Patterico's Pontifications

6/30/2007

Stashiu on Closing Guantánamo’s Camp Delta

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:28 pm

Our old friend Stashiu gives his opinion on the possible closing of Camp Delta at GTMO, in a new Patterico Hot Air post. His view might surprise you.

130 Responses to “Stashiu on Closing Guantánamo’s Camp Delta”

  1. Patterico,

    How you blog is your business … but one “racist, bigot, pro-defendant” (that’s me) reader of yours believes Patterico is the better brand.

    nk (d0f918)

  2. I think GWB will cave and bring all the terrorists here. When say, KSM walks, or turns it into a circus, or gets a relatively light sentence, or even gets released due to hostage taking somewhere in the US, Dems will be very likely be blamed.

    As they should.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  3. nk,

    If you can help me convince Hot Air’s 150,000+ daily unique visitors that they should come to my 4000-daily-uniques site, I wouldn’t bother posting over there. But it’s hard to pass on the chance to pitch ideas to an audience that is easily 37 times larger than your own.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  4. “If our soldiers break the rules, don’t we prosecute them within the military system? Why is prosecuting detainees within a military framework unfair if that’s what we do to our own troops?”

    There’s a big difference between a court martial and a tribunal. And your pal knows it. Shame.

    “There’s no question that the Democrats are pursuing the closing of Camp Delta for partisan reasons. But it still just might be the right thing to do…”

    Huh?

    Even when the Dems are right…they’re just being political?

    alphie (015011)

  5. alphie,

    Shame? Suppose you tell me the difference between a courts-martial and a tribunal? There’s not a whole lot in case you’re wondering. The rules of evidence, rights to representation, and burden of proof are almost identical. Even in a courts-martial, classified material may be withheld under specific circumstances. We have had tribunals in the past and they were, to the best of my knowledge, administered fairly.

    And I never said the Dems (or anyone who wants to close Camp Delta) were right, just that it might be the right thing to do. I assumed that context would show I meant “right” in a political sense. I think anyone in Congress or the Senate demanding that GTMO be closed is dangerously close to attempting usurpation of the President’s War Powers. Advice and funding are within their purview, not the details or final decisions in prosecuting a war.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  6. “Suppose you tell me the difference between a courts-martial and a tribunal? ”
    You’re kidding me right?
    And how long can people be held without trial?
    My god you’re a putz.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  7. Well,

    With a tribunal, the only place people found guilty can appeal is…to George W. personally.

    Our military personnel can appeal to…civilian apeals courts.

    And who are you kidding about the Gitmo detainees have the same right to confront classified evidence against them as our troops?

    I believe Patterico appended the “Dems are only doing the right thing for political gain” in his HotAir post, Stashu, not you.

    Here’s the transcipts for the tribunals that were held before they were shut down, btw:

    http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt/index.html

    The funniest question the tribunal members ask:

    Can you produce any witnesses?

    alphie (015011)

  8. America treats its adversaries better than any country in the world. It’s insane that some people want to give them the rights of US citizens, too.

    DRJ (31d948)

  9. Nice fudge, DRJ.

    Not everyone thrown into Gitmo is an advesary of America.

    alphie (015011)

  10. Your link is a blog that draws conclusions beyond what the court has said. It also appears to suffer (at first read anyway) from Bush Derangement Syndrome. For example, the court has not said the tribunals were a farce, just that they would reconsider the motion to allow detainees to challenge their detention in the U.S. court system. The nonsensical rhetoric about “… to save habeas corpus and uphold the rule of law against executive attempts to detain indefinitely, make up inadequate kangaroo-court-like procedures (and even torture, although that’s not directly at issue in these cases).” is a joke if you intend it as an example of unbiased reporting or commentary. It’s so loaded that it should be charged with DUI.

    As it stands now, detainees can have both military and civilian counsel, have access to discovery material unless it is classified (and sometimes even then), and many other similarities to the courts-martial process. If you disagree with me on this, explain where tribunals are significantly different and I’ll listen respecfully. Name-calling and nonsense will just get you ignored.

    There would have been tribunals years ago if there weren’t so many people throwing up all the roadblocks they possibly could so GTMO would look bad. As far as how long someone can be held without trial, traditionally until hostilities ceased. Some of them should be held for life because they will never leave the fight, no matter how many imams tell them that jihad is wrong, or even over. They want to kill us and they won’t allow anything to change that.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  11. True, Alphie. Some are enemies of our allies.

    DRJ (31d948)

  12. The “evidence” required to hold combatants is that they were found bearing arms against or supporting forces fighting the US or its allies.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  13. Nice, Robin,

    Many of the detainees were taken from their beds and turned in to us for the $5000 bounty we were offering.

    alphie (015011)

  14. I see that AF is on a roll now that he has discovered a new term of derision for those he disagrees with, while still failing to discover a winning argument.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  15. Alphie, how much was the informant paid that turned in Dillinger?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  16. alphie,

    With a tribunal, the only place people found guilty can appeal is…to George W. personally.

    Our military personnel can appeal to…civilian apeals courts.

    Typically, you cannot appeal a courts-martial in a civilian appeals court. There are military courts that handle appeals. But even if that point was conceded (I’ve heard of it happening in very rare cases… usually the court dismisses the motion because they don’t have jurisdiction), that isn’t a difference from a courts-martial, it’s a difference in the aftermath. I’m pretty sure the appeal process in a tribunal does not go directly to President Bush, but if you can show me where it does I’d really appreciate it. Isn’t the real truth that the appeal process is not fully set because the tribunal process has been continually challenged by detainee counsel?

    The funniest question the tribunal members ask:

    Can you produce any witnesses?

    That is funny, but I have heard of some pretty stupid things out of a lot of legal proceedings here in the U.S. courts. That doesn’t mean the tribunal process is inherently unfair or significantly different than a courts-martial.

    Not everyone thrown into Gitmo is an advesary of America.

    Many of them claim that they’re not an enemy of America, but I’d like to know how you confirmed it. I believe the point was valid as we do treat detainees and prisoners better than anywhere else I know of. It doesn’t mean that non-citizens should have all the options available to citizens.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  17. Many of the detainees were taken from their beds and turned in to us for the $5000 bounty we were offering.

    Again, it’s been claimed, but where’s the proof that they weren’t in the fight? Saddam was found in a hole in the ground (with a price on his head) but wasn’t fighting at the time. That didn’t make him a friend of ours.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  18. Innocent until proven guilty, remember, Stashu?

    alphie (015011)

  19. Wrong standard, alphie. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a presumption that applies to criminal trials – there is no requirement for such a high burden of proof for the detention of a combatant – as that is not a criminal proceeding.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  20. That dog won’t hunt alphie. Are you trying to say that someone can’t be detained until proven guilty? Sorry, but lot’s of people are held awaiting trial, even in the U.S. court system. Let the tribunals go forward and they’ll have their day in court.

    The next time you try to hoist someone by their own petard, try not to pull on your own skirt instead. Notice that I didn’t succumb to the temptation to call you a dirty name, but it’s difficult when you imply that I would endorse un-American values like saying someone was guilty before it was proven. I think I’ve posted enough here it’s safe for me to say you were taking an unwarranted cheap shot. Shame. (See? That’s hoisting someone by their own petard.)

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  21. I linked to the guantanamo archives of one law blog.
    There’s a lot there. Spend some time.You might learn something.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  22. For each detainee at Guantánamo there is an American Private, USA or USMC, who claimed that the guy was shooting at him. According to alphie, that soldier is a liar, a vicious, rights-trampling storm trooper who invaded a private home and ripped the poor innocent fellow from the bosom of his family.

    For each detainee there is an American Sergeant who approved taking the guy captive after hearing from the Private and others on the scene. According to alphie, that Sergeant is a careless, fuckwitted weasel who failed to take elementary precautions to insure only appropriate prisoners were taken.

    For each detainee there is an American lieutenant who, after hearing from the Sergeant, the Private, and others who were involved, approved keeping the guy as a prisoner. According to alphie, that lieutenant is not only just as careless and fuckwitted as the Sergeant, he also showed gross irresponsibility by authorizing the vast expenditure necessary to keep and guard a prisoner when the guy should have been released.

    Above the lieutenant was a captain, and above him a major, a lieutenant colonel, a colonel, and finally a general, all of whom had to approve keeping the guy prisoner, all of whom had a responsibility to determine that that was the wrong thing to do, and all of whom (according to alphie) defaulted on their responsibilities.

    But alphie supports the troops! He (?) says so, repeatedly.

    It therefore follows that alphie can be ignored; he (?) is a lying, fuckwitted weasel of a storm trooper who ignores or defaults on the most minimal standards of human rights, just like the people he supports. By proxy only, it must be added; he isn’t even brave enough to give his real name, and can’t be expected to do anything so dangerous in propria persona.

    Regards,
    Ric

    Ric Locke (cfa5a1)

  23. Why would I spend time at a BDS blog? I already know how psychotic people function.

    What significant difference is there between a courts-martial and a tribunal? You didn’t answer. I brought up how they were similar and you called me a name… tell me how I was wrong if you think so. Today is the first day in a long time that I’ve been online for any length of time, so I’m not familiar with your posting style. Are you just a troll? I can handle trolls, but don’t want to assume. Defend your position coherently or you may as well go play at KOS.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  24. Innocent until proven guilty, remember, Stashu?

    According to what? And let’s remember, the only thing you need to be guilty of to be a POW is being on the other side.

    Pablo (99243e)

  25. Ric,

    Thats simply not the case. Some of these guys were picked up at border crossing simply because their name was on a list. We’ve all seen how well that works here for airline passengers.

    On a day where it looks like we may have killed 100 Afghanistan civilians:

    http://tinyurl.com/33wna3

    it almost seems silly debating whether we should give detainees the right to prove their innocence or not.

    Of course we should.

