Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 30, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

HOW HAMDAN WILL PLAY OUT....I don't agree with Marshall Wittman much these days, but I think he may be right about this:

Analysis that suggests [the Hamdan decision] is a political setback for the GOP has it exactly wrong. Republicans would like nothing better than a pre-election debate over whether Osama's buddies should receive ACLU approved rights. It is likely that many Democrats will join Republicans in supporting tough guidelines for military commissions.

Probably so. And Democrats would be right to support tough guidelines, which could probably sail through Congress with bipartisan support to spare if that's what the Republican leadership wants.

They don't, of course. They want a campaign issue, not a solution, and most likely won't rest until they manage to find legislative wording so punitive and extreme that even Hillary Clinton can't support it. It may not be good for the country, but it makes for good C-SPAN.

Kevin Drum 1:16 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (158)

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Comments

The Moose begins by saying he agrees with Justice Scalia's view, which I find rather shocking. If I were Senator Clinton, I'd engage Senator Leahy to work with her to find some means of trying the Gitmo prisoners that was consistent with the basic nations of a fair trial. After all - our nation is capable of doing so even if the National Review crowd seems to be saying offering fair trials is equivalent to treason. As I note over at Angrybear, most of us aspire to an America where we can have both liberty and security. If the GOP thinks so little of America that we have to choose between the two - let them say so. I'd love to see this be the debate for the 2006 campaign.

Posted by: pgl on June 30, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin and Wittman are exactly right -- a big political win for the Republicans. It is amusing to read the liberal MSM trying to make this into a loss for Bush and Republicans - it is unclear whether they are that clueless or they are just trying to spin the story into a loss. Anyone with an ounce of common sense will realize that Bush and Republicans arguing for tough measures against terrrorists will win every time.

Speaking of clueless, Pelosi issued an idiotic statement after the decision about "justice for all" and "due process." I assume someone will shut her up, but how could someone like that be the head of the democrats in the house?

Posted by: brian on June 30, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

'Cause, you know, rule of law is soooo un-American.

Posted by: kenga on June 30, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Osama's Buddies?"

Neat trick.

Posted by: gussie on June 30, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

If the Democrats start defensive pants-wetting before the 2006 election season is even rolling, and proceed to lose again in 2006 by not taking even one of the two houses, then they can go out and look for another voter to replace me in 2008. And I don't think I will be alone in that.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on June 30, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Brian - to suggest that "due process" is an idiotic statement strikes me that you wish to live in the National Review's America. How is the National Review's America any different than those dictatorships we fought in wars such as the one during the 1940's? Yes, Jonah Goldberg mocks Nancy Pelosi, which shows my that Jonah would repeal the 6th Amendment. I like an America that honors due process so I think Pelosi gets this right.

Posted by: pgl on June 30, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Pelosi issued an idiotic statement after the decision about "justice for all" and "due process."

yeah, don't you hate those stupid meaningless phrases? we should dig up the people who thought of them and kill them again, just for good measure.

f the GingOist Party.

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, yes a huge victory for the GOP. Witless the Moose agrees with Scalia. Naked Arab cabdrivers with glowsticks up their asses are great for U.S. morale.

Let's win by out-demagoguing the crew who has let the murderer of 3000 Americans run around unscathed for five years.

Pathetic.

Posted by: HeavyJ on June 30, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

If the GOP thinks so little of America that we have to choose between the two - let them say so.

They have already said so with the wiretapping programs.

If you want the words to go with it, listen to one of Rove cronies like Cronyn (Texas) in the senate.

Posted by: nut on June 30, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

C-Span??? What "real 'murkin" watches c-span? This wouldn't make for good C-Span (although it might). This would make for good (bad) race baiting pamplets and mailings warning that the "libruls" want amnesty for "terruhrists".

If only Democrats were craven (and smart!) enough to do the same against the GOP pols who voted to give Iraqi insurgents amnesty. I still can't believe they thought that was a good idea.

Posted by: Alan on June 30, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Why should the legislative branch actually do its job? There is no longer true debate among those who govern. This is not just an election year phenomenon anymore, it is now standard fare. Lawmakers deliver their pre-approved monologues to an earless entity that awaits its turn to add to the drone. Politics is news and news in entertainment.

