Quote of the day

Breaking down Justice Antonin Scalia's reasoning on detainees at Guantanamo.

By Alex Koppelman
Published June 13, 2008 3:53PM (EDT)

Scalia points to the 30 detainees released from Guantanamo -- by an order of the Bush administration, not a court, it should be noted -- who have allegedly "returned to the battlefield." One detonated a suicide bomb in Iraq in May. Scalia notes that this "return to the kill" happened even after "the military had concluded they were not enemy combatants" (italics his). So you see, even those who were deemed innocent at Guantanamo are actually guilty in Scalia's mind. And whether or not they ever get to go home, the mere act of providing them with civilian court oversight will surely endanger yet more American lives... Just to recap, then, everyone at Guantanamo is guilty, and the mere act of trying them will result in more American deaths. This raises the question of what Scalia would do with these prisoners, many of whom have been held for six years without charges. If they can't reasonably be tried or released, it must be a great comfort to believe that they are all killers and terrorists, and no further proof is needed.

That's Slate's Dahlia Lithwick, describing the logic Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia used in his dissent to the court's ruling, announced Thursday, on the legal rights of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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