Thursday, October 12, 2006

Senator Isakson on Military Commissions Act

A while back, I sent an email to our senators expressing my dismay over the expansion of presidential powers represented by the Military Commissions Act. The following is from an email Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) just sent out:
"Dear Ms. Dobbin :

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Military Commissions Act of 2006. I am glad to hear your thoughts on the issue, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld invalidated the U.S. military commissions that were being used to prosecute enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay . It also put the U.S. terrorist interrogation program in jeopardy by holding that the Geneva Convention applies to treatment of unlawful enemy combatants. This decision prompted Congress to pass legislation to authorize military tribunals for enemy combatants. The Senate passed S.3930 to allow the United States to interrogate and try enemy combatants at Guantanamo by military tribunal, while also respecting the Geneva Convention. The bill permits necessary interrogation to continue by making explicit that interrogators can only be prosecuted under the War Crimes Act for grave breaches, including practices such as torture, murder and rape.

S. 3930 was the result of extensive negotiations between members of Congress and the Administration. One of the key points of this debate was whether to grant habeas corpus rights to enemy combatants. I voted against an amendment that would have granted such rights because I believe the right of habeas corpus is reserved only for U.S. citizens. Additionally, enemy combatants are already provided the right to challenge their detention through the Combat Status Review Tribunals, which are based on the Geneva Convention.

Another key issue in this debate was whether to add a "sunset" provision, or an expiration date, to the bill of December 31, 2011. I voted against this amendment because it is inappropriate to put an expiration date on a piece of legislation that is so critical to the Global War on Terror. I am committed to ensuring that the President of the United States has the tools he needs for as long as he needs them to prosecute those who would do us harm.

The passage of this legislation is an important milestone in defeating terrorism. September 11 th , 2001, changed the way in which we must respond to our enemies in the War on Terror, but it did not change our belief in humane treatment. We must be able to detain enemy combatants, and we must be allowed to obtain the information that will save the lives of innocent Americans. Those awaiting trial at Guantanamo Bay are intent on hurting and destroying Americans. I am pleased that we now have the tools to bring them to justice.

Thank you again for contacting me, and I hope you will not hesitate to call on me in the future if I can be of assistance to you.

Johnny Isakson
United States Senator"

That sort of thinking is why I voted for Denise Majette two years ago. I think I'm gonna be sick.

1 comment:

Wyman Brantley said...

Every time I send a letter to Isakson, I get a similar response. It is like going to some website that features a Bush-o-matic engine of some kind. All he does is spew the Republican talking points, no matter how nuanced your emails to him are.

I am just completely outraged at this latest Bush atrocity, the MCA. I am surprised people aren't out in the screaming and marching on the White House and Congress. But then I see the mainstream media ignoring the issue (except for Olbermann and a couple of others) and it makes more sense. We are surrounded by sheep.

Thanks so much for the work you do helping Jim get elected!