    Hearts and minds is the goal.

    alphie (015011)

  26. Ric you’re so full of sh-t your eyes are brown
    Stashiu3, I linked to a whole page. Here are some of the links you would ahve found there:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/washington/26gitmo.html?ex=1335240000&en=3035955494c0f735&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
    Court Asked to Limit Lawyers at Guantánamo

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/guantanamo/story/0,,2062387,00.html
    “No fairytales allowed”
    Lawyer Clive Stafford Smith has 36 clients in Guantánamo

    http://sdfla.blogspot.com/2006/10/federal-defenders-secure-release-of.html
    Federal Defenders secure release of “enemy combatant” shepherd

    http://www.talkleft.com/story/2006/06/12/417/58825
    One of Guantanamo Suicides Not Informed He Was Scheduled for Release

    From the first link
    “The Pentagon’s data show that only 8 percent of the prisoners at the base are even alleged to have been Al Qaeda fighters–assuming the allegations against them are true.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6242891.stm
    Heard agout the Uighurs haven’t you?
    How many more links do you want, to things you won’t even bother to read?
    Sorry about the technique but that’s the only way to beat the spam filter.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  27. Alphie, you don’t seem to understand a basic issue. The question of whether or not someone is an enemy combatant is not a criminal issue of “guilt” or “innocence”. Its not a criminal case, it is a case of detaining a combatant. In WWII, German and Japanese POW’s were not given the trial where the government had to “prove” that they were actually combatants. The idea is fatuous.

    But giving the Guatanamo detainees a hearing is something that has never been done historically, the idea that it would have a criminal burden of proof just more vapid than the rest of your ideas.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  28. Ric you’re so full of sh-t your eyes are brown
    Stashiu3, I linked to a whole page. Here are some of the links you would ahve found there:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/washington/26gitmo.html?ex=1335240000&en=3035955494c0f735&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
    Court Asked to Limit Lawyers at Guantánamo
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/guantanamo/story/0,,2062387,00.html
    “No fairytales allowed”
    Lawyer Clive Stafford Smith has 36 clients in Guantánamo
    http://sdfla.blogspot.com/2006/10/federal-defenders-secure-release-of.html
    Federal Defenders secure release of “enemy combatant” shepherd

    AF (4a3fa6)

  29. http://www.talkleft.com/story/2006/06/12/417/58825
    One of Guantanamo Suicides Not Informed He Was Scheduled for Release

    From the first link
    “The Pentagon’s data show that only 8 percent of the prisoners at the base are even alleged to have been Al Qaeda fighters–assuming the allegations against them are true.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6242891.stm
    Heard agout the Uighurs haven’t you?

    How many more links do you want, to things you won’t even bother to read?
    Sorry about the technique but that’s the only way to beat the spam filter.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  30. “In summer 2005, the Bush administration announced that 70 percent of the base’s prisoners had been slated for release because they were not a threat. It never happened.

    Though some were released, most of the prisoners continue to languish at Guantanamo and, the administration says, may be held there for the rest of their lives, with no evidence presented against them and no opportunity to plead their case in court.

    Much of the problem has to do with the words and definitions the administration uses.

    Being an enemy combatant does not mean a prisoner did anything wrong, the administration said in documents written by the Department of Defense in 2004.”

    AF (4a3fa6)

  31. The basic issue, Robin?

    All you’re telling us are the adjustments to the facts you’ve made in your mind so you don’t have to think about this issue.

    Many of the detainees in Guantanamo, plus tens of thousands more we have stuffed in holes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere were picked up at border crossing, coffee houses or even cashiered in their own beds by drug addicts in need of the cash we were offering for warm bodies.

    They deserve a fair hearing.

    We need to give them one if we’re ever going to win the war on terror.

    alphie (015011)

  32. Alphie, adjustments to my mind? The usual routine of yours to insinuate mental illness among those who disagree with you is an old and despicable tactic that well befits your lack of actual argument.

    The claim that we “have” to apply ridiculous standards to the detainees to ‘win’ the war on terror is ludicrous. Our opponents don’t give any hearings, they behead all their prisoners. Whether or not there is a particular standard of proof to detention is an issue that the supposed audience in the Islamic world has no understanding of whatsoever. Its a fatuous claim.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  33. Stashiu3,

    It’s a pleasure and an education to read your thoughts about GTMO in Patterico’s post and these comments. I hope you come back often.

    DRJ (31d948)

  34. OOh, AF, did I hurtum’s feewings?

    The ironic thing is — there is a traditional treatment for people whose status resembles that of the Guantánamo detainees: summary execution. Simple, easy, quick, no lawyers involved. It doesn’t even cost ammo, because a K-Bar is entirely sufficient. And there’s lots of precedent, in fact several millenia of precedent from all known cultures that have ever participated in war.

    There is at least some chance that the detainees’ families will see them again. They aren’t moldering away in a shallow grave somewhere, and perhaps the horse will sing. I think that, originally, Bush had it in the back of his mind that allowing people to live who would normally be automatically reduced to buzzard food would get him at least some recognition on humanitarian grounds.

    Silly George.

    But go ahead, guys, continue with your legalisms and your utter destruction of the Geneva Conventions by rendering them entirely one-sided. I note that there aren’t any new prisoners down Cuba way. Care to make the obvious inference?

    Stashiu, as regards alphie, what you see is what you get. You can’t call him a troll — he’s far too persistent — but the Laws of Thermodynamics on alphieworld are:

    1)George Bush is unfit to rule Mordor because he isn’t smart enough;
    2)Anything said that accuses Americans of evildoing is by that accusation established as absolute truth, whole and entire;
    3)Anything said by an American that is not an anguished mea culpa for wrongdoing is a flat lie deserving of punishment.

    Given those ground rules, it is possible to generate an alphie-post on almost any subject. It’s a fairly disgusting form of solitaire, though.

    Regards,
    Ric

    Ric Locke (cfa5a1)

  35. I’m not accusing you of mental illness, Robin.

    Rationlizations are perfectly normal.

    Few people could get through life without them.

    alphie (015011)

  36. Its a juvenile form of argument, alphie. But expected from you.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  37. “The Pentagon’s data show that only 8 percent of the prisoners at the base are even alleged to have been Al Qaeda fighters”

    ““In summer 2005, the Bush administration announced that 70 percent of the base’s prisoners had been slated for release because they were not a threat. It never happened.

    “One of Guantanamo Suicides Not Informed He Was Scheduled for Release”

    Ric Locke: “The ironic thing is — there is a traditional treatment for people whose status resembles that of the Guantánamo detainees: summary execution.”

    Hurt my feeling son?
    No, just bored

    AF (4a3fa6)

  38. Stashiu, what you (and some of the people commenting on in this blog) is that GTMO violates the Ceasar’s wife principle.
    The USA comes into this conflict with the jihadis saying it is defending, among other things, the rule of law and what is now called “human rights”.
    It then proceeds to ignore the rule of law, etc.
    Are you surprised that people think the USA is being hypocritical? Are you surprised that people think that if we don’t really follow the rule of law,etc. then why should they?
    The thing to remember is not what the jihadis do, but what we, the USA, say we do. If we demonstrate that we respect the rule of law and individual rights, then we have a chance of people believing us and imitating our example.
    The jihadis live in a marsh, so to speak,and the way to kill them off is to drain the marsh so they have no food and can not reproduce. And how do we drain the marsh? By persuading the Moslem world that our values are the ones they should imitate.

    At the moment we are doing a awful job of doing that. If anything, we are giving evidence to the Moslem world that the jihadis are right about us, and that they should support the jihadis. Closing GTMO, and having the tribunal process done in an open manner, will do a good deal to reverse that.
    Even just having the tribunals done openly without closing GTMO would do a good deal.

    There is also the fact that, according to the vast majority of the information that has reached the US public, that the tribunal process is heavily biased against the detainees and that many of the detainees were not actual combatants but simply people turned in by locals whose veracity may or may not be reliable. Your comments, here and at Hot Air, cast some doubt on the information that the public is getting. If the picture painted in the media is false, then the US military needs to do a better job in getting the word out.

    kishnevi (cc2e2d)

  39. You keep repeating that quote like it means anything, AF.

    Of course you conveniently fail to note that the reason they haven’t been released where appropriate is that they haven’t had hearings, and they haven’t had hearings because you and your allies declared that the people appointed to hear their cases were all venal, self-serving criminals anxious to cover up their wrongdoing. Whom you support. Because they’re troops.

    You don’t want trials. You want circuses, with Ramsey Clark! and Jimmy Carter! and news vans with 24/7 satellite feeds, and deep thoughts from Hollywood celebrities, and 1,000 elephants.

    Never fear, I have a solution. It means you don’t get your circus, but neither does Bush get to joy in planting his jackboot in their faces any more. Stashiu is right. Camp Delta should be closed, and the detainees released. They should each be given:

    1)A new suit of clothes in the styles and fabrics they specify;
    2)A first-class plane ticket to Kabul;
    3)$1,000 in cash for incidental expenses;
    4)10 lb. of “Compound, Explosive, Composition Four”; and
    5)Two (2) detonators with timers.

    They should then be released, at noon Zulu (0800 EDT) of a Tuesday, on the sidewalk in front of CBS headquarters in New York. What could possibly go wrong?

    Regards,
    Ric

    Ric Locke (cfa5a1)

  40. Who knew there were so many drama queens on the right?

    No circuses needed, just fair trials, ric.

    alphie (015011)

  41. For each detainee at Guantánamo there is an American Private, USA or USMC, who claimed that the guy was shooting at him.

    I call bullsh-t. Would you like to arrange a cash bet? Many of these men are not battlefield detainees. This man , for example, may be a Taliban/Al Qaeda courier, but he is in no way a battlefield detainee or an unlawful out-of-uniform franc-tireur.

