At yesterday’s White House press briefing, a reporter mentioned to Tony Snow that the White House has “taken a few legal hits recently on the treatment of prisoners,” particularly when it comes to detention at Guantanamo Bay. Snow hailed the terrific treatment Gitmo detainees receive, right before explaining how anxious the president is to shut the facility down. There was a bit of a disconnect.
But then there was a very noteworthy exchange.
Q: But doesn’t the indefinite holding of this many prisoners under these circumstances really undercut the President’s arguments in favor of democracy worldwide, as he just spoke about in his speech –
SNOW: Are you saying that detaining people who are plucked off the battlefields is an assault on democracy? Are you kidding me? You’re talking about the people who were responsible for supporting the Taliban, somehow detaining them is an assault on democracy?
Actually, yes, to deny prisoners due process and decide that habeas corpus no longer matters is absolutely an “assault on democracy.” That Snow seems confused about this is rather disconcerting.