You do the math.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on June 30, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

pgl,

You identify the issue. I assume you and Pelosi are serious about "due process" for foreign terrorists and want them to have open public trials, full discovery, protection by the rules of evidence, full appeal rights, full protection by counsel and everything else associated with due process under U.S. law. I disagree. That is the question that should be debated and decided in the Congress.

The interesting political question is whether democrats will be smart enough to avoid that debate. They should agree to most everything that Bush proposes, so they can run as strong on terror. I would be surprised if any democrat in a close re-election race votes against Bush on this issue. If democrats are foolish enough to oppose Bush on this issue, it will be a repeat of 2002 with the homeland security issue, although this time the issue actually be of great significance,in addition to being a political miscalculation by democrats.

Posted by: brian on June 30, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Spector already announce some legislation?

pgl: actually, the National Review published an article 3 weeks ago opposing all uses of torture and degrading treatment.

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

The Moose may be right about how this plays politically, IF people accept they way he frames it, they probably will.

What is sad, and I dont see why you fail to mention, is how so very far off his analysis of the decision is.

"In America, extraordinary rights are accorded even to our enemies who would use all means necessary to kill us and our families."

There is nothing "extraordinary" about enforcing the Geneva conventions. In fact, he has it backwards, not following the Geneva Convnentions is extraordinary.

He may be right and the right wing may fool Americans into believing that this is about recognizing extraordinary rights instead of what it truly is: Following the rule of law and abiding by treaty obligations that all civilized nations follow.

Its a bad sign that alleged Democrats are Demogaguing on the issue, and that you Kevin failed to call him on it.

Posted by: Catch22 on June 30, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it's too darn bad Americans are idiots, then. Lots of the detainees at Guantanamo got there because there was a bounty for turning in Al Quaeda, and they got turned in by people who wanted the bounty. Some proof of "guilt" isn't it?

"The United States promised (and apparently paid) large sums of money for the capture of
persons identified as enemy combatants in Afghanistan and Pakistan. One representative flyer, distributed in Afghanistan, states:
Get wealth and power beyond your dreams....You can receive millions of dollars helping the anti-Taliban forces catch al-Qaida and Taliban murders. This is enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life. Pay for livestock and doctors and school books and housing for all your people.
Bounty hunters or reward-seekers handed people over to American or Northern Alliance
soldiers in the field, often soon after disappearing; as a result, there was little opportunity on the field to verify the story of an individual who presented the detainee in response to the bounty award. Where that story constitutes the sole basis for an individuals detention in Guantanamo, there would
be little ability either for the Government to corroborate or a detainee to refute such an allegation."

http://law.shu.edu/news/guantanamo_report_final_2_08_06.pdfit.

Posted by: David in NY on June 30, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

But the big news in the ruling is that Geneva
Conventions Common Article 3 applies to the
conflict with AQ. And that explicit prohibits
inhumane, cruel, degrading, or humiliating
treatment. So there goes the whole "harsh
interrogation" policy, unless you want to be
prosecuted under the War Crimes Act.

Furthermore, Geneva CA3 requires that any procedures
used to try detainees conform to civilized standards
of due process, and you can't invent "special"
tribunals. In fact, the only course of action
which clearly falls within CA3 would be to try
the detainees with the existing courts martial
procedures. You could try to do something a
little different; but you can't invent some new
kind of kangaroo court, even with Congressional
approval.

The problem which drives all this is torture.
Since much of the evidence is either hearsay, or
else derived from coercive interrogations, it's
going to be very difficult to achieve convictions
in any court with rules about admissibility of
evidence.

Posted by: richardcownie on June 30, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

We beat the Japanese while keeping due process. We beat the Soviet Union in the Cold War while keeping due process. Do those cowardly jackasses in Congress and the administration really believe that we need to ditch due process to beat a ragtag bunch of terrorists?

And should we do away with due process, haven't we removed one of the pillars that makes America what it is?

Posted by: Doctor Jay on June 30, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Catch22:

well, GC Common Article III wasn't really written to deal with a conflict such as ours with al-qaeda (on the other hand, it was exactly intended to deal with insurgencies like that in Iraq....and you'll note that we have always formally asserted that Art. III applied to Iraq)...what Hamdan does (and rightfully on the merits (though the SC's dismissal of the DTA is questionable)) is put the onus on Congress to determine whether Art. III applies to al-quaeda...which the SC deemed that it did in the AUMF and which Congress may now modify...