    The ignorance of the remaining Bushbots is really amazing, that with perfect confidence and not bothering to check Google someone could make a statement like the one I have quoted.

    And a message for Stashiu: your argument that the tribunals would have happened long ago except for the court cases has some holes. The first is that until the detainees started filing court cases, there weren’t any plans for tribunals except at the whim of the President. The second is that the detainees are winning some of these cases against long odds, so presumably they had merit. (The SCOTUS granted cert yesterday in order to hand Bush another Gitmo defeat, best guess.) The third is that Bush, Alice-in-Wonderland style, decreed “unlawful combatant” first and tribunal second, rather defeating legitimate tribunals’ purpose. And, finally, the gradual convergence of the Gitmo hearing with military tribunal standards (which still has a long way to go) is a result of the very court cases you decry. The original plans were the very essence of kangaroo courts.

    We’re supposed to be fighting for the rule of law, right? Or are the non-Democrats fighting for something else?

    Andrew J. Lazarus (ec051d)

  42. There are a couple of problems with this whole process:

    First – People operating out of uniform under cover of the civilian population are not covered by the Geneva Convention.

    Second – If you decide to give unlawful enemy combatants the rights of the Geneva Convention then you cannot try them in civil court.

    It is hard to take a middle road.

    Davod (3392f5)

  43. Andrew:

    How hard is it to declare someone not in uniform an enemy combatant after he was picked up on the battlefield just after he killed a medic.

    Some of these may have slightly different circumstances but not by much.

    Bringing the legal system into everything is not the answer.

    Davod (3392f5)

  44. kishnevei,

    It then proceeds to ignore the rule of law, etc.

    The rule of what law?

    Andrew,

    We’re supposed to be fighting for the rule of law, right?

    Same question.

    Pablo (99243e)

  45. Not everyone thrown into Gitmo is an advesary of America.

    Many of them claim that they’re not an enemy of America, but I’d like to know how you confirmed it.

    Stashui3: it seems to me that this is somewhat backwards. How was it confirmed that these people are adversaries of America?

    Allowing the executive, without any check from somewhere else, to classify people as ‘enemies of America’ and detain them indefinitely is dangerous: sooner or later some executive will decide to abuse that power. There must be some sort of independent review of that classification.


    Robin Roberts, at #19: Granted that the presumptions are different for criminal trials than for combatant detentions, what institutional mechanisms are in place to keep the President from naming non-combatants as combatants and detaining them? (Note: I am *not* alleging that this has been done; I am alleging that this *could* be done, and enquiring how the system would prevent it).

    Robin, at #27: In WWII, German and Japanese POW’s were not given the trial where the government had to “prove” that they were actually combatants. But surely it is easier to classify combatants in uniform than it is to classify terrorists, and the risk of misclassifying someone when the enemy you are fighting consists entirely of irregulars out of uniform is higher.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  46. It seems to me that the standard – a noble one to be sure – that it’s better that a thousand guilty men go free to prevent one innocent man from being jailed – simply cannot be used in these types of circumstances where the men being set free are not bank robbers or tax evaders.

    No, it’s men who do things like this.

    Applying the standards and rules that we use to prosecute criminal defendants simply are unworkable when apprehending terrorists. We’ve never done it before; no nation has.

    In the end, some sort of mix of military commissions or tribunals with limited oversight by civilian courts (much as we have now with the Detainee Treatment Act and the 9th Federal District Court) is about the best we can do.

    Will mistakes be made? Sure, we’re dealing with humans operating in a war environment. But if the standard is perfection – as some seem to demand – then, as the saying goes, the terrorists really will have won.

    SteveMG (419517)

  47. aphrael, with respect to the difficulty of classifying terrorists who are out of uniform, in part that risk is a benefit, not a disadvantage. It means that persons who bear arms w/o uniform are taking a risk as they should.

    I find it interesting that the military’s version of events is automatically discounted by Bush opponents but the detainees stories are all credited as automatically truthful. It should be obvious that the reality is in between.

    With respect to the prevention of picking up civilians, first of all, there really is nothing to prevent the President from just “naming” someone – and there never has been. Lincoln did it, Woodrow Wilson did it and FDR did it. The real check against that is the power of impeachment by Congress and that has always been the bottom line. Outside of that kind of abuse, the military has an incentive to sort out who are civilians because there is limited resources to waste holding and interrogating people w/o any information. Unfortunately, some people will be detained for some period of time while this is sorted out. Unfortunately civilians suffer in war zones.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  48. “when apprehending terrorists. We’ve never done it before; no nation has.”

    Let me amend that before someone jumps me.

    When apprehending enemy alien non-uniformed combatants captured overseas during a time of war.

    That should cover my fanny some.

    SMG

    SteveMG (419517)

  49. No circuses needed, just fair trials, ric.

    Riiiiiiight.

    That would be a lot more convincing if we didn’t have Stashiu’s testimony — confirming what was learned from other sources — that the detainees are specifically instructed to do everything they can to create a circus if tried. But, of course, Stashiu is one of the troops (whom you support) and is therefore automatically assumed to be a lying stormtrooper wannabee anxious to deny basic civil rights so that he may joyously stomp their faces in.

    It would be even more convincing if we didn’t have the evidence of the other trials of those of analogous status, which have inevitably and invariably become three-ring media circuses lacking only the 1,000 elephants.

    The only thing the tribunals you have so contemptuously rejected lack is the opportunity for Pinch and CBS to sell ad space, unless you are also automatically assuming that the troops (whom you support) are venal at best, criminally dishonest at worst. The only realistic conclusion is that you don’t want trials, you want opportunities to posture, and are willing to give the detainees the same opportunity in order to get yours.

    Regards,
    Ric

    Ric Locke (cfa5a1)

  50. The USA comes into this conflict with the jihadis saying it is defending, among other things, the rule of law and what is now called “human rights”.
    It then proceeds to ignore the rule of law, etc.

    Part of the problem is that what a lot of people describe is not the “rule of law”, but the “rule of law as I believe it should be”. Also, I don’t know of anyone in the administration claiming that everyone in GTMO was a part of al-Quaida… far from it. The fact is there are both al-Quaida and other enemies detained at GTMO who we had reason to believe were fighting against us and our allies. Another fact is that you don’t know what evidence there was or how credible it was, but assume that it’s not. In Patterico’s earlier series, I mentioned that there was not a single detainee that I would want released. Even though there are some that I wouldn’t object to, I wouldn’t advocate for any of them. The reasons for that are my own and won’t be discussed. I’m not the one making the decisions though.

    And a message for Stashiu: your argument that the tribunals would have happened long ago except for the court cases has some holes. The first is that until the detainees started filing court cases, there weren’t any plans for tribunals except at the whim of the President. The second is that the detainees are winning some of these cases against long odds, so presumably they had merit. (The SCOTUS granted cert yesterday in order to hand Bush another Gitmo defeat, best guess.) The third is that Bush, Alice-in-Wonderland style, decreed “unlawful combatant” first and tribunal second, rather defeating legitimate tribunals’ purpose. And, finally, the gradual convergence of the Gitmo hearing with military tribunal standards (which still has a long way to go) is a result of the very court cases you decry. The original plans were the very essence of kangaroo courts.

    Why should tribunals even start before hostilities have ended? Were there no non-combatants taken prisoner by the Axis Powers (or the Allies for that matter) during WWII? Of course there were. Was their release even considered before the war ended? Not usually. You have to remember that the other side executes anyone they suspect of being against them, helping us, or even watching a Western movie. We’ve already taken the moral high-ground, except in the minds of the “America-is-always-wrong” crowd. On the battlefield, it is guilty until proven innocent in any case with gray areas. Anything less is eventual suicide, not only of the troops involved, but of the war itself.

    Please show where I have decried a single court case involving GTMO detainees. I have no problem with our Executive Branch or Judicial Branch, even though I might wish for different decisions at times. I happen to believe that our system is self-correcting and mostly gets things right. Even when President Clinton was in office I believed he was doing the best job he could as he thought it should be done. I didn’t agree with all of his decisions either, but I don’t believe him to be “evil” or the “worst President ever” as the BDS sufferers of today claim of President Bush.

    Now, the Legislative Branch… [grin]

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  51. in part that risk is a benefit, not a disadvantage. It means that persons who bear arms w/o uniform are taking a risk as they should.

    Agreed, insofar as the people being classified as terrorists were bearing arms. But insofar as there could be people who were not bearing arms who inadvertantly get so classified, it’s not a benefit.

    I find it interesting that the military’s version of events is automatically discounted by Bush opponents

    I have not discounted the military’s version of events; i’m being a bit more nuanced than that. I’m saying that, regardless of whether or not the current administration is abusing this power, the power can be abused and, as you note in your comment, has historically been abused, and I think it’s important that there be a robust check on the power to minimize that abuse.

    The real check against that is the power of impeachment by Congress and that has always been the bottom line.

    That’s a fairly blunt instrument, and some sort of independant judicial review strikes me as being a better instrument. I’m not a zealot here; for non-citizens, appealable tribunal review with different rules than those found in the civilian courts is sufficient in my mind — but it must be appealable to the judiciary, not just to agencies within the executive.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  52. appealable tribunal review with different rules than those found in the civilian courts is sufficient in my mind — but it must be appealable to the judiciary,

    Why isn’t the process in the Detainee Treatment Act, which permits the detainees to appeal their detention to the 9th Circuit, acceptable?

    And even if they’re turned down there, they may still appeal to SCOTUS. Same as with all other Americans.

    As to the military commissions, perhaps some sort of final one shot review also by the Ninth would work.

    But critics still won’t accept that.

    SteveMG (419517)

  53. No circuses needed, just fair trials, ric

    Alphie and his friends don’t want a “fair trial”.

    They want a perfect trial. Years of litigation, every “i” dotted and “t” crossed.

