After a mostly party-line vote in the Republican-run House of Representatives, Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said Democrats who voted against the measure "voted today in favor of more rights for terrorists." We'll come back to that.
First, Tokyo Rose died this week in Chicago. She was 90. Born Iva Toguri in Los Angeles, she was visiting relatives in Japan when World War II started. While trying to get home, she supported herself on a Japanese propaganda radio show performing comedy skits and newscasts.
After the war she was accused of being the infamous Tokyo Rose. She was convicted of treason and served six years in prison. But in 1977 President Gerald Ford pardoned her. An investigation by Ron Yates, then a Chicago Tribune reporter, revealed that her accusers recanted. They said prosecutors pressured them to lie. After her release from prison, she married and lived quietly on Chicago's north side. Iva Toguri D'Aquino ran her family's small import business until her death.
Speaker Hastert may have been mistaken. Maybe Democrats weren't voting for "more rights for terrorists." They just could have been voting for a more careful conduct of justice. Justice is more than retribution. The pursuit of justice requires a well-laid trail of safeguards and correction points, not just a trial. But one needs a sense of justice before one can plot a path to it.
Many of the "enemy combatants" held for years in Guantanamo, without access to any justice system, have now been released without charges. There was no evidence against them, or they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time when swept up and taken to prison.