no desire to expedite anything. Guantánamo is about delay. Taking it back to the Magna Carta is absolutely correct. I keep thinking of the oubliette — adored by the French kings — a way to essentially hold people forever without doing anything.
Bravo and gratitude to you for publishing Harvey Silverglate’s recent column explaining the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision on Boumediene, the Guantánamo prisoner who is seeking that basic right we all assume is ours, a day in a court of law. I’m sending the column around to everyone I know because it explains so clearly what is at stake in the struggle to save that most fundamental constitutional right of habeas corpus. In the absence of civics and decent newspapers, there is a dearth of comprehension of how far down the tubes the American project has gone and what we have to do to rescue it. Most important, Silverglate explains it all to the common person so we have the tools we need to preserve our shredding democracy.
EDITOR’S NOTE Nancy Ryan is president of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Massachusetts, on which Silverglate also serves.
Congratulations on an intelligent, well-written analysis on the lead-up and media coverage of the potential war with Iran. After eight years, many Americans realize that the Axis of Evil is not Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. The Axis of Evil is actually George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) neocons. Thanks for the news and for quoting Glenn Greenwald. He is, in my opinion, the sharpest political columnist out there, both in print and in the blogosphere.
Betrayal, not brain drain
The Phoenix’s “Intelligence Deficit” editorial takes the Iraq War deception by President Bush to a standard Bush wants the press to use: intelligence deficiencies. All of the press is forgetting that Hans Blix, the chief UN arms inspector, took his international team to each and every one of the sites that Colin Powell later claimed in his speech to the United Nations had weapons of mass destruction. The UN team found zero such weapons at each of these sites. And when Blix, as a courtesy to Bush, took his report to the White House, Vice-President Cheney told Blix, “We do not care what your report says, we are going to attack.”
All of that has been reported publicly by Blix. German (not US) intelligence had already labeled the “curve ball” assertions that Powell cited as “uncredible.” Bush had ground-level, on-site inspection data that told him an attack was unnecessary. The press needs to keep reminding the public of that dastardly betrayal. There was no intelligence deficiency. After Bush attacked, he spent $660 million trying to prove Blix wrong and ended up proving Blix right — zero WMDs in all of Iraq.
Francis X. Stone
Retired Lieutenant Colonel, US Air Force