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Afford the Gitmo hostages the same rights we would want a citizen of the US to have if they were ever taken without due process by a foreign government that refuses to show evidence or file charges and held for years.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on June 30, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Doctor Jay:

technically speaking, whatever rules Congress ends up setting will be due process by definition.

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Jonah Goldberg mocks Nancy Pelosi, which shows my that Jonah would repeal the 6th Amendment. I like an America that honors due process so I think Pelosi gets this right.

You are a buffoon. This is what Pelosi said: "Todays Supreme Court decision reaffirms the American ideal that all are entitled to the basic guarantees of our justice system." Mocking this is completely justified and appropriate. If you don't think so, please, oh please, I beg of you, encourage Democrats to run on a platform of applying the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments to terrorists captured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Don't you think it's a good idea to read a terrorist his Miranda warnings right there on the field of battle? After all, that's a "basic guarantee of our justice system." Also, what if the soldiers didn't have a warrant issued upon probable cause before capturing him or searching his little hideout? Maybe we should exclude some evidence. Because that too is a "basic guarantee of our justice system." I think these are fantastic ideas for Democrats to campaign on. Really. Please do it.

Posted by: Homer on June 30, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

nutty little nut nut:

um, Hamdan specifically states that the Gitmo detainess (and others) have Art. III rights...which means that we can hold them pretty much forever (until the end of "hostilities") without charges.

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

I think the question is whether Bush will follow the court's decision or sign a secret coda saying he will follow as much of it as he finds consistent with the idea of a unitary executive, ie none.

Posted by: anandine on June 30, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

....that Bush and Republicans arguing for tough measures against terrrorists will win every time.
Posted by: brian on June 30, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah. Because in America, the mob of stupid, scared sheep rules. Not the Constitution, Bill of Rights, or the principles upon which the founding fathers based this nation's creation.

"Burn her, she's a witch!"

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'm disgusted by the rush to analyze political impact, rather than human impact. E.g,. if there were another 9/11 magnitude attack before election day, one would hope the first discussion would be about the tragedy and the threat. However, Kevin's item suggests that some liberals would quickly jump to addressing which party would gain votes.

To make my point explicitly, I believe the Supreme Court's Hamden decision will result in the death of innocents. As a result of this decision, some terrorists will be released from Gitmo. We don't have a good mechanism to tell which Gitmo inmates can be safely released. The freed terrorists will commit further murders. Note that some people released from Gitmo have already returned to killing.

The distraction of legalistic trials will make our anti-terrorism efforts less effective, resulting in a longer, bloodier war. Even worse, if this decision hampers US efforts to the point where al Qaeda winds up controlling Iraq or some other country, they'd be in position to murder many thousands.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 30, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

anandine:

please don't rehash the same idiocy.

the "unitary executive" concept has nothing whatsoever to do with ignoring SC decisions.
(and if the administration ignored the SC decision (a highly unlikely prospect), that unconstitutional action would not be a result of any "unitary executive" theory)

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

My reading of the ruling is that the SC already said the Uniform Code of Military justice would work just fine for the Gitmo guys.

Bush's problem is that a fair trial will show that a lot of the "worst of the worst" are really just some unlucky Pakistanis who got caught up in a police sweep in Islamabad.

Posted by: tomeck on June 30, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Congressional legislation exempting the US from the Geneva Conventions?

I'll take that fight. If we get McCain to express reservations on video we win.

Posted by: B on June 30, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody is saying that these guys need to have a full civilian trial. A plain old military court martial will suffice, or even Bush's jerry-rigged "tribunals," provided Congress approves. That's the whole issue. And Congress will approve, by a wide margin, including Dems. There won't be a wedge.

Posted by: mikeg on June 30, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

anandine: btw, "signing statements" aren't used for SC decisions.

ex-liberal: "As a result of this decision, some terrorists will be released from Gitmo."

there's no reason to think this at all. Hamdan doesn't require anyone to be released...the opposite in fact.

"Note that some people released from Gitmo have already returned to killing."

That's true.

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

" well, GC Common Article III wasn't really written to deal with a conflict such as ours with al-qaeda"

You are kidding. The Geneva Conventions are about treating people with dignity, not about the type of conflict these people are engaged in. These right wing murderers see American life as worth more than all others. Sick. Arrogant. Christian?