    After all, in our adversarial legal system, defense attorneys are out to get their clients cleared of the charges. Their goal is not to determine the guilt or innocence. If they can get their client cleared due to technical errors or blips in the law, they’ll do so.

    The danger with that is that letting bank robbers go doesn’t do too much harm.

    Unfortunately, we’re not facing an organized group of bank robbers.

    EricH (419517)

  54. That’s a fairly blunt instrument, and some sort of independant judicial review strikes me as being a better instrument. I’m not a zealot here; for non-citizens, appealable tribunal review with different rules than those found in the civilian courts is sufficient in my mind — but it must be appealable to the judiciary, not just to agencies within the executive.

    I agree that impeachment is a very blunt instrument, and in today’s political climate, probably impossible to implement. Once trials are held, there should be redress if there is any evidence that a mistake could have been made or justice was not served (not always the same). My personal opinion is that appeals should not be automatic, but based on merit. I also think the military should conduct the appeals. The check on abuse of power is the fact that everyone in the military is accountable to the civilian leadership and can be relieved of duty if they engage in misconduct. It’s a military matter and should remain so. Putting it into the civilian system creates chaos because the civilian courts do not understand the special environment involved in warfare. Just to mention, your point about this being for non-citizens is very well-taken. I believe that citizens can, and should, be prosecuted in the civilian courts where feasible. Since this is already being done, we should remember that all this is about non-citizens. They should not get all the benefits of our system of government because they refuse the obligations that come with those benefits.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  55. Lets close the UN instead we sure can do without this nest of vipers

    krazy kagu (5006b4)

  56. Two points:
    1- When did Gitmo become GTMO?

    2- Unlawful enemy combatants, and what to do with them:
    As has been mentioned before, in earlier conflicts this problem was handled in the field on an ad-hoc basis. It would probably be to our benefit if we could return to that process. Detainess could be held for 72-hrs for interrogation; and, if found to be not an unlawful enemy combattant, released to civil authority of the country where they were detained (or their country of nationality – our choice); or, if found to be an unlawful enemy combattant, executed. It would be essential that all releases would be after photos, fingerprints and DNA were taken to ensure that if any future detainment were to happen, they could properly be ID’d as an unlawful enemy combattant and executed.

    We have to decide whether or not we wish to survive, or succumb. I, for one, have made that decision, and will conduct myself appropriately.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  57. Pablo and Stashiu–
    The “rule of law” I have in mind is the abstract American ideal, which includes, inter alia, judicial proceedings open to public scrutiny, and a chance for the accused (in this case, the detainee) to adequately mount a rebuttal or defense. Whatever else may be true of the present process, it certainly lacks those two things.
    Also, from the information published in the press, the pressure to “convict” (that is, declare the detainee a combatant) by this administration is a fact, and calls into question the suitability of of appeal to any entity which answers to the Commander in Chief. However, the same would probably be true if the Commander in Chief was named Hillary Clinton.

    Notice, I said “open to public scrutiny”. A transcript available to the press within a definite time of the tribunal’s decision would satisfy that: it does not mean trials here on American soil with public galleries.

    As for us having the moral high ground, the problem is that we don’t, not only with the “America is pure evil” crowd, but with the vast majority. Claiming to represent truth justice and the democratic way of life, but then doing things that seem in direct conflict with that go a long way to losing the moral high ground. It’s the Ceasar’s wife principle: you can’t even appear to do something wrong, even if in all the circumstances it is actually the “right” thing to do. If the USA is Ceasar’s wife, we may be as chaste as an oldfashioned nun, but in front of the world we are acting like an adulterous slut.

    kishnevi (8731ef)

  58. Kishnevi, our opponents behead their prisoners after viciously torturing them ( like with irons and knives, not with loud rock music ). Of course we have the high moral ground – its silly to claim otherwise.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  59. Y’know, this whole controversy could be eliminated (stay with me) with one act: The terrorists simply wear uniforms (or some sort of identifying clothing).

    They do that, they get afforded Geneva protections (no interrogations, et cetera) and no trials, military or civilian.

    For the life of me, I don’t know why they don’t see the wisdom in this act.

    EricH (419517)

  60. Robin,

    Do you have any idea how many of our soldiers are currently on trial for murders committed in Iraq?

    And where do rank these helicopter pilots in your personal morality scale?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6239896.stm

    or these bomber pilots?

    http://tinyurl.com/2tzstw

    Eric,

    Should they wear their uniforms to bed?

    Just in case?

    alphie (015011)

  61. Another Drew,

    GTMO is the military abbreviation, Gitmo is the popular abbreviation in the press and the civilian community. I tend to go back and forth, essentially as the whim strikes me. Sorry if it’s confusing.

    kishnevi,

    That’s exactly my point… everyone’s idea of the rule of law is different. I think you may be trying to hold too high a standard, maybe an impossible one. You made a point of emphasizing “open to public scrutiny”. I would contend that doesn’t mean in real-time. Transcripts are being released as was noted earlier. The procedures that are anticipated are open to public review and speculation or there would be no controversy until proceedings were complete. Doesn’t that meet your conditions? As to adequate defense, I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard of a defendent who believed their defense was adequate, at least until and unless they were found to be not guilty. Detainees do get to defend themselves and have both military and civilian representation. Shouldn’t we wait until we have some outcomes before we decide what is adequate and what is not?

    Administration pressure to convict is not a fact… it has been contended. Given that we have bent over backwards in every area I witnessed to avoid even the appearance of improper behavior, I would classify this as another “throw it up against the wall to see if it sticks” allegation until proven otherwise. No individual, government, or even principle can meet everyone’s version of ideal. Our enemies recognize only our flaws (kind of like many people in both political parties), our friends see both good and bad. We’re never going to be perfect, but we’re certainly doing much better than our enemies and we continually try to improve. We do have the moral high ground.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  62. Alphie, ever been in the military?
    Are you aware that military personnel have identifying marks on all of their clothing?
    How else does the base laundry distinguish between 1000’s of otherwise identical t-shirts, etc.? I know that all of my stuff was marked “K-4521″; but then, that was back during the Pleistocene Age.
    So, since it was military policy that you slept in your shorts and t-shirt, if I was captured whilst asleep, my capturers would be able to determine that I was a member of a recognized, national armed force, and in fact was in uniform.
    As remarked earlier, all they have to do to come under the protections of the GC, is to begin wearing a proper uniform, that would be recognized by all other nations.
    Of course, it would help if they also recognized the GC, and extended it’s protections to those combattants that they capture.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  63. Stashiu3 –
    Thanks for the clarification. Have known several Navy and Marine pers over the years and just assumed that the written version was the same as the spoken.
    Thank you for your service.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  64. alphie,

    That dog won’t hunt either… and don’t EVER say you support the troops. There are bad acts, crimes committed, and mistakes made in every single organization that involves human beings. To point out only the crimes (alleged crimes as I’m not really familiar with all the facts in your stories) committed while ignoring the thousands of kindnesses, good deeds, and heroic actions of the majority is not only disingenuous, it’s reprehensible.

    In case you forgot, we hold these people in contempt and prosecute them. Our enemy hails their people who do these things as heroes. Please print this entire thread, fold the pages until they are all very sharp corners, and then… well, figure it out. I’ve got nothing more to say to you.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  65. “The Pentagon’s data show that only 8 percent of the prisoners at the base are even alleged to have been Al Qaeda fighters”

    ““In summer 2005, the Bush administration announced that 70 percent of the base’s prisoners had been slated for release because they were not a threat. It never happened.

    “One of Guantanamo Suicides Not Informed He Was Scheduled for Release”

    No response to these… again.
    The links are up there. The quotes are there. And nothing.
    Just more generalizations and bullshit.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  66. Alphie:
    “Should they wear their uniforms to bed?

    Just in case?”

    Please.

    Sometimes, it is said, we can get better answers by asking better questions.

    Such as: Why don’t they wear uniforms? Or identifying clothing? Or operate away from civilian areas? Et cetera, et cetera.

    Hmm?

    It’d be nice if critics would express a few misgivings about the behavior of these folks. And recognize, at the same time, that it’s their behavior which is causing this legal mess.

    Right, but civilian trials (no chain of custody problems on the battlefield? Discovery? Miranda? Endless appeals) will solve all of this.

    EricH (419517)

  67. For the life of me, I don’t know why they don’t see the wisdom in this act.

    EricH, it wouldn’t be wise for them (from their perspective) because they would quickly be wiped out. They’re not interested in winning the military conflict, they just want us to lose as they advance their own agenda. Convert, enslave, or kill… by any means necessary and it’s all good because it’s commanded by Allah. They’re just as happy to be able to claim they were just minding their own business when the evil and decadent United States came along and purchased them for 5 grand. And who knows? They might get the benefit of the doubt and be able to return to the fight.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  68. Stash,

    You, Robin and the pro-war crowd insist on judging all Muslims by the acts of a very small minority of Muslims.

    “Moral” people tend to do that.

    Many of the insurgents in Iraq have changed their tactics to minimize the civilian casualties that our troops caused when they shot back.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    Judge all the people we’re fighting by the acts of a few crazies, judge all American troops based on Abu Ghraib and Haditha.

    Pretty simple.

    alphie (015011)

  69. You, Robin and the pro-war crowd insist on judging all Muslims by the acts of a very small minority of Muslims.

    Noalphie. You insist on imputing that line of thought on all those who disagree with you. As usual, you’re projecting your own failures on to your opponents. You’re making that erroneous blanket judgment. And strangely enough, none of the people you’re talking about are people who want you dead.

    Pablo (99243e)

  70. Alphie, again you are inventing things from whole cloth. I do not “insist on judging all Muslims by the acts of a small minority of Muslims”. At no time have I done so.

    Misrepresenting the statements of others is simply dishonest. Not to mention hypocrisy.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  71. kishnevi,

    The “rule of law” I have in mind is the abstract American ideal,

    And you want to apply this to combatants in wartime? They’re not interested in the American ideal, except to the extent that they can exploit it.

