We might note too (since we've run out of nice things to say here at Pondside) that Bush's declaration, a kind of Alamo-like challenge that he'll go on getting American's killed, killing Iraqis, spending money America doesn't have while increasing the frequency and intensity of terrorism in the world at large; that he'll proceed this way, even if his only support comes from his wife and the family dog - that all this sounds like the ranting and raving of a lunatic.
There is evidence for this diagnosis, of course, some of it professional. Viz., the whole book by Justin Frank, "Bush on the Couch," which concluded, psychoanalytically, that Bush is a megalomaniac with elements of paranoid ideation. Let us look logically at Bush's co-opting of Barney in this regard. For Bush to believe that a policy of war against Iraq, which even he would have to concede is at best an arguable theory of social and political engineering, and hugely subjective in any evaluation of its success and subject to many persuasive and compelling contra arguments, should be sustained even if only one married couple and their canine friend support it (and as stated, how can we be sure about Barney?), then Bush would necessarily believe, overtly or impliedly, that he possesses powers of insight and intellectual analysis that are absolutely unique to him (and only to him; I do not believe he would stay the course if only Laura & Barney chose to, if he disagreed).
While reiterating one should be gracious in acknowledging the positive qualities in another man, surely at this point there is not an American soul extant, including Harriet Myers (who used to think otherwise), who really believes Bush is such a person. On the contrary, most Americans concluded long ago that Bush is a person of thundering, crashing mediocrity, a cypher, an intellectually lazy goof-off with no powers of concentration, insight or analysis at all. The evidence is all around us, here in America and in the world at large. Particularly in Iraq. Bush is just another guy, and without the Bush brand name behind him, no one would ever listen to him at all, based, if you will, on his personal congitive powers.
The disjunction between Bush's self-image coupled with his fantastical assertion that he would stay the course even if no other rational homo sapiens agreed with him (by now Laura has been so reduced by co-dependency she can't think straight, and Barney, as noted, has been given the benefit of the doubt) - all of that, put on one side - versus the measured judgment of the American people that Bush is a moderately intelligent fruitcake - leads one to an inescapable conclusion. Bush must, indeed, be out of his mind.
The respectable, mainstream mass media, however, cannot do its own analysis on this basis. It has to analyze what Bush says, what he orders, what he leads America to do, on the basis of policy decisions. As an analysis of pros and cons. It has to take Bush's weird ideas seriously, as if they were part of a serious debate. The delusions, the flights from empiricism that characterize almost all the decisions the Bush White House makes, are taken at face value, as if they were simply one among many rational decisions that might have been made, and Bush chose this one.
The NSA spying scandal is an excellent case in point. Simply put, there was no reason that Bush ever needed to walk all over the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution or the FISA statute in order to eavesdrop on terrorist conversations in the United States. A cowed Senate and Congress would have given him carte blanche to invade every nook and cranny of American privacy by amending U.S. law (hell, by amending the Constitution). Senator Russ Feingold's censure motion garnered 4 supporters in the Senate, an eloquent measure of the institutional cowardice pervasive in the legislative branch. Bush did not need to invoke the "unitary executive" or to claim that the Congressional resolution of October 2001 (the Authorization for Use of Military Force) mysteriously granted him this non-military authorization.
Bush has gotten involved in felonious activities associated with the domestic spying scandal, and with other high crimes, such as violations of the War Crimes Act (at least as the act existed before Bush was granted his absolution by that same cowed Congress in the form of a retroactive exoneration) because it is his nature to commit such acts. Yet, again, the mainstream media has to take seriously his assertion that "the times have changed" and the Constitution is "out of date," and seeking search warrants for roving electronic captures of conversations is "too cumbersome." Or terrorists are a "new kind of enemy" not entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions. One can multiply examples easily. This scofflaw pattern has characterized his governing style from its earliest days.
This approach to government, to life, is not a policy matter. It is a deranged mental state, a personality disorder. Simply for the sake of analogy, and without implying a similarity of scale, one might, in the 1930's, have taken seriously Hitler's anti-Semitic ravings and debated the "merits" of whether European Jewry was responsible for all the world's ills. At the time, there was doubtless a lot of mainstream "debate" about just such questions. In retrospect it seems sick to have discussed the matter in such terms at all. In the long run, historical judgment will condemn all of Bush's arrant lawbreaking and Constitution-wrecking behavior in the same way that Hitler's "policies" are now seen as simply the idiosyncratic mental disorders of a power-mad, delusional, paranoid and megalomaniacal personality.
