Senate Democrats and Iraq Vets Agree on Habeas Corpus
Senator and presidential candidate Chris Dodd (D-CT) had a great column on the Huffington Post Thursday, in which he discussed his Restoring the Constitution Act (RCA) and the need to revive America's moral authority in the world, while beginning the process of repairing a U.S. Constitution torn to shreds by the Bush administration.
"One of the saddest days in my 26-year career in the Senate occurred last fall when the Congress passed the Military Commissions Act (MCA), allowing evidence obtained through torture to be admitted into evidence, denying individuals the right to counsel, the right to invoke the Geneva Conventions," wrote Dodd. "What is at stake is whether America stands for what is right or what is wrong - whether we stand for justice that secures America or vengeance that weakens us. What is at stake is the rule of law, America's moral authority and their vital connection to America's security."
Dodd's legislation would fully repeal the MCA by, among other things, restoring the writ of habeas corpus for individuals held in U.S. custody -- which means that nobody can be held in prison indefinitely without charges based on the discretion of the Bush administration -- and sharpening the definition of "unlawful enemy combatant" to include only individuals who directly participate in active combat against the United States, and those actively involved in the attacks against us on September 11.
It also mandates that the U.S. go back to adhering to Geneva Convention obligations because, as Dodd wrote "Ã¢â‚¬Â¦America has always stood for something more and our ability to lead reflected it. Based on our moral leadership, we were able to forge alliances and respect around the world, that in turn helped to secure the nation."