Thursday, June 29, 2006

It came to this

I cannot think of an American President who would have allowed a flagrant violation of fundamental human rights under his own watch to carry on with the Supreme Court finally putting an end to it.

But Mr. George W. Bush is such a President. What a shame. And what a relief.

Of course it serves our sense of justice that some – but only some – of the evident legal mishaps in the present Admninistration’s conduct of affairs has now been stalled. And even if it is ‘only’ a 5-3 ruling – with the Chief Justice Roberts conspicuously opting out because of his prior involvement in defending the Administration’s position – there is no lack of clarity in the Supreme Court’s condemnation of the handling of terrorist cases without due process.

Also, those who have spoken out against the Guantanamo Bay violations of both national military law and international conventions have been given a massive impetus, and it is reassuring that their voices are not silenced in any respect.

The entire episode – so far – nevertheless continues to cause grave concern. It still remains possible for people in high offices to hold opinions such as the one expressed in the minority opinion by one of the Justices, saying that the ruling would "sorely hamper the president's ability to confront and defeat a new and deadly enemy." It is the opinion of someone who is willing to submit to arbitrary government and lawlesness whenever he or she is intimidated by something or someone fearsome. So many people still hang around in responsible positions who have sympathy with this kind of opinion.

So let’s hang out and remain vigilant. The shame should never be ours.