Such things take time. Acquiring the perspective to see things as they really are requires time for reflection. In the meantime, we will suffer under Bush's self-delusions, with the stately institutions of Washington aggrandizing his madness. Barney, however, should not be tarred with the same brush. In the absence of hard proof, I am inclined to believe that it's simply a case of misplaced loyalty. After all, some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall, as the great Bard told us centuries ago.
December 20, 2006
Posted by Waldenswimmer at 7:28:00 PM
December 04, 2006
That's our man Jose, poster boy for George Bush's War on the United States Constitution, on his way to a dental appointment down the hall in the South Carolina brig. Shackled, muffled and blindfolded, Jose shuffles toward a Navy dentist for a root canal, which for Padilla is nothing to be dreaded, since he'll actually be in human company for a change. Those of you who want to know more about the legal significance of the Padilla nightmare should read Jack Balkin's series of reprinted articles (originally written about the time Padilla was disappeared by the Pinochet Unit of Bush's Junta). Follow the link above to Balkinization and you can read them in all their frightening immediacy.
Padilla's case puts the lie to the idea that "it can't happen here" or it can happen only to evil people very unlike ourselves. Under the Bill or Rights, as it existed before George W. Bush happened to it, Jose Padilla is exactly like you and me, an American citizen entitled to a presumption of complete innocence; that is to say, then, that at this point, nearly five years after his arrest on the battlefield of O'Hare International in Chicago, the government has never proved anything against Jose Padilla. Nothing. It dropped the original "dirty bomb" allegations which supposedly justified his disappearance into the Bush gulag. Nevertheless, Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and the government lawyers who do Bush's dirty work, such as the uber-articulate Paul Clement, Solicitor General of the United States, have strained mightily to deprive Padilla of the rights to counsel, to an indictment, to confront his accusers, or to grant him his day in court. Finally, as some who have followed this sorrowful case know, Padilla was transferred into the criminal justice system in South Florida and added to an ongoing conspiracy case set for trial next month. The junta took this route in a cowardly attempt to avoid another unfavorable Supreme Court ruling on the extent of Bush's perogatives as the "unitary" executive, that is, his powers as a self-appointed tyrant.
Padilla's lawyers are now mounting a legal challenge to the government's right to try Padilla at all, on the grounds that his solitary confinement in a 9x7 foot cell, in a cell block emptied of all other prisoners, without a window, calendar or mirror, and while being subjected to the usual Torquemada routine of "stress" positions, volume ten Garth Brooks, and sleeping on a metal plank -- that all of this, "justified" solely by Bush's unilateral, sua sponte, unreviewable determination that Padilla, an American citizen, was nevertheless an "enemy combatant" without any of the rights we thought we took for granted -- drove Jose Padilla insane. The "government lawyers" (who I hope must mainline Ambien in order to sleep even an hour a night) of course maintain there is not a "shred" of evidence to support this claim. They probably trot out the usual legal cliche -- not even a "scintilla" of proof. Well, of course it might be hard for Jose to prove it. That's the advantage of solitary confinement without access to a lawyer or the Red Cross. Ask August Pinochet how many of his desaparecidos successfully resisted prosecution by claiming they were driven insane. Where is your witness other than the victim himself? Anyway, Pinochet (thank all that's good and decent) is now dead, and he didn't conduct trials in the first place. We're not there yet -- but let Bush get away with this atrocity and eventually we will be there.
The estimable Mr. Patel, counsel for Padilla, must be making the Bush administration sweat. This is not a favorable turn of events for Bush, especially given the recent changes in Congress. An American citizen is about to detail the "special interrogation techniques" made popular in Poland, Hungary and other CIA dungeons around the world. Unless, of course, he can be silenced again. Which may not be so easy this time - Padilla is just crazy enough to spill the beans, and the Bush Administration can thank itself for that.
