Yes, Everyone has rights!
In the car today I caught some of today's Talk of the Nation. The segment I heard was about the latest Supreme Court case concerning the rights of detainees in Guantanamo. I only heard about 5 minutes or so, but it was enough to make me start yelling at the radio.
This guy calls, and he's clearly got the winger talking points memorized. He says -
- Why are we worried about giving rights to people who would slash our throats in a heartbeat? Why worry about protecting people who aren't even Americans?
- Why are we wasting time arguing about the rights of criminals when we have other problems in this country?
- What about all the reams of vital intelligence we've got from Guantanamo?
A woman answered him, I assume it was Gitanjali Gutierrez, and she was far too nice to him. She took the approach of explaining that American citizens have been detained as enemy combatants and that whatever intelligence we might have gained from Guantanamo has come at far too high a price, and has cost us the ability to gather more meaningful intelligence in the region with the cooperation of people we have now alienated. She also mentioned that we already have a system in place to deal with criminals and we should use that system.
She was followed by David Rivkin an attorney and a member of the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, who argues that the legal system is not appropriate for the detainees and that, in fact, if tried through the system, that most would go free. He claims that most of the detainees are Al Qaeda fighters.
Let's be clear about what's being said here -
- Non-citizens don't have inalienable rights. The only rights they have are those we deign to grant them.
- To win the war on terror, these guys are prepared to pick up and imprison innocent men along with the guilty. There is no other reasonable conclusion to draw if they're unwilling to grant them the right to challenge their detention and to force the government to meet a minimum burden of proof. So Rivkin is a lawyer and a member of a human rights commission who believes neither in basic human rights nor basic legal protections