Repeal, abolish the Military Commission Act

The judiciary branch of the government has handed down another defeat to President Bush when it declared a detainee in Guantanamo was improperly labeled an enemy combatant.

A three judge-panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said Huzaifa Parhat (pronounced hoo-ZY’-fah PAHR’-haht), a Chinese Muslim known as a Uighur, is not an enemy combatant, undermining the basis for his more than six years in detention.  The court rejected the Bush administration’s argument that the president has the power to detain people who never took up arms against the U.S.

In the Military Commission Act of 2006 there are two “enemy combatant” designations. One lawful and the other unlawful. Parhat falls under the latter category and specifically this application of the law was used against him:

a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense.

Whether this ruling means the provision in the Act is unconstitutional or not is undetermined.  There are scores of detainees in Guantanamo who were sold to the US military by Northern Alliance members in the early stages of the conflict in Afghanistan who probably had similar circumstances as Parhat, i.e. they were captured without bearing arms or firing on American forces, who should be likewise released.  There are scores of other prisoners of Guantanamo who have already been released without charge after being imprisoned for years.  Both presidential candidates have called for Guantanamo Bay’s facilities to be closed, and that’s one thing I applaud them for but the stain the facility has left on America’s moral cloth is indisputable.  Holding people indefinitely, without the hope of a trial and/or exoneration is torture in and of itself, and something that was repudiated by the “founding fathers” of this country.  It is a national disgrace that we have let that moral guide evade our collective consciousness.  I am glad to see that the judicial branch of the government has redeemed us.

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