Posted by Waldenswimmer at 12:22:00 PM
November 30, 2006
Viewed from this perspective, the current manufactured controversy over whether Maliki's no-show at the meet-and-greet with Bush in Amman, Jordan was or was not a "snub" fades into insignificance. One can say two things about his decision. First, it was deliberate, and the post hoc ergo propter hoc justifications for his nonappearance (it turned out a 3 way with the King and Bush wasn't "necessary" or a "productive use of time") are patent nonsense. The head of government installed by American contrivance doesn't blow off a long-planned "summit" with his benefactor because he decides, without consulting Bush, that their meeting would be a "waste of time." This is no rationale, especially when talking about Bush. All meetings with Bush are by definition a waste of time, as he proves over and over again. The purpose of his frequent international trips is to give him something to do, which in his case is to travel the world spreading ill will. It makes him look sort of like a president as he's filmed climbing on and off planes, saluting and waving, having his picture taken with heads of state.
Second, Maliki's lame excuse was deliberately transparent. It was contrived to mollify the "firebrand" cleric Muktada al-Sadr, head of the Mighty Mahdis, who had insisted that Maliki skip the meeting altogether. That was clearly too much. As pointless as the meeting was, you can't just give Bush the finger. So, as a giraffe is a horse designed by a committee, the half-snub was the compromise worked out by Maliki, al-Sadr, and, we suspect here at the Pond, the Bush Administration. Everybody looks pretty good. Maliki makes the point of his "independence." Al-Sadr looks powerful. Bush appears, as always, smilingly irrelevant and ineffective.
Next will come the news reports on "developments" in the "substantive" meeting which Bush and Maliki will hold today in Jordan. You don't need to be Merlin the Magician to predict those. Maliki will "redouble" his resolve to bring Baghdad under control. Bush will pledge U.S. support for his efforts and resist a "time table."
On Friday, another 100 Iraqis will be tortured, killed, dismembered and dumped around Iraq. Another few American GIs will die. The U.S. will add another $2 billion to the national debt. Bush will head to Camp David and Maliki will sneak back into the Green Zone under cover of darkness.
Posted by Waldenswimmer at 8:49:00 AM
November 26, 2006
"The insurgency is raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, corrupt charities and other crimes, a report concluded." New York Times, November 26, 2006.
Scene: An upstairs room at the Busharoni Olive Oil Company, New York City. The present.
Don Busharoni (speaking with a characteristic gravelly voice): I want to call a meeting of the heads of the Five Families to discuss this crisis we got. The Halliburtoni, the Bechteloso, all of them. It's like discipline, you know, are we working together or not? Don Dickarini?
Capo Dickarini (speaking with a characteristic growly baritone out of the corner of his mouth): We could go to the mattresses. Assert control. It's our territory, you know? Or we could be smart.
Don Busharoni (impatiently watching Sonny wave his hand): Yeah, okay. Sonny?
Sonny Busharoni: It's like Pop says, is our families working together? It was a deal. We wanted one thing, oil, we didn't care about the rough stuff when we moved in. We didn't start this. We whack a guy, take over, plenty for everybody. Now this.
Don Busharoni: I told the al-Tattaglia family that, straight to Ahmed al-Tattalgia's face. But now this other guy...
Capo Dickarini: Aziz ibn Solazzo.
Don Busharoni: Yeah, Aziz. I tell him that too, there's enough to go around, but this other stuff, the drugs, the kidnapping, the ransom...this we will never do, because then the political support that makes this good life possible, we will not have it.
Sonny: Pop, that's old thinking. We gotta change. If the al-Tattalgia people joins up with ibn Solazzo and takes over these profit making operation in our territory, and we don't revamp...
Don Busharoni (turning to his consigliere, Connie Rice-A-Roni): Please forgive my unruly son. The children these days do not understand when it's right to discuss things in public.
Connie Rice-A-Roni: (nodding quietly) Suppose we were to send an emissary, Don, such as the other Don, Don Rumafellio.
Don Busharoni (shaking his head gravelly, or gravely): I am sorry. It was necessary to have him whacked. He was blowing our political cover.
Connie Rice-A-Roni: Then maybe Jimmy "The Fix" Baccharini. He can talk.
Sonny Busharoni: Talk! That's all we do, Pop! Let's hit 'em hard. They understand that.
