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RCLU: Reptilian Civil Liberties Union

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June 19, 2008

The latest Civil Discourse comic deals with the odd application of laws at Guantánamo Bay.

While the Bush administration has argued that the Constitution and International Law magically don’t apply to detainees on the island, one U.S. law is in full effect: The Endangered Species Act, which protects Gitmo iguanas from harm. Breaking a federal law is a serious offense. Anyone caught murdering, torturing, or harshly interrogating Gitmo’s endangered wildlife could face stiff penalties.

ACLU lawyers (who were trying to protect the island’s human inhabitants) even report road signs warning drivers to slow down for iguana crossings. It’s like braking for ducklings in a park, only you’re in a lawless prison camp surrounded by razor wire.

Last week the Supreme Court finally got around to ruling on detainees’ habeas corpus rights. Turns out you can’t just set up shop on an island and detain children for half a decade without charge. Who knew? The ruling is far too late for the detainees who have already died without having their day in court. (See previous comic Swift Justice.) Hopefully, digging their graves won’t displace a peaceful family of iguanas.

That would be wrong. Not to mention illegal.