    What nation has ever given POW’s the same rights as its citizens?

    Pablo (99243e)

  72. AF,

    My responses…

    1. Nobody has said they were all Al Qaeda fighters. Why would it be relevant if they were actively opposing us or our allies?

    2. Things change and neither of us is aware of what might have caused this. If you knew, you might applaud the reasoning. But you would rather assume some nefarious motive.

    3. From a blog called “Talk Left”? Please tell me you aren’t contending they’re unbiased. Ok, this was from the simultaneous suicides of three detainees. The attorneys quoted contend that it was an act of despair that would not have happened if the detainee had been informed of his pending release. It was after I left, but I don’t believe this… sorry. I will also tell you that the grapevine is often pretty efficient and it’s very possible (in my opinion) that some of the detainee leadership knew he would be leaving. They may have wanted him to participate with the others before they lost the opportunity. It’s not in the attorney’s interests to even consider this a possibility. I think the characterization of this being an act of “assymetrical warfare” is very accurate.

    Now, perhaps since I answered your points you might consider answering mine (from before you brought up yours I would note)?

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  73. #68 Ignoring trollish behavior.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  74. Stash:
    EricH, it wouldn’t be wise for them (from their perspective) because they would quickly be wiped out

    I was being sarcastic (mostly); but the point was to illustrate the nature of the “criminals” we’re facing.

    That is, the ordinary methods used to prosecute “criminals” simply do not apply to this type of threat. A threat that completely ignores all legal norms, international and domestic.

    It’s a new type of danger, one that international law and past procedures cannot be used against.

    That, of course, doesn’t (or shouldn’t) mean we ourselves throw out our rule of law. It just means that new rules and procedures must be established.

    If our critics on the left would be satisfied, I could imagine some sort of final civilian review of the cases with limits on habeas appeals.

    But they want the whole thing. Even if it doesn’t work. Because, at the end of the day, they see the greater danger coming from the Bush Administration than they see coming from the Islamists.

    And that’s the whole debate, isn’t it?

    EricH (419517)

  75. Stashiu3 #64: Amen.

    DRJ (31d948)

  76. As can be expected in a comment thread, there’s a tendency of various arguments to get conflated. But that’s especially true here, where the underlying situation also suffers from unfortunate and deliberate conflation making it difficult to discuss the status of Gitmo detainees.

    I have no problem with our detaining POWs. We had POW camps all over the US proper during WW2. So why is it that we had to put the War on Terror POWs in Gitmo, whence the Bush Administration argued they were really in Cuba and beyond the reach of standard American judicial process? We didn’t worry about German POWs inside the USA filing suit in American courts. What was different from 1944 to 2004? Now, the Bushbots will tell you it’s that the Democrats have all turned weak and traitorous since then, but that isn’t the reason. The reason is that the Bush Administration wanted to make a wholesale determination that anyone they chose could be labeled an unlawful combatant and detained in conditions not in compliance with the Geneva Conventions’ requirements for lawful POWs. Many of the Gitmo detainees are not battlefield captures. Some of them were taken prisoner in countries that are not battle zones. If you don’t believe me, ask Stashiu.

    Why the Bush Administration chose to declare all detainees illegal combatants (scooping up, by our own later admission, any numbe r of captives who were not any sort of combatant at all) is an interesting and important question. I suggest that the Cheney-Bush Administration liked to demonstrate its superiority to Law for its own sake, irrespective of any incremental improvement to American security (which, given the way even our own allies loathe Gitmo, is hard to imagine).

    Andrew J. Lazarus (644d94)

  77. It might also have been an attempt to expend American credibility (what’s left of it) to legitimize similar treatment of detainees by other countries, Andrew.

    alphie (015011)

  78. #60 Will these incidents be investigated by our military? Why, yes, of course. If there is demonstrable malfeasance, will these soldiers be prosecuted. Why, again, yes, of course. Unlike our adversaries …

    This “proves” what? That soldiers are human and make mistakes? That some soldiers might do bad things on purpose? What’s your point?

    Does this mean we don’t do everything we can to avoid these mistakes in combat? Of course not.

    Have you ever worn a military uniform? Ever had to make split second decisions in combat? Ever been shot at? Do you even have a clue whatsoever about the job being done by these brave men and women? I think not.

    When you get it into your mind to attempt the training necessary to do the job being done by these soldiers, let us know. We’ll talk. Until then your vieled accusations are simply horse hockey thrown against the barn hoping some will stick.

    Stashiu3 #64: Amen.

    ditto

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  79. “So why is it that we had to put the War on Terror POWs in Gitmo, whence the Bush Administration argued they were really in Cuba and beyond the reach of standard American judicial process? We didn’t worry about German POWs inside the USA filing suit in American courts.”

    Ex parte Quirin.

    Germans captured overseas and held here had no standing to file suits. FDR had no worry about civilian courts interfering in their detention.

    Moreover, their treatment was covered by the second Geneva Convention.

    But, your explanation is better than all those dusty old facts. The Bushies are all a bunch of fascists neocons who want to rule the world.

    That’s much easier to understand. Why worry about facts and history and precedent.

    EricH (419517)

  80. EricH:they see the greater danger coming from the Bush Administration than they see coming from the Islamists.

    Eric, that’s exactly the truth, and the pity is that you don’t understand why it’s true.

    The chances of being killed or maimed by a jihadi are, even if you are somewhere in the Middle East, fairly slim. In fact, if you are not a US soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan,they are practically nil. (Even the ratio of people killed at the WTC on 9/11 to the population of New York City is spectacularly small, and gets smaller when compared to the population of the metro NYC area.) Even if you are a US soldier in those place, the chances are actually fairly small. (Off the top of my head, I think the ratio of fatalities to US troops in Iraq is about 1/10th of 1%.) Probably less than the chance of a US resident being killed in a SWAT drug enforcement raid.

    And beyond killing or wounding me, the jihadis can’t really do anything to restrict my freedoms.

    Now granted, the US gov’t is not likely to kill me, unless one of those innocents whose house mistakenly raided by drug SWAT teams. But the harm to my freedom and livelihood from governmental actions is not only probable but certain. Not only the Bush administration, but a good many administrations before that. Not only the federal but the state and local governments too. All in the name of saving me from drugs, from terrorists, from poverty, from bad education, from whatever the newest slogan is.

    I don’t say we should not fight the jihadis. My argument there is solely with the strategy and tactics adopted by the current administration. (Observation 1: Invading Iraq was the worst possible thing to do, and the fact that it was the worst possible thing to do was apparent long before we invaded Iraq.) But I don’t want the jihadis to roam free on the earth and do what they want to do. But I think we need a different approach. (Observation 2: terrorism is ultimately a propaganda method, and can only be defeated with superior propaganda methods. We are doing badly at that, and in fact are actually helping the jihadi propaganda machine.)

    But the US government is the one that is and continues to do me active harm, and don’t be surprised if I’m more concerned about that than I am with the remoter threat of the jihadis. And not just the Bush administration. It’s just that the Bush administration is the most powerful threat to liberty among government entities, but it’s far from the only one.

    kishnevi (8731ef)

  81. We didn’t worry about German POWs inside the USA filing suit in American courts.”

    Umm, not a good example to cite. FDR? World War II? Detention?

    Let’s see, FDR had about 100,000 Japanese Americans held in camps.

    And thousands of German and Italian American held in other detention facilities.

    And he ordered secret military trials for German saboteurs captured here.

    All done without any judicial approval.

    You really want to compare what Bush has done versus what FDR did?

    Really?

    SMG

    SteveMG (419517)

  82. Pablo:
    And you want to apply this to combatants in wartime? They’re not interested in the American ideal, except to the extent that they can exploit it.

    The measure is not what they want to do to us, but the example we want the rest of the world to follow.
    The whole point is that we claim moral superiority. But then we don’t follow that up with morally superior acts. We proclaim the rule of law, and then in practice ignore it. This is known as hypocrisy, and it’s why the US has such a low standing in the world at the moment.

    What nation has ever given POW’s the same rights as its citizens?

    I’m not advocating that. I’m simply saying that our current practices don’t live up to the sermon we preach We talk the talk but fail to walk the walk.

    kishnevi (9cadaa)

  83. Kishnevi, as already mentioned, we don’t behead detainees – we already have the morally superior position. Claiming otherwise is obviously fraudulent.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  84. The problem is not whether we are living down to the jihadis standards, but whether we are living up to our publicly stated standards. If we don’t, we are the moral inferiors, because we (by not living up to our standards) are hypocrites and the jihadis (by practicing theirs) are not.

    It’s that simple. We need to act like the USA. Simply acting better than the jihadis doesn’t cut it. We have to be what we say we are, and to date we are failing miserably at that.

    kishnevi (8731ef)

  85. We also had German P.O.W’s in China (Eisentrager v. Johnson) that was upheld by the Supreme Court If you’re saying that FDR was not living up to our standards because of Quirin, Eisentrager, Lin over Merryman & Milligan (one was struck down byTaney, the Justice whose Dred Scott decision made the civil war inevitable.) Kandari clearly qualifies as an illegal alien combatant, next question. I know that the Lawyer’ Committee flack Scott Horton, accused the White House of having a ‘Schmittian’ view because we didn’t send these people over to the first district court; as Zaccarias Massoui & Padilla have ended up; The first turned out rather poorly, the second is turning out, despite the local media’s ignorance and/or ignorance.

    narciso (1f5458)

  86. We also had German P.O.W’s in China (Eisentrager v. Johnson) that was upheld by the Supreme Court If you’re saying that FDR was not living up to our standards because of Quirin, Eisentrager, Lin over Merryman & Milligan (one was struck down byTaney, the Justice whose Dred Scott decision made the civil war inevitable.) Kandari clearly qualifies as an illegal alien combatant, next question. I know that the Lawyer’ Committee flack Scott Horton, accused the White House of having a ‘Schmittian’ view because we didn’t send these people over to the first district court; as Zaccarias Massoui & Padilla have ended up; The first turned out rather poorly, the second is turning out, despite the local media’s ignorance and/or ignorance. Of course, the delay is due to the efforts of the likes of Lt. Commander Swift;
    who showed such contempt for the President and understanding for the enemy.

    narciso (1f5458)

  87. Narciso, I’d appreciate your explaining the legal theory under which Kandari is “clearly” an illegal alien combatant. When I taught math, I knew that “clearly” was the indication that the next line of the proof would be where the error was located.