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on June 30, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

As a result of this decision, some terrorists will be released from Gitmo

who are these "terrorists", and what terrorist acts have they comitted ? specifics, please.

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I love how the US can hand pick the International laws it wants to abide by while all others better foloow then to the letter or they will feel the full wrath of the mighty US, because afterall, we are the great police force of the world. (More like crooked cop)

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on June 30, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

nutty little nut nut says: "You are kidding. The Geneva Conventions are about treating people with dignity, not about the type of conflict these people are engaged in. "

You're wrong. It used to be that non-signatories of the GC had no GC protection at all...insurgents, terrorists, etc. could be shot on sight, tortured etc...and this was perfectly permissible under the GC.
GC Common Art. III was added which provided certain protections to insurgent groups, etc. but not the same amount of protection given to the regular military of a state ("name, rank and serial number")
there is a cognizable argument that GC Art. III doesn't apply to terrorist organizations the SC yesterday decided that it does in this conflict (for a couple reasons), until Congress deems otherwise.

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

The answer to the Republicans:

Can you win a War of Ideas by destroying your own ideals? --No.

Should we listen to our own military experts, avoid bloody quagmires, get the rest of the West on our side, use containment, and fight smarter? --Yes.

Posted by: Lee A. Arnold on June 30, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Iraqis fighting for their country aren't terrorists. Afghanis fighting for their country aren't terrorists. Giving terrorists due process of law is required, not because they are terrorists, but because they might not be. Any justice system that treats suspected criminals the same as convicted criminals is not only a farce but anti-American. Those who support gutting our criminal justice system and giving the Executive Branch the power to declare individuals no longer subject to the protection of the law are traitors and deserve the standard punishment meted out to such (after, of course, a trial finding that their actions aid and abet our enemies).

Posted by: Just the Facts on June 30, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

If we get McCain to express reservations on video we win.
Posted by: B on June 30, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

The only thing McCain is going to be expressing on video is how much Bush's bitch he is.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno about this being a political victory for the GOP -- unless, that is, the Dems run straight into that play.

Look, a uniformed Navy officer articulated the way out of that trap -- read Arkin this morning on that one.

As always, the Dems will lose if they run as Republican Lite. Given that choice, people will elect real Republicans.

The Dems need to articulate their differences, like any good salesman.

-- Americans do not torture.
-- Americans believe in justice.
-- Americans believe in fair, open trials, including not convicting people without a hearing (like our friend Brian upthread)
-- Americans are not so afraid of terrorists (or taxi drivers who are alleged to be terrorists) that we will shred the Constitution or give up the principles our Revolution was fought for.
-- Republicans are basically cowardly bullies who don't have the courage to stand up for fundamental freedoms.
-- Democrats stand for American principles that have lasted for hundreds of years.

Hardly a slam-dunk for the GOP, if you ask me. I think Wittman, and in this case Kevin, are way too pessimistic.

Posted by: bleh on June 30, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know. He likes to remind people of his prisoner of war years too.

Posted by: B on June 30, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

is amusing to read the liberal MSM...

What is this "liberal MSM" of which you speak?

By the way, here brian plays his usual game of asserting GOP talking points in a faux-reasonable tone, but he revealed his true wingnut colors with a disgusting smear of John Murtha in this thread. The mask is off, brian.

Posted by: Gregory on June 30, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Any justice system that treats suspected criminals the same as convicted criminals is not only a farce but anti-American."

You realize that you just described the Japanese, French (and much of the rest of European) judicial systems? "innocent until proven guilty" is pretty much the rule only in the English speaking world.


Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

This idea of opposing constitutional rights goes nicely with the post about Wal-Mart shoppers/voters. Appeal to Wal-Mart trash with torturing the boogey man and combine that strategy with appealing to Northeastern witch burners and you can be assured of winning the lynch mob vote.

Posted by: Hostile on June 30, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

They want a campaign issue, not a solution, and most likely won't rest until they manage to find legislative wording so punitive and extreme that even Hillary Clinton can't support it.

The Bush administration will ask for a law giving it the authority to do what it was doing, and the law will pass in a hurry by an overwhelming margin. The Congressional debate will include recitations of the evidence agains the prisoners, and recitations of the warlike actions committed by those prisoners who have been released. As well as readings from the letters by the prisoners describing how well they have been treated, and quotes from the EU inspectors about how the prisons are more humane than Belgian prisons.