Capo Dickarini: And draw attention to the whole syndicate, eh Sonny? Smart move. Right now we control construction, we control most of the oil, we service the military, and overcharge them by building in the protection money. We run the security.
Don Busharoni: That was genius, Dickie. To literally sell them protection.
Dickerini (nodding graciously): There's enough for everybody. So the al-Tattalgias working with ibn Solazzo have figured out an angle to pick up the loose change by selling humans. I say let them have it. We're making a nice living, and the American people front us the money for it. We don't just have government protection for what we do. We are the government. Who ever thought of a better deal than that?
Don Busharoni: Capisco, Dickie.
Sonny Busharoni: We whack 'em! Bada-bing! They don't buy us out. We buy them out. We do the kidnapping! We smuggle oil. We counterfeit money.
Connie Rice-A-Roni: They're counterfeiting American money, Sonny. We'd be counterfeiting our own money.
Don Busharoni (shaking his head): Sometimes brains can skip a generation, I guess. And they're only smuggling the oil we don't steal. My son has been watching too many gangster movies. He doesn't know how to run a real racket.
Capo Dickarini (taking the Don's hand and kissing it): I'm so glad, Godfather, your steady hand is back in charge.
Posted by Waldenswimmer at 10:30:00 AM
November 20, 2006
Back in the old days, when the only good Muslim was a Muslim you never heard from again, Bush had set up his military kangaroo courts with his usual casual disregard for legal niceties, such as evidentiary rules against hearsay or anything else that an occasional viewer of "Perry Mason" or "Boston Legal" might take for granted. He did not attempt to incorporate the legal protections afforded American soldiers under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) in courts martial. He saw no problem with the admissibility of coerced confessions. If Ahmed didn't do it, why did he say he did? And in any event -- and here's the crux of Bush's entire philosophy of Guilt By Declaration: they're all guilty anyway, which is why they're locked up in the first place.
I would defy anyone to find any extended discussion or comment by George W. Bush, at any time or any place, about the "presumption of innocence" to which any defendant, American or foreign, is nominally entitled under the American system of justice. Try to discover a single instance, search your memory -- when and where did George W. Bush ever say, "Well, on the face of things, as a starting point, we don't even know if a single inmate at the Guantanamo detention facility is guilty of anything, since no one has ever been brought to trial. We begin with the presumption they are actually all innocent."
He never talks that way. It never crosses his mind that Arabs and others held at Gitmo, some for periods now nearing 5 years, are entitled to any kind of consideration, to any kind of legal avenue for reviewing the merits of any case against them. Maybe they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, maybe they aren't terrorists, maybe they never took up arms against the United States at all. The main purpose of judicial review (such as habeas corpus), at an early stage of detention, is to make certain that someone is being held on at least the basis of prima facie guilt, so that the de facto imposition of punishment, confinement for a term of years, is not meted out regardless of guilt or innocence simply because no means of redress is available.
Bush loses no sleep over any of this. Anyway, he has a fallback position. If the detainees aren't guilty of, or chareable with, any "crimes" against the United States, nevertheless they are "prisoners of war" who have been removed from the battlefield. That's where we found a lot of 'em: on the battlefield. Ergo, they're enemy soldiers who can be held until the "cessation of hostilities." When will the hostilities end? Well, how much time you got? The war against terror, as Bush has admitted, will never end. When you're fighting a noun instead of a nation or named adversary, it's difficult to have that deck-of-the-Missouri moment. The confinement at Gitmo, therefore -- also open-ended.
In that sense, Hamdan was one of the lucky ones. They charged him with something. He got his case heard, and although the Supreme Court ruled that the "conspiracy" charge against him was not a war crime cognizable in a military commission trial, the bare bones of a case could go forward against him. He could have a day in court.
Just not in any court Bush had set up as of the date of the Hamdan decision. That was the crux of the decision, the gravamen of the Court's holding. Bush's improvisational approach to criminal justice just hadn't produced anything compatible with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
And how, exactly, had Bush's quick knock-off of a trial system for Gitmo detainees run afoul of Geneva? It didn't meet this criterion:
d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
Reflect on that for a moment. Bush had devised a method of trial which did not measure up to the basic requirements of the civilized world. So it was back to the drawing board, since the Bush team now knew that Common Article 3 applied to Osama's hack. Of all the...and, hey, wait a minute! If the Geneva Conventions apply to this guy, then that means...
