There's something pretty horrifying about reading this WaPo article about the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the US can detain US citizens indefinitely during wartime.
A federal appeals court ruled today that the president can indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil in the absence of criminal charges, holding that such authority is vital during wartime to protect the nation from terrorist attacks.
Of course, when one reads such an article, one thinks of the stuff one usually thinks of: isn't the idea of a federal court ruling that the president has the right to indefinitely (without charges or trial) hold a US citizen bizarre, grotesque and unconsitutional. Doesn't it seems like it could easily be arbitrarily abused, which is why the founding fathers specifically mentioned the writ of habeas corpus in the Constitution. Yes, I thought those things as I read the article.
But what really goes off scale on the horrifying-o-meter is the WaPo's correction, which says, and I'm not kidding:
Clarification to This Article
A previous online version of this story did not specify that the court ruling applied only during wartime. That has been changed in this version.
Thanks guys. Next time, please print an extra clarification that say something like this:
Clarification of the Clarification
A previous online version of this Clarification did not specify that the word "wartime" shouldn't be construed to mean that anyone has declared war on anyone else in any kind of official or legally binding sense. Or that there are any specific criteria for deciding what is a war or what isn't a war other than how the president is feeling on any given morning. Or that when the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals talks about detaining people indefinitely during "wartime" what they really mean is "whenever the president feels like he needs to call something a war to boost his poll numbers."
That would be helpful.