It will be an enormous win for the Republicans.

Posted by: republicrat on June 30, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory:

I have no truck with smearing Murtha. He's an honorable American. On the other hand, I'm amused to see a Reagan Democrat with a 100% score from the NRA, close to a 0% score from the NARAL (he makes Santorum look pro-choice) and a staunch opponent of gay marriage, become a darling of the left....

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

"innocent until proven guilty" is pretty much the rule only in the English speaking world.

and we should work to keep it the rule, regardless of what bedwetting jingoists think. if i wanted to live under a "guitly until proved innocent" systems of laws, i'd move.

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

I'm left to wonder why Bush & Co wants to try suspected terrorists in kangaroo courts -- courts where the procedures are stacked against the defendants.

Could it be because -- for many of the detainees -- there simply is no way to convict unless the playing field is stacked against them?

If these detainees are truly guilty of something, then the Bush Administration should try them in the traditional way, and try them soon. The only time people are interested in changing the rules is when they can't win the game.

Posted by: Ken on June 30, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

brian wrote: You identify the issue. I assume you and Pelosi are serious about "due process" for foreign terrorists and want them to have open public trials, full discovery, protection by the rules of evidence, full appeal rights, full protection by counsel and everything else associated with due process under U.S. law. I disagree.

brian, unwittingly, identifies the issue. Without due process, the only identification of so-called "terrorists" is the President's say-so. I, for one, do not trust any President with the power to designate someone a terrorist and dispose of them as he pleases, and I especially don't trust a President that asserts he has that power irrespective of Congress or the courts, and moreover, the Founders agree with me.

Desiring a tyranny of the Executive is not moderate, brian, it's extreme, and un-American. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on June 30, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

The "basic guarantees" we are talking about are not based on the Bill of Rights; they are founded in the fundamental structure of the government in Articles I-III. It just means that the Executive can't go around acting like an unreviewable Judiciary, in direct contravention of valid acts of the Legislature. The issue is not "Miranda"; it's the structure of the American way of government. If the Republicans wish to argue that that structure was a mistake of the Founding Fathers, flawed and insufficient, let them. It would be a form of surrender to the terrorists.

Posted by: mikeg on June 30, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky Observer wrote:

If the Democrats start defensive pants-wetting before the 2006 election season is even rolling, and proceed to lose again in 2006 by not taking even one of the two houses, then they can go out and look for another voter to replace me in 2008. And I don't think I will be alone in that.

Who would you vote for if you didn't vote Dem, Cranky? Or would you just skip going to the polls?

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Bin Laden's got a new tape out today.

This, of course, represents a big political victory for the GOP.

Posted by: HeavyJ on June 30, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I think the term 'cowardice' should be used by more Democrats on these sorts of issues.

It is moral cowardice to allow freedom of speech except for speech that we don't like (flag burning.)

It is moral cowardice to say we are a beacon of freedom and yet not to give people we think are our enemies a fair chance to clear themselves.

It is moral cowardice to say that we cannot allow the press to report on the activities of the government without punishment.

Freedom takes courage. Courage that our society can survive and be stronger in spite of the occasional idiot who burns a flag. That our society can survive and be stronger if our goverment is bound by the law and internation treaties. That our society can survive and be stronger even if the press sometimes seems to reveal secrets the government doesn't want the world to know. Openness, fairness, decency, and tolerance do not make us weak, and only cowards and bullies think otherwise.

Punishing the press, punishing flag burners, punishing our perceived enemies, these the easy routes, the route of bias rather than fairness, the route of anger rather than justice, the route of fear rather than confidence.

Posted by: Misplaced Patriot on June 30, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

I just want to see Senators stand up and suggest that we nullify the Geneva convention. That'll make for must-watch CSPAN. And if that's the course of action they end up taking, it'll be disastrous for the repubs, because the american public understands and supports Geneva.

Posted by: Remus Shepherd on June 30, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

"The Congressional debate will include recitations of the evidence agains the prisoners, and recitations of the warlike actions committed by those prisoners who have been released. As well as readings from the letters by the prisoners describing how well they have been treated, and quotes from the EU inspectors about how the prisons are more humane than Belgian prisons.

It will be an enormous win for the Republicans."