    Kandari was seized in Pakistan, so he does not appear to have been in a battle zone. In what sense of the word is he a combatant, and moreover what would make him an illegal combatant?

    The term illegal combatant used to have a clearly recognized meaning: people like spies and saboteurs operating within our lines, or francs-tireurs and guerrillas operating out of uniform. The idea that this term now encompasses someone who does not appear ever to have been in the country where the battles take place (nor in the USA, where he might have been some sort of spy) is strange and ahistorical.

    I also can’t let pass without comment the way that Narciso doesn’t support the troops when the officer in question (e.g., Lt. Commander Swift) doesn’t adhere to his pre-existing erroneous legal views. And on the same thread where liberals were criticized for not accepting the military view! Well, I liked Swift’s view, and I would point out that he won his case, too.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (644d94)

  88. kishnevi writes “We have to be what we say we are, and to date we are failing miserably at that.”

    Kishnevi, opponents of the Bush administration are trying to hold the administration to standards that have not before been applied. So I find the hyperbole that the US is ‘failing miserably’ at upholding these ahistorical and novel standards of yours more than a bit difficult to swallow.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  89. “As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”

    –Lt. Col. Paul Yingling

    http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2007/05/2635198

    Sounds like your moral standards are being upheld in the U.S. military, too, Robin.

    alphie (015011)

  90. I would be conforted by some of those assertions, except for the fact that Khalid Sheik Mohammed
    was a also a Kuwaiti who worked by the Qatar
    Water Department; while he was one of the US’s
    most wanted; The ‘Black Prince of the Al Thani
    clan, had something to do with it. That he was
    a member of Wafa (although the Muwafaq foundation is a better fit for jihadis)and an admitted member
    of the Tablighi; one of the original jihadi umbrella groups; makes me think we’ll see the likes of him again; and not an charitable capacity. The example of Mohammed Asha, one of the
    docs involved in the Glasgow plot; makes me think
    that appearance of innocence; doesn’t mean it is so.

    narciso (273e95)

  91. which permits the detainees to appeal their detention to the 9th Circuit,

    I find this highly unlikely. The DC Circuit, maybe, or the 4th circuit. But on grounds both procedural (the 9th is in San Francisco) and political (it’s by far the most liberal circuit court), it seems unlikely that this would be delegated to the 9th circuit.

    everyone in the military is accountable to the civilian leadership and can be relieved of duty if they engage in misconduct

    This is only true if the misconduct is discovered. With no review of the cases from outside the executive, how is that misconduct to be discovered? This strikes me as being a basic “who polices the policeman” problem.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  92. #84 For anyone who missed it, this is a textbook example of moral relativism. (I hate moral relativism, it’s dishonest and wrong)

    #91 Ignoring trollish behavior

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  93. Narciso, I asked you a couple of pretty straightforward questions and I am not quite sure how Khalid Sheikh Mohammed fits into the answer. Are you saying that Al Qaeda is a volunteer force in the sense of Article 4 of GC3? I think that’s something of a stretch. KSM is a criminal, but I don’t think he is any kind of a combatant in the GC sense. Nor do I understand how exactly he would be an illegal combatant, unless you believe that if the Japanese had captured Cordell Hull in a house in Buenos Aires, he would have been “out of uniform”.

    The love of the military paradigm for dealing with KSM (whom, you will recall, was captured by police action, and not a battlefield surrender) and his ilk is more psychological than either practical or legal.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (644d94)

  94. #80 kishnevi

    But the harm to my freedom and livelihood from governmental actions is not only probable but certain.

    I have been hearing for years how our freedoms are being eroded, our rights violated, and how the new Gestapo is going to come into our homes and take us away. Whenever I ask someone to give a specific example of a denied freedom that has personally affected them or any specific example of how their life has been personally affected, I never get an answer. Never. And yet this nonsense keeps being asserted, no matter how many times it gets knocked down.

    And now this is used to somehow bolster a position on detainees in Cuba? Just saying it over and over again while applying it to every policy in the Administration doesn’t make it true. Take a look at Andrew’s comment in #87… it’s an excellent example of an argument with merit brought without hyperbole or obfuscation. Read it thoroughly and learn how to fairly present a position, you might gain some credibility.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  95. #93 Andrew

    KSM is a criminal, but I don’t think he is any kind of a combatant in the GC sense.

    I would make the case that KSM is certainly a combatant and one of the more appropriate detainees. Here is my reasoning (not necessarily the military’s, just speaking for myself). The 9/11 attacks were an act of war against the United States. Just because they were not the actions of a Nation-State, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go to war against the individual group or fanatic ideology responsible. It is not typical of warfare in the 19th and 20th centuries, but our enemies have changed tactics and just because they don’t identify themselves with a particular government doesn’t mean that we should not make war upon them.

    As a member of this group, KSM was a key individual in the jihadi efforts. He was not captured through criminal investigation even though he was apprehended by law enforcement. Just because they’re the ones who took him into custody does not mean that is the appropriate jurisdiction for him.

    Kandari is a much better example of your position if you accept the story of his capture. I really can’t say that I do or don’t in his particular case.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  96. I find this highly unlikely. The DC Circuit, maybe, or the 4th circuit. But on grounds both procedural (the 9th is in San Francisco) and political (it’s by far the most liberal circuit court), it seems unlikely that this would be delegated to the 9th circuit.

    You are correct. It’s the Federal District Court in Washington, the fourth. My error.

    The main point still applies. That is, detainees have the right (albeit a limited one) to appeal their detention to a civilian court.

    SMG

    SteveMG (d61a9a)

  97. Stashiu, with respect to #91, I beg your pardon: how am I being trollish?

    I am observing that not allowing extra-military review of the decision to classify someone as a combatant creates a system in which it is possible for such decisions to be made without oversight from outside the institution. I am not alleging that that power is currently being abused; I am alleging that it creates a situation in which the abuse is possible, and in which it is impossible for outsiders to tell if abuse is going on.

    I am maintaining the distinction between “what is possible under such a system” and “what is going on under the current system” precisely because I do not wish to accuse members of the military of something for which there is no evidence, and yet I am aware that the historical evidence is that power which can be abused eventually will be abused.

    So: what is trollish about my behavior?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  98. #97 aphrael

    This is the last time I’m going to answer you when you behave trollishly. Here are your words:

    This is only true if the misconduct is discovered. With no review of the cases from outside the executive, how is that misconduct to be discovered? This strikes me as being a basic “who polices the policeman” problem.

    The underlying assumption is that every person in the military involved, along with every member of the Executive Branch, would knowingly engage in a massive coverup of any abuse. Even if you refuse to ascribe any sense of honor to members of the armed forces, don’t you think that enlightened self-interest would bring at least a few people forward, if only to advance their own careers or agendas? Not every person in the military is a Republican or conservative. There are a lot of Democrat and liberal troops. In our system of government, the truth comes out more often than not.

    You can be as much of a troll towards others as you like. This is Patterico’s site and he runs it well. In the future however, if you get trollish towards me or any comments I make, you get nothing but “Ignoring trollish behavior” without further explanation. This is my relief from the temptation to respond in kind, even though I can hold my own. When you wrestle the pig, you both get dirty and the pig enjoys it. I don’t. If you don’t think it was trollish, blow it off. But I encourage you to take a close look at it before you reject the idea.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  99. Stashiu3: I am sorry that I appear to be behaving trollishly. I do not enjoy slinging mud, and have no desire to be a troll. I have been very deliberate and careful in most of my comments here to find ways to elucidate my positions without being trollish, and if i have failed, I apologize.

    I would request that, when something I say appears trollish to you, you respond as you have done in your most recent comment, and I will endeavor to remediate my behavior in response to such comments. It is never my intent to be a troll.

    The underlying assumption is that every person in the military involved, along with every member of the Executive Branch, would knowingly engage in a massive coverup of any abuse

    I do not believe that the current army [I am using the term ‘army’ here as a shorthand for ‘the military’, including all five branches; I admit that this is imprecise] would do this. The institutional culture of today’s army would not support it; virtually nobody would agree to engage in it; and if someone did, someone else would come forward and complain about it.

    But this is going to be a long war, on the order of a generation or more, and the system put in place today will likely outlast this war, just as the systems put in place for the cold war have outlasted it. The institutional culture of the army will evolve, just as every institutional culture does; and while we can make predictions about what is the likely outcome of that evolution, we cannot be certain what that outcome will be.

    I would submit, therefore, that it is unwise to establish systems which rely on the army retaining its current institutional culture; that it is far better to establish, up front, some system of review outside of the army. Not because we need it today, but because we may need it tomorrow.

    Even if you refuse to ascribe any sense of honor to members of the armed forces

    I would never make such a refusal. While I am certain that there are some bad apples, the overwhelming majority of our men in uniform are honorable men who serve the public well.

    Not every person in the military is a Republican or conservative.

    Granted. That said, I think one of the biggest problems in civilian-military relations in this country is the tendency of many people with leftish leanings to blindly dislike the military, and — as an extension of this — the fact that people with conservative backgrounds are far more likely to enlish in the military than people with liberal backgrounds.

    It would be a *very* bad thing for enlistment in the military to come to be seen as the exclusive preserve of any one political viewpoint.

    There are a lot of Democrat and liberal troops.

    Granted. This includes, for example, my brother, who has been an enlisted man for just under seven years. :)

    In our system of government, the truth comes out more often than not.

    I would agree with that. At the same time, I know that the history of most states suggests that power which can be abused will eventually be abused; and I think it is important that we consider what the long-term potential for abuse is whenever new policies are implemented, and implement them in such a fashion as to minimize the potential.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  100. Aphrael,

    In your comment #99, you said:

    It would be a *very* bad thing for enlistment in the military to come to be seen as the exclusive preserve of any one political viewpoint.

    The military is far more diverse than the faculty at our colleges and universities but I don’t see liberals complaining about that. And, unlike academia and conservatives, the military doesn’t try to keep liberals from serving. In fact, the military offers lucrative benefits and incentives to entice people of all political persuasions to serve.

    DRJ (31d948)

  101. The military is far more diverse than the faculty at our colleges and universities but I don’t see liberals complaining about that.

    The military plays a far more important role in the functioning of the state than do colleges and universities, and so it is arguably more important that it not come to represent only one segment of society.

    the military doesn’t try to keep liberals from serving.

    Granted. To the extent that a problem exists — an extent of which I’m not convinced; I think it’s more a potential problem than an actual problem — that problem is almost entirely the result of liberals who have chosen to withdraw from the military, rather than vice versa. I’m not meaning to criticize the military with this particular line of discussion; I’m pointing to a potential problem which may arise because of choices liberals are making, and which would be an unintended consequence of those choices

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  102. Hmmm,

    Here’s one terrorist who will be tried in a U.S. civilian court:

    http://tinyurl.com/32sl6e

    The State Department’s take:

    “In early 2005, Colombia extradited FARC leader Anayibe Rojas Valderama (aka “Comandante Sonia”) and other criminal associates for drug trafficking and terrorism charges. Colombia also extradited Cali Cartel leader Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela in 2005. Other high-ranking drug trafficking targets arrested and/or extradited include Consolidated Priority Targets and members of the North Valley Cartel’s Top 10 list, such as Gabriel Puerta Parra, Jose Rendon Ramirez, John Cano Carrera, and Dagaberto Florez”

    http://www.state.gov/p/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2006/vol1/html/62103.htm

    alphie (015011)

  103. aphrael,

    I have an embarrassing confession along with an apology. I (stupidly) conflated your remarks with the comments alphie made earlier. By doing that, I was under the impression that it was a continuation of his part in this thread. I humbly apologize for my comments to you. I was wrong. I will never confuse the two of you again and appreciate your patient response to a rather harsh comment (intentionally so, but undeserved in this case). I realize now that you in no way intended your remarks to resemble alphie’s earlier comments. I am very sorry.

    Stash

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  104. Aphrael,

    Do you really believe the military plays a more important role than education? Clearly, the military does more to protect the nation but educators at all levels have far more influence on the citizenry and our nation’s laws than the military ever will.

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  105. Stashiu3:

    thank you for your apology. :)

    Please don’t feel embarassed, though; it is an easy mistake, to conflate two people with similar names making apparently similar arguments. (It’s certainly a mistake I’ve made before, and expect to again).

    appreciate your patient response

    As an aside which seems appropriate at this juncture: I know very little about you, other than what Patterico has said and you have chosen to reveal, and I presume that you also know very little about me. Yet it is quite clear from the fact that you are a soldier and I am a civilian, and that you are a conservative and I am a liberal, that we are very different people with very different understandings of the world. I believe that the only way we can hope to communicate despite those differences is by being patient with one another, and undertaking to listen when appropriate, and to explain when appropriate; and it is my earnest desire to do that when the opportunity presents.

    Which isn’t to say I always succeed in adhering to my own standards for conduct, alas. :)

    Anyhow: thank *you* for your presence here, and your comments and insights. They enrich the dialogue considerably.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  106. DRJ: I would submit to you that it is only because of the current culture of the army that you are able to say that.

    The US army (again, i’m using the term imprecisely) is one of the largest in the world, if not *the* largest in the world. It has an effective monopoly on the use of certain types of force.

    Were that army to decide that the civilian government should be dispensed with, for example, that civilian government *would not stand a chance of survival*. Now, the resultant tyranny might also not stand a chance, and the outcome could be civil war; but that would not change the prognosis for our government, if the army’s commitment to constitutional principles were to waver.

    I should note here that I see absolutely no evidence that it is, and that I give some credence to Robert Kaplan’s view that understanding of, and adherence to, the core principles of democratic governance are to some degree stronger in today’s military than they are in the civilian sector. But I also see no reason to assume that will always be so.

    An enormous standing army is something which was not originally part of the design of our system of government. It is a weapon which we, as a society need to have available. But one of the dangers of such a weapon — as other states have discovered — is that it can turn on those who would seek to wield it; and we would be prudent to keep an eye on that danger.

    At the end of the day, our system can survive a remarkable amount of corruption of education; it would be much harder to survive a corruption of the armed forces.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  107. Stashiu: since when does saying “live up to your stated moral standards” (the ones the USA has been supposedly adhering to since about 1776, for the benefit of Mr. Roberts) constitute moral relativism?
    All I am saying is that the US is acting like a hypocrite in applying the rule of law and respect for individual freedom, and acting like a hypocrite is hurting us in the “War on Terror”.

    And in answer to your later question at 94–when was the last time you drove in your car without a seat belt, without risking a ticket? And, if you’re in my state, you can’t smoke instead a restaurant.
    Now I actually ride buckled up, and I don’t smoke, in or out of restaurants, and I would so even if there were no government mandate. But if I chose to do so, the government would force me to do something I didn’t want to do. And that’s interference from government with my personal freedom. And while these maybe rather small in scale, there’s no reason for them other than government deciding it wants to force people to do something.

    And as for major things: if you’re content to live under a government that, through its government, has declared it has the power to spy on you without judicial approval, and arrest you and put you in detention without needing to inform you or others of your fate, without needing to actually prove you did something wrong, but only needed to slap the label terrorist/enemy combatant on you, without outside review–and is willing to apply this to anyone, whether or not they are citizens of the USA–then so be it. I’m not, because to me it means the government is openly claiming the powers of dictatorship. And it needs to be challenged now, before it puts those powers into force against internal dissent.

    kishnevi (242777)

  108. Kishnevi, since 1776? Obviously you have not paid any attention to the history of the issue. Perhaps reading the court cases of Ex Parte Quirin, and Korematsu v. United States during the Second World War when the Supreme Court upheld measures that you seem to have forgotten about.

    Likewise, detention without charge was upheld during the Civil War, which occurred approximately “four score and seven years” after 1776.

    So your rhetoric simply does not match the historical reality.

    As for “the power to spy on you without judicial approval”, the government has never needed judicial approval to “spy” on anyone.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  109. “The US army (again, i’m using the term imprecisely) is one of the largest in the world, if not *the* largest in the world.”

    The US military budget is equal to that of Russia, China, Japan, The UK and the next 10 contries COMBINED!!

    My god, the level of ignorance on this site is phenomenal.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  110. And no Stashiu3, you did not answer no questions. You didn’t even read what I wrote. Maybe others did. I hope so.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  111. AF, while you are calling people ignorant, you might note to yourself that there is a semantic difference between “the largest army” and “the largest military budget”. For instance, many believe that China’s People’s Liberation Army is the largest standing army in the world, with estimates in the range of 2-3 million depending on source. The United States would be second in size based on most of those estimates.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  112. #107 kishnevi

    since when does saying “live up to your stated moral standards” (the ones the USA has been supposedly adhering to since about 1776, for the benefit of Mr. Roberts) constitute moral relativism?

    The moral relativism is in claiming we don’t have the moral high ground over our enemies. I realize they do what they say they are going to do (convert, enslave, or kill infidels), so if the only measure is how closely each side follows its policies, they win because we have inherently more freedom of action. Some of our actions will involve poor choices either through mistake or criminal intent. But there is both good and evil in the world and the difference is pretty easy to see. Their policies are evil and us, at our behavior at worst, is better than their behavior as a matter of policy. Not all things are equally valuable.

    And that’s interference from government with my personal freedom.

    But the harm to my freedom and livelihood from governmental actions is not only probable but certain. Not only the Bush administration, but a good many administrations before that. Not only the federal but the state and local governments too. All in the name of saving me from drugs, from terrorists, from poverty, from bad education, from whatever the newest slogan is.

    The Constitution provides for the promotion of the General Welfare. If you believe any of these minor restrictions involve dangerous restrictions of your personal rights you have several options. Lobby to get the law changed through the legislature, file suit in Federal Court (I’m sure the ACLU will assist), leave for someplace with more personal freedom, etc…

    Just remember, more personal freedom for you to do as you wish will also give others more freedom to do as they wish. They may do some things you REALLY don’t like.

    And as for major things…

    Has any of that actually happened to you? Or anyone you know? Or anybody at all that you can prove it has happened to that is an American citizen as a matter of policy and not a response to specific, short-term events? I don’t believe the Constitution covers non-citizens except where expressly mentioned.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  113. You need to separate out our various enemies, stashiu.

    We may have a slight moral advantage over the headloppers, but for those who are just fighting to boot us out of their country, they got us beat, even using moral absolutism.

    alphie (015011)

  114. yeah, morally speaking, alphie has no problem with carbombs and beheading civilians.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  115. #110 And no Stashiu3, you did not answer no questions. You didn’t even read what I wrote. Maybe others did. I hope so.

    From #65 (AF) and #72 (me)

    “The Pentagon’s data show that only 8 percent of the prisoners at the base are even alleged to have been Al Qaeda fighters”

    1. Nobody has said they were all Al Qaeda fighters. Why would it be relevant if they were actively opposing us or our allies?