Posted by Waldenswimmer at 7:39:00 AM
November 14, 2006
Back in the happy-go-lucky days after September 11, when Bush could get away with nearly anything he wanted (and he wanted to get away with a lot), his naturally malevolent character motivated him to seek ways to violate the Geneva Conventions. It never mattered to George whether torture is "effective" or "productive." It doesn't matter to him whether it produces false or misleading evidence, as it undoubtedly does and has. His motivations were always malicious, and the whole giant barge of baloney floated under the "ticking time bomb" theory of justification was always way, way beside the point.
No, George wanted legal license to make certain various Sons of Allah, more or less snagged at random, suffer in ways that the civilized world prohibits, simply because Bush does not like the constraints of civilization. Why he doesn't is again entirely beside the point.
Thus it was that Bush commissioned his crack team of Inquisitors to research the law of torture and abuse and find legal loopholes that would permit him to violate the Geneva Conventions. Preferably with complete impunity. Alberto Gonzalez, at that time White House Counsel, was naturally eager to help. He had helped Bush set an American record for executions in Texas while George was Governor, and established an unblemished standard of never, ever granting clemency to any condemned convict, including the retarded and the patently insane. Gonzales, sensing the gravity (and the opportunity) of the mission, retained the help of John Yoo, a professor of law at Berkeley's Boalt Hall (the institution which has also spawned Phillip Johnson, the creationist apologist). Not surprisingly, Gonzalez and Yoo (and others eager to help, of course) found "the way forward." The al-Qaeda flotsam and jetsam falling into American hands in the mountains and poppy fields of Afghanistan weren't really humans at all. They were a kind of homo sapiens sub species known as "enemy combatants."
Bush was exultant. Waterboarding; beatings; mock executions; insanely loud music played in confined quarters for interminable periods; stress positions; the homoerotic fun of group nudity and sodomy; incarceration in dungeons and other shitholes; hypothermia; starvation and dehydration; fear, terror and intimidation. Even the occasional, lamentable death (46 at last count). All were now within the Administration's scaly grasp. What a great day for America. And on the surface of things, Bush seemed to have a pretty good case for his end-run around the norms of civilization. What law protected these untermenschen, if Article 3 read as follows?
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.
So far, so good, thought Bush & the Gang. Maybe the Taliban prisoners, as soldiers of a "High Contracting Party," (Afghanistan) were entitled to some kind of grudging civility. But the real prizes, the al-Qaeda creeps - no such luck. All bets were off. Al-Qaeda was not a signatory to anything. Not even a country, let alone a "contracting party." Crank that wheel another turn, Torquemada!
Along comes the elderly kill-joy John Paul Steves, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Writing for the Court in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld:
"The Court of Appeals thought, and the Government
asserts, that Common Article 3 does not apply to Hamdan
because the conflict with al Qaeda, being “‘international in
scope,’” does not qualify as a “ ‘conflict not of an international
character.’ ” 415 F. 3d, at 41. That reasoning is
erroneous. The term “conflict not of an international
character” is used here in contradistinction to a conflict
between nations. So much is demonstrated by the “fundamental
logic [of] the Convention’s provisions on its
application.” Id., at 44 (Williams, J., concurring). Common
Article 2 provides that “the present Convention shall
apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed
conflict which may arise between two or more of the High
Contracting Parties.” 6 U. S. T., at 3318 (Art. 2, ¶1). High
Contracting Parties (signatories) also must abide by all
terms of the Conventions vis-à-vis one another even if one
party to the conflict is a nonsignatory “Power,” and must
so abide vis-à-vis the nonsignatory if “the latter accepts
and applies” those terms. Ibid. (Art. 2, ¶3). Common
Article 3, by contrast, affords some minimal protection,
falling short of full protection under the Conventions, to
individuals associated with neither a signatory nor even a
nonsignatory “Power” who are involved in a conflict “in the
territory of” a signatory. The latter kind of conflict is
distinguishable from the conflict described in Common
Article 2 chiefly because it does not involve a clash between
nations (whether signatories or not). In context,
then, the phrase “not of an international character” bears
its literal meaning."