Yeah, and then little fairies will fly around, passing out candy to children, and rainbows will dot the landscape. Everybody will throw roses at our feet blah blah blah....

The Democratic response is obvious: abandoning our ideals in order to defeat an enemy who hates those ideals is not a victory for us -- it's a victory for them.

Posted by: Ken on June 30, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

"there is a cognizable argument that GC Art. III doesn't apply to terrorist organizations the SC yesterday decided that it does in this conflict (for a couple reasons), until Congress deems otherwise."

What is this cognizable argument? It certainly doesnt meet with the spirit of the Conventions which provide that countries who have ratified the treaty are bound to provide anyone certain minimal rights no matter where.

If the Congress changes the law, then there is a more than cognizable argument that the United Staes would be in direct violation of general Article III.

In any case, even if the Geneva Conventions dont apply what does it say about a nation that wont even afford those who are caputred and detaineed the most basic of rights?

Are we going to have to change the Pledge of Allegiance?

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to The Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."*

*(When deemed inconvenient by the President, procedural safeguards deemed minimal to ensure even a basic level of justice by civilized nations in the past may be disregarded)

Posted by: Catch22 on June 30, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Fascinating thread. One problem is that "due process" is a concept that people do not understand but they like to say because it sounds so fair, reasonable and honorable. I love the guy who thought we preserved due process in beating the Japenese in WWII -- those atomic bombs falling on Japenese civilians sure complied with all due process rights.

I assume Pelosi does not have a clue as to what due process means, same as many of the commenters here. The tone deafness of her statement was mindboggling -"all are entitled to the basic guarantees of our justice system" and "due process" for terrorists. Somehow, I doubt that Pelosi will repeat her statement. I checked her web site and nothing there -- her last statement is a call to celebrate gay and lesbian pride month.

Posted by: brian on June 30, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Hamden is relatively petty. Here's what I mean. Truman had authority to drop nuclear bombs on two cities, without any review from courts or Congress. He killed many thousands. (Whether it was a good decision is a separate question.) Clinton required no Congressional or judicial review to bomb the former Yugoslavia, even though there had been bi declaration of war or UN resolution. Similarly, Bush has authority to bomb any city in Iraq or Afghanista -- an act that might kill and maim tens of thousands. Bush has authority to use shells made of reprocessed uranium, which some believe will pollute an area for many years.

Yet, under Hamden, the courts and Congress get to quibble with the trial procedure for 600 or 700 Gitmo prisoners -- a relatively minor decision.

I think Republicans will be helped by this decision, because it shows that Bush's critics are ignoring the big picture.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 30, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Anything other than using our courts martial system to prosecute these guys is political grand-standing. We've got a good system, there's no reason not to use it. I mean really, trying people in absentee? It's emabarassing and unnecessary.

Though I gotta say Pelosi did a piss-poor job of articulating the point that Ken articulates above: "abandoning our ideals in order to defeat an enemy who hates those ideals is not a victory for us -- it's a victory for them."

Posted by: cyntax on June 30, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Just the facts wrote:
Iraqis fighting for their country aren't terrorists. Afghanis fighting for their country aren't terrorists.

Gregory wrote:
Without due process, the only identification of so-called "terrorists" is the President's say-so.


I wish EVERY registered voter could read these statements, so that they would all be crystal clear about what's at stake, and be see how far off the deep end today's far left has gone.

Then it wouldn't just be a "Republican majority" in congress, the next election would be a blood-letting.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Yet, under Hamden, the courts and Congress get to quibble with the trial procedure for 600 or 700 Gitmo prisoners -- a relatively minor decision.
Posted by: ex-liberal on June 30, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Honestly - I don't give a crap about these 600 to 700 people. I care far more about the PRINCIPAL that we're a nation of laws, nobody is above the law, and all are treated equally under the law.

That, and the fact that Ramsi Yousef was caught, tried, convicted, and jailed during Clinton's presidency - and bin Laden's still out there 5 years later.

I think Republicans will be helped by this decision, because it shows that Bush's critics are ignoring the big picture.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Basicaly, Kevin is proposing that the Democrats cooperate with degrading the rules governing courts martial to suit the political expediency of an administration that undermined commonly accepted human rights and the accepted rule of law.

Why?

Posted by: notthere on June 30, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose the wingnut arguments make sense if you