On one thing, the Constitution is clear: Congress makes the rules on prisoners.
President Bush, of course, wants Congress to simply endorse his arrogation of power. The Times reported recently that the White House is seeking support for legislation that would permit the long-term detention of foreigners on American soil without charges or appeal, just on Mr. Bush’s say-so. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said “the biggest challenge is finding a statutory basis for holding prisoners who should never be released and who may or may not be able to be put on trial.”
Challenge? The very idea is anathema to American democracy. Congress did harm enough by tolerating Mr. Bush’s lawless detainee policies, and then by passing the Military Commissions Act. Giving the president a dictator’s power to select people for detention without charges on American soil would be an utter betrayal of their oath to support and defend the Constitution, and of the founders’ vision of America.
Monday, July 16, 2007
New York Times Editorial: