In addition to whatever harm is caused by terrorists who manage to win their freedom, the Supreme Court decision will cause collateral damage. Granting terrorists seized on the battlefield access to civilian courts also sends another message; America is not serious about winning the war. It tells them they can "game" the system, demanding rights and protections unknown in their countries of origin. According to Justice Antonin Scalia, 30 former detainees have "allegedly" returned to the battlefield to kill American troops and others. On whose hands should be their blood? Who should be held accountable for the blood of Americans killed by terrorists who have gained their freedom courtesy of a federal judge, a judge who has usurped the authority and judgment of the executive branch and the military? This is bound to demoralize our soldiers who will wonder why they should bother to seize terrorists at all if they are just going to be released. They might kill them all in the field, but then they would probably be court-martialed.
The U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 9) says, "The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it." Justice Anthony Kennedy, one of Ronald Reagan's biggest mistakes (Justice David Souter being George H.W. Bush's even bigger mistake) wrote that the same rights granted to American citizens also cover non-citizens by virtue of their presence on land controlled by the U.S. military, even though that land is Cuba.
Have we not been invaded? Didn't the 9/11 terrorists "invade" America for the specific purpose of harming us? What is the purpose of the Saudi Islamic Academy and similar religious sites around the country if not to serve as cover for terrorists intent on endangering the public safety?
The next attack probably won't come by airplane. It will come in a shopping mall, or a school, or on Wall Street, or possibly all three. It will occur simultaneously in many places and probably kill more than the nearly 3,000 who died in 2001. Perhaps someone who manages to extricate himself from Guantanamo, thanks to a liberal judge, will lead the attack. What will the Supreme Court and State Department say to cleanse the blood from their hands?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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