As Congress prepares to make the Bush administration’s dream of retroactive telecom immunity come true, I can’t help but think of the vast legal gulf between the telecoms who will never need to defend themselves in court, and the Gitmo detainees who may never get the chance to.
On the one hand, the Bush administration, the GOP, and most of the Democratic leadership are working to ensure that the telecoms will be given blanket amnesty after clearing the laughably low hurdle of showing that the most dishonest government in American history told them their actions were lawful.
On the other, the Bush administration, the GOP, and 44 feckless Democrats (12 Sens., 32 Reps.) pushed through the Military Commissions Act which declared that the Gitmo prisoners were not entitled to a trial to contest their detention. Even after the Supreme Court ruled the MCA unconstitutional, President Bush expressed his intent to bypass their ruling legislatively. (Indeed, the MCA itself was just such a response to Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.) In the Republicans’ legal bizarro world – which far too many Democrats inhabit – a terrorist suspect’s rights are the exact mirror image of a telecom’s.
Are the telecoms guilty? I think they probably are, but we’ll never know. Are the detainees innocent? I think many of them are, but if the Bush administration gets its way, we’ll never know that either.
Throw in the trumped-up, politically tainted prosecutions and convictions of Democrats like Georgia Thompson, Don Siegelman, and Paul Minor, the kid-glove treatment of Republican congressmen and allies like Jack Abramoff’s bribees, Halliburton/KBR, and Blackwater, and you have the state of "justice" under the Bush administration. It has as much in common with the true meaning of the word as the Gitmo detainees have in common with the telecoms.