The Truth About Habeas Corpus
by Jerry Gilio
November 3, 2006

I got an answer to one of the questions from my blog, "These statements aren't true...are they?", on October 25, 2006.

Al Franken interviewed Barak Obama on his October 31, 2006 show. They discussed the suspension of habeas corpus and had the following exchange:

Al Franken:How far does this suspension of habeas corpus go with this bill?
Barak Obama:It's complete. It's complete.
Al Franken:But in terms of U.S. citizens?
Barak Obama:No.
Al Franken:Okay.
Barak Obama:U.S. citizens do not fall under it, but if you are, for example, a legal resident they can round ... they can snatch you out of your house, lock you up ...
Al Franken:And not see a judge.
Barak Obama:... your family doesn't know where your are, not see a judge.

Click here to hear this exchange.

Click here to hear their complete discussion of habeas corpus.

So, as I suspected, it doesn't apply to U.S. citizens. It only applies to non-citizens, both at home and abroad. This is still deplorable, but it's in a totally different league from being able to grab U.S. citizens off the street and lock them up with no access to the legal system.

This kind of unnecessary distortion is frustrating for me. Why overplay your hand? It's bad enough that Bush has suspended habeas corpus for "aliens". Why give him wiggle room to deny your statements by suggesting he eliminated it for everyone? But that's exactly what many of the media are doing, including usually responsible people like Keith Olbermann, (see "The Death of Habeas Corpus" Countdown, October 10, 2006).

Democrats and progressives are in a strong position right now. It's becoming undeniable that the facts are on their side. However, in their never ending quest to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, some are taking things too far by overstating their case. These individuals need to settle down. That will make it easier to keep the focus on the issues.

The facts are bad enough to do in Bush and his cronies. Getting overzealous only bogs down the debate. It makes it about side issues, like whether or not habeas corpus is really "dead". In this case, the discussion should be about the fact that, in his quest to spread democracy, Bush is abandoning democratic principles that are older than America.

Copyright © 2006