September 26, 2003

FRIEND OR FOE?:

Show Me the Proof and I’ll Hush (Omid Safi, 9/25/2003, beliefnet.com)

[.....] An unnamed military official reporting on “fear and suspicion” that someone “might” be acting in an “unspecified” way? Is this what the legal system of this country has come to? Show me the proof that Yee was planning to do something evil, and have that proof legally obtained and able to stand up to a court of law, and I will gladly watch Yee receive the punishment he deserves.

I want to be clear about this point: I am perfectly willing to concede that among the prisoners held at Guantanamo, there are al-Qaeda members who may have even participated in terrorist activities. However, that is a conclusion that one can arrive at only after a legal process, not before. Even Guantanamo prisoners are innocent until proven guilty. Perhaps a true test of democracy is if it is willing to say especially Guantanamo prisoners are innocent until proven guilty.

Fortunately, democracy needn't be subjected to such and ambiguous "test" to prove itself capable of doing the right, or, as in many cases today, wrong thing. Meanwhile, Mr. Safi might want to re-visit the rights afforded to Captain Yee under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as they may differ somewhat from his interpretation of what the U.S. Constitution affords.

Posted by John Resnick at September 26, 2003 6:56 PM
Comments

They were captured in combat against US Armed Forces--in what sense are they to be assumed innocent? Did German POWs get an assumption of innocence in WWII?

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2003 8:33 PM

Safi has a perfect "but-head" statement in that second paragraph. Start out supportive, and by the end, refute your own support.

And it's not a "test of democracy". It might be a test of our civilization and ideals. But (I can be a buthead too!) we're under no obligation to extend our rights to those who have rejected them, or even used our rights against us. "democracy" does not require us to commit suicide.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 27, 2003 12:21 PM
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