Upon such fine nuances may hang a man's entire future. Not so much a failure to read the fine print as a failure to appreciate the full import of the fine print. Hamdan, allegedly Osama's limo driver, was not "associated" with a signatory (the Afghan/Taliban or the United States), but he was, alas, "involved in a conflict 'in the territory' of a signatory" (Afghanistan). And, further alas, that conflict is "not of an international character" because as Bush, and Cheney, and Rumsfeld, and Addington, and Gonzalez, and Yoo, and Carbone and all the other charter members of Torture 'R Us keep insisting: Al Qaeda is not a nation, so it can't be involved in an international conflict, that is, one "between nations." Unfortunately for these future defendants (perhaps the near future, in Germany), this accurate observation had exactly the opposite effect to that hoped for.
So Common Article 3 is right on point. Oh, I know. It's so easy to figure something out once someone tells you the right answer.
Hamdan, it turns out, was a human being with rights under Article 3. Who could have imagined such a thing? The consequences of this revoltin' development, as Jimmy Durante would have said about something actually funny, will be spelled out next time.
Posted by Waldenswimmer at 9:51:00 AM
November 10, 2006
Posted Friday, Nov. 10, 2006
"Just days after his resignation, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba." Time Magazine
To say the least, there is considerable irony in the idea of German prosecution of American war crimes. The prospect of German legal proceedings against Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Carbone and others first surfaced two years ago and caused a diplomatic dust-up because of its effect on Rumsfeld's plan to attend a conference in Munich. Rumsfeld, now operating ex officio, is not faced with that difficulty anymore, although it's unlikely he's planning any idyllic sojourns in the Bavarian Alps at present. That case was terminated by the Germans on the theory the USA would deal with its own war criminals in its own way, under the complex network of American federal statutes which deal with torture and violations of the Geneva Conventions (the War Crimes Act). No doubt this rather fanciful notion served diplomatic purposes of the moment, and could not have been reflective of actual German sentiment.
Under Germany's Code of Crimes Against International Law, which was introduced in 2002, German courts have universal jurisdiction in war crimes and crimes against humanity. As another instance of irony, the U.S. largely led the way in establishing international precedent for the prosecution of war crimes following World War II, and presumably the Germans, once hoist on this petard themselves, would draw on the principles as the textual basis for a prosecution of alleged American war crimes. The USA, as noted, carries the same general principles on its own books as part of the War Crimes Act, the federal Anti-Torture Statute and the recently enacted Detainee Treatment Act (McCain bill) applying the anti-torture statute to all detainees in U.S. custody, whether or not designated "enemy combatants," an extension solidified by the decision in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld, in which the Supreme Court clarified the applicability of the Geneva Conventions to human beings in general, despite the strenuous efforts of Bush's Torture Brigade to create a special class of Untermenschen upon whom any atrocity or depraved act could be practiced with impunity, rather like another polity between 1933 and 1945.
The Supreme Court, having brought Bush up short with its Hamdan decision, motivated The Decider to decide to seek a get-out-of-jail free card in his Military Commissions Act. You may recall from an earlier Swim in the Pond that Bush was vociferous in his need, expressed in September, 2006, to get on with immediate trials at Guantanamo for his high value detainees being shipped there even as he spoke. Without risking too much sarcasm, one might note that (a) no trials are currently underway, as the Bush Administration fights mightily to deprive the inmates of counsel on the basis of Kafkaesque arguments also previously detailed, and (2) the real deadline Bush was up against was November 8, 2006, election day, when his pet Congress might turn a little unruly. The sole purpose of the MCA can be stated in the following, innocent-looking citations (the first is from the Military Commissions Act):
"(b) PROTECTION OF PERSONNEL.—Section 1004 of the Detainee
Treatment Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 2000dd–1) shall apply with respect
to any criminal prosecution that—
(1) relates to the detention and interrogation of aliens
described in such section;
(2) is grounded in section 2441(c)(3) of title 18, United
States Code; and
(3) relates to actions occurring between September 11,
(The cited section from the Detainee Treatment Act reads in full as follows:)