Karl Rove Schools Alan Colmes on Rights of Enemy Combatants

One of the more astounding post-9/11 liberal media affectations has been the extraordinary concern press members have for how terrorists looking to kill innocent Americans are treated at detention centers.

A fine example of this occurred on Thursday's "Hannity & Colmes" when the left-leaning part of Fox News's successful duo debated former White House adviser Karl Rove about the recent Supreme Court decision granting habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Readers are advised to get a big bag of popcorn for this barnburner (video embedded right):

ALAN COLMES, HOST: Hey, Karl, this is a great decision that dates back to the Magna Carta which is habeas corpus and refers back to Yick Wo versus Hopkins which ruled on the 14th amendment...

KARL ROVE: Alan...

COLMES: ... a couple of hundred years ago...

ROVE: Alan, Alan...

COLMES: ... which mean that the constitution -- let me get this out and I'll give you a chance to reply. The constitution applies to persons, not just citizens, and that is in keeping with what the constitution says.

ROVE: Alan, never in the history of the United States in any conflict have we granted enemy combatants habeas corpus rights.

We are now setting up so that if we're involved -- can you imagine fighting World War II where we'd have to have an attorney present for every Nazi whom we had in an Arizona, in Nevada or Utah prison camp.

COLMES: You can't just hold people without telling them a right to an attorney and...

(CROSSTALK)

ROVE: With all due respect...

COLMES: (INAUDIBLE) criminal justice.

ROVE: This is not criminal justice. This is a war. With all due respect, Alan...

COLMES: When was war declared?

ROVE: ... these people are people picked up on a battlefield.

COLMES: Did Congress declare war?

ROVE: Yes, the United States Congress authorized the use of force...

COLMES: When?

ROVE: ... in October of -- excuse me, 2002.

COLMES: No, it said the president -- once he used up all other options would have the...

ROVE: They authorized the use of force...

COLMES: There was no declaration of war by the U.S. Congress.

ROVE: With all due respect, Alan, read it, it authorized the use of force.

COLMES: Was there a declaration...

ROVE: And we're using that force.

COLMES: ... of war by the U.S. Congress?

ROVE: It is the authorization of the president to use military force. We're involved in a military conflict.

COLMES: That's not a war declaration.

ROVE: We're involved in a military conflict.

COLMES: But the U.S. Congress, which by the -- if you want to go by the constitution, don't they get to declare war and they haven't done that.

ROVE: I go by the constitution, Alan. If you feel strongly about this go get yourself an ACLU attorney and file a...

COLMES: I fell very strong about it.

ROVE: File a declaration in a court saying that this is an unconstitutional war, spend the money, fight it through the courts, and you will go nowhere with it.

COLMES: Well, t may well be the case except that if you're going to go by the constitution, you're going to go by the constitution. Leftist conservatives...

ROVE: It is the constitution, Alan.

COLMES: Strict constructionist...

ROVE: Alan, it is the constitution.

COLMES: But so habeas corpus is key to our constitution.

ROVE: Alan, the -- this is the first time in the history of America in which enemy combatants have been grated the right to habeas corpus.

COLMES: Do you think the president...

ROVE: Now you can...

COLMES: Can the president by himself declare an individual enemy combatant? Is that -- isn't that the first time that one individual can determine...

ROVE: No.

COLMES: ... anybody's an enemy combatant?

ROVE: No. No, no, it isn't, in World War II and World War I, presidents of the United States held people to be enemy combatants.

COLMES: We had declarations of war.

ROVE: We have -- we have had -- Alan, this is an authorization of the use of force. You may not think that the Congress by passing a resolution authorizing the use of force really did authorize the use of force, but it did.

And when you authorize the use of force as we did in this instance, we're confronting enemies of the United States, combatants, and we ought to treat them as we have treated combatants...

COLMES: Did Congress declare war?

ROVE: ... and POWs in every other conflict.

COLMES: Amazingly, Karl and I disagree. But I hope you have a very happy Fourth of July, Karl.

ROVE: But you're still an associate.

LOWERY: Have a great Fourth.

COLMES: No, I don't know if he'll still associate with me.

All right, Karl, thanks very much.

ROVE: Alan, I love you. I hate -- even when you're as wrong as you are tonight.

COLMES: Thanks for your kind words.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.