    “In summer 2005, the Bush administration announced that 70 percent of the base’s prisoners had been slated for release because they were not a threat. It never happened.

    2. Things change and neither of us is aware of what might have caused this. If you knew, you might applaud the reasoning. But you would rather assume some nefarious motive.

    “One of Guantanamo Suicides Not Informed He Was Scheduled for Release”

    3. From a blog called “Talk Left”? Please tell me you aren’t contending they’re unbiased. Ok, this was from the simultaneous suicides of three detainees. The attorneys quoted contend that it was an act of despair that would not have happened if the detainee had been informed of his pending release. It was after I left, but I don’t believe this… sorry. I will also tell you that the grapevine is often pretty efficient and it’s very possible (in my opinion) that some of the detainee leadership knew he would be leaving. They may have wanted him to participate with the others before they lost the opportunity. It’s not in the attorney’s interests to even consider this a possibility. I think the characterization of this being an act of “assymetrical warfare” is very accurate.

    So how were your questions not answered again? I read your links and responded.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  116. Well Robin, at least he said “our” enemies… there may be hope for the troll yet. (That was alphie, right?) 😉

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  117. Stashiu3, I’m sure it was a typo.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  118. “Enemy” is such a fluid term, Stashiu.

    The people we’re fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan were all our allies not so long ago…and some of them are now our allies again.

    alphie (015011)

  119. “From a blog called “Talk Left”? Please tell me you aren’t contending they’re unbiased”

    The post on that blog linked to articles in the BBC and The Guardian UK, and the post itself consisted mostly of a letter to the authors of the blog from a lawyer representing inmates at Guantanamo.

    I also linked to 5 or 6 or was it more, substanstantive…
    tell hell with it.
    never mind.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  120. Aphrael #106:

    “At the end of the day, our system can survive a remarkable amount of corruption of education; …”

    I am mystified by this statement but I assume that, because you are a liberal, you are satisfied with the American education system. As for me, I believe that if America fails as a nation, it will be because we continue to fail in providing a basic education to our citizens.

    As you effectively admit, the military can’t long govern without the consent of the governed. But an uneducated citizenry will give up without a fight.

    DRJ (31d948)

  121. Just remember, more personal freedom for you to do as you wish will also give others more freedom to do as they wish. They may do some things you REALLY don’t like.

    If it harms me not, why should I care?

    Perhaps it may surprise you, but seatbelts and non smoking spaces were not what the Founders had in mind when they spoke about the General Welfare.

    Their policies are evil and us, at our behavior at worst, is better than their behavior as a matter of policy.

    You completely fail to understand not only what moral relativism is–the idea that their morality is equal to ours because, hey, it’s their morality–but what our behavior is. It’s hypocritical, and therefore counterproductive.

    Having no idea of your religious beliefs, but supposing you are–do you take a clergyman seriously when he doesn’t practice what we preach.
    At the moment, the US is not practicing what it preaches. So why should anyone listen to our sermonizing? And if they don’t listen to our sermonizing, we have no chance of getting rid of the jihadis.

    That we are doing things better than they are is no excuse. We need to do things the way we say they should be.

    I’ve said this enough times on this thread in different phrasings that I don’t understand why you can’t understand that simple point.

    Has any of that actually happened to you? Or anyone you know? Or anybody at all that you can prove it has happened to that is an American citizen as a matter of policy and not a response to specific, short-term events? I don’t believe the Constitution covers non-citizens except where expressly mentioned.

    The Government, in the persona of the Chief Executive of this country, has said it can do all those things. To me or to you. If may be okay with you, but not with me.

    BTW, Omar Padilla was reduced (apparently) to non compos mentis by this Administration’s policy. And certain others have been victims of the policy. I recognize the point about the non citizens. But it’s not germane. The government says it can do these things to citizens as well as non citizens. The Constitution may not forbid it against non citizens, but it does forbid against citizens. Being a criminal, terrorist, adherent of an evil ideology, or whatever does not revoke a person citizenship.

    kishnevi (6273ad)

  122. I’ve said this enough times on this thread in different phrasings that I don’t understand why you can’t understand that simple point.

    I can understand the point you’re making and I understand moral relativism. But moving the goalposts does not change the fact that we were talking about who has the moral highground, and we do. We’re not perfect and maybe we’re not doing well enough from your perspective… the original point was moral highground which does involve who’s better, not how effective our policy execution is.

    Being a criminal, terrorist, adherent of an evil ideology, or whatever does not revoke a person citizenship.

    Another case of moving the goalposts. You stated that, “But the harm to my freedom and livelihood from governmental actions is not only probable but certain.” (Emphasis mine) Even if I stipulated that the Executive Branch has claimed an ability to do what you claim (I don’t), the argument you make now does not support your claim that harm to you is certain.

    If it harms me not, why should I care?

    And if it does harm you (secondhand smoke)? Or someone close to you (child molestation, it didn’t hurt you but a niece or nephew)? Or has the substantial risk of doing so (driving while under the influence of drugs/alcohol or a corporation contaminating the local ecology with poisons)? Doesn’t the government have not only the right, but the responsibility, to balance personal freedoms against personal protections as an expression of the people’s will? If they go beyond the people’s will, they shouldn’t be returned to office in the next election. If they are, that means that more people agree with more of what that official is doing. You’re never going to get an official who is 100% agreeable to anybody… at least I don’t think you (or I) should.

    That we are doing things better than they are is no excuse. We need to do things the way we say they should be.

    We try to do things the way we say they should be done. The fact that we fall short at times reflects our humanity, not any hypocrisy. All you want to look at is where we fall short. By your reasoning, we shouldn’t attempt to do anything good (or anything at all really) because we can’t do it perfectly.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  123. I am mystified by this statement but I assume that, because you are a liberal, you are satisfied with the American education system

    I’m really not qualified to judge the quality of the American education system; i’ve been out of the public schools for more than fifteen years, do not have children in it, and so don’t actually know how it is working.

    That said, based on what little I do know, I suspect that the system of primary and secondary education has serious problems … but these problems are not, as far as I can tell, the result of political bias; they are rather the result of the fact that many schools have ceased to be a place for learning and have instead become a place for babysitting, and a result of the fact that relatively early on the authority of teachers over classrooms is disrupted.

    Yet, at the same time, I believe that the most important education a child recieves, it recieves at the hands of its parents; and that a child whose parents provide an environment which is supportive of learning, and who is encouraged to learn, will do so, regardless of the quality of the schools. So, to a great degree, I see the problems of the primary and secondary school system as being primarily a crisis of the culture.

    As for post-secondary education: I went to an allegedly liberal college in which I found that the faculty in the subjects I was studying were more conservative than I was, and over the course of education my views moved from being out-and-out liberal to being left-leaning moderate. I have always thought that conservative rhetoric about the liberal bias of academia has been overblown; my experience does not jibe with the claims I see being made.

    Still, either way … if the most important education anyone recieves is what they learn at their parent’s knee, so to speak, and if someone who is taught to love to learn will learn regardless of the system they encounter, then to a certain degree the failings of the educational system are utterly irrelevant. Either the culture is broadly supportive of the pursuit of learning or it isn’t; and all the fixes you try to apply to the educational system won’t change the culture, and won’t succeed unless the culture changes.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  124. #123 aphrael

    With 4 kids (3 in public schools, 1 in college) I have to say I completely agree with everything you’ve said. Many schools have a liberal reputation because the liberal views receive more attention. The quality of education at school depends less on the political views of educators than on the parenting at home. We’ve moved a lot while in the military and I’ve seen schools with excellent reputations and horrible reputations. The education my children have received has depended more on what they’ve learned at home about how to learn. (The son in college has better study habits than I ever had, lol).

    Most people are predominately moderate and lean left or right, frequently depending on the specific issue. The hyper-partisan folks may get the press (and both sides get press, even if it’s negative), but the political base is much more fluid than people give credit. I just hope both our current political parties learn that lesson in the near future, as harshly as necessary to realize that dividing the country just to gain power hurts everybody.

    Stashiu3 (168d43)

  125. As a side note: if I had children, and if I could afford to do so, I would want to homeschool them, at least through the end of elementary school.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  126. This isn’t a thread about education but go to any college and check out the education department where K-12 teachers are trained. Teachers aren’t even required to have degrees in the areas they will teaching, and many lack even a basic proficiency in their subject. This is a direct result of the liberal influence on education that it’s more important to teach kids to be nice, to feel, and to be creative than it is to have basic academic skills and knowledge. As a result, we have nice kids but they know less and less about history, math, and science.

    I agree that parents matter but given the high number of single-parent homes, there aren’t as many parents around as there used to be. In addition, schools used to reinforce parents’ values but that’s difficult to do in an age where people have such diverse values. Finally, kids go to school at earlier ages and for longer and longer periods of time. For many households, schools – not parents – have become the dominant force in kids lives.

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  127. kishnevi writes: “The Constitution may not forbid it against non citizens, but it does forbid against citizens. Being a criminal, terrorist, adherent of an evil ideology, or whatever does not revoke a person citizenship.”

    Actually, as I’ve mentioned before, the Constitution forbids no such thing. See Article I sec 9 which permits Congress to suspend the writ of habeas corpus “when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it”.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  128. See Article I sec 9 which permits Congress to suspend the writ of habeas corpus “when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it”.

    So, were the four airplanes of 9/11 an invasion, or is the existence of the Democratic Party that despises Bush a rebellion?

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  129. Robin Roberts: I think it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to make a case that there is currently either an invasion or a rebellion.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  130. aphrael, you will find that historically Congress has used the power where there was no invasion or rebellion in the strict sense you seem to want to argue. The Supreme Court would not see the language as requiring a specific invasion, but rather would see the question of whether or not the circumstances warranted suspension as something that Congress would determine, not the courts.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)


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