The annual Pentagon funding bill gives us a chance to undo the damage we did last year and restore the right of habeas corpus to enemy combatants held at Guantanamo. Will we take it? The Washington Post is skeptical:
Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) says he favors the reform. At a hearing on Guantanamo last month he said he thought Congress acted unconstitutionally in denying prisoners habeas. But Mr. Skelton didn't include the amendment in the draft bill he circulated to his committee. His staff says he concluded that the measure should be contained in a stand-alone piece of legislation, which he is said to be preparing.
That strategy is at odds both with recent legislative history and with the judgment of most congressional observers: Mr. Bush, they point out, won't hesitate to veto a bill on habeas corpus but might be induced to accept the reform if it were attached to one of the annual defense bills. That is how Congress managed to force the reform of prisoner treatment known as the McCain amendment two years ago.
We could use some spine in this matter. Will the netroots help provide it?