The Poetry of Presidential Abuse: The D.C. Circuit Rules Against the President With “Snarky” Poem

For years, many have cited international and domestic law to show that President Bush has committed grave crimes in office. Now, the Court of Appeals has enlisted Lewis Carroll and his poem “The Hunting of the Snark” to bring home the point in it ruling against the Administration in the case of a Huzaifa Parhat, a Chinese Muslim held at Guantanamo Bay.

The Court quoted the 1876 poem to show that the Administration does little in court but repeat the same unsupported assertions and demand that the Court except them without question. The D.C. Circuit said that it was right out of “The Hunting of the Snark.” In the poem, a crew hunt an undefined creature that their leader, The Bellman, simply insists exists. The Bellman simply repeats:
“I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true,” the Bellman says in the poem.

Parhat never fought against the U.S. or threatened the United States. He was part of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a militant group seeking eparation from China.

The Court has ordered a new hearing in the case, dismissing the Administration’s prior hearing as woefully flawed and inadequate.

For the full article, click here and here.

3 thoughts on “The Poetry of Presidential Abuse: The D.C. Circuit Rules Against the President With “Snarky” Poem”

  1. From “The Hunting of the Snark” by Lewis Carroll. The particular passage from “The Barrister’s Dream” of that poem probably is a pretty good summary of how this hearing must have gone in the eyes of the appellate court, with the Snark depicting our government at its “finest”:


    But the Barrister, weary of proving in vain
    That the Beaver’s lace-making was wrong,
    Fell asleep, and in dreams saw the creature quite plain
    That his fancy had dwelt on so long.

    He dreamed that he stood in a shadowy Court,
    Where the Snark, with a glass in its eye,
    Dressed in gown, bands, and wig, was defending a pig
    On the charge of deserting its sty.

    The Witnesses proved, without error or flaw,
    That the sty was deserted when found:
    And the Judge kept explaining the state of the law
    In a soft under-current of sound.

    The indictment had never been clearly expressed,
    And it seemed that the Snark had begun,
    And had spoken three hours, before any one guessed
    What the pig was supposed to have done.

    The Jury had each formed a different view
    (Long before the indictment was read),
    And they all spoke at once, so that none of them knew
    One word that the others had said.

    “You must know —” said the Judge: but the Snark exclaimed “Fudge!”
    That statute is obsolete quite!
    Let me tell you, my friends, the whole question depends
    On an ancient manorial right.

    “In the matter of Treason the pig would appear
    To have aided, but scarcely abetted:
    While the charge of Insolvency fails, it is clear,
    If you grant the plea ‘never indebted.’

    “The fact of Desertion I will not dispute;
    But its guilt, as I trust, is removed
    (So far as related to the costs of this suit)
    By the Alibi which has been proved.

    “My poor client’s fate now depends on you votes.”
    Here the speaker sat down in his place,
    And directed the Judge to refer to his notes
    And briefly to sum up the case.

    But the Judge said he never had summed up before;
    So the Snark undertook it instead,
    And summed it so well that it came to far more
    Than the Witnesses ever had said!

    When the verdict was called for, the Jury declined,
    As the word was so puzzling to spell;
    But they ventured to hope that the Snark wouldn’t mind
    Undertaking that duty as well.

    So the Snark found the verdict, although, as it owned,
    It was spent with the toils of the day:
    When it said the word “GUILTY!” the Jury all groaned,
    And some of them fainted away.

    Then the Snark pronounced sentence, the Judge being quite
    Too nervous to utter a word:
    When it rose to its feet, there was silence like night,
    And the fall of a pin might be heard.

    “Transportation for life” was the sentence it gave,
    “And *then* to be fined forty pound.”
    The Jury all cheered, though the Judge said he feared
    That the phrase was not legally sound.

    But their wild exultation was suddenly checked
    When the jailer informed them, with tears,
    Such a sentence would have not the slightest effect,
    As the pig had been dead for some years.


  2. This ruling is very heartening. I think the court nailed the MO of the administration in everything they do with the “snark”. I am encouraged that more and more courts are not simply taking the word of this administration. Frankly, I don’t understand why anyone would.

    Disturbingly it would appear that China has been a silent partner in several (perhaps many) cases of torture.

    The courts are starting to stand up as Congress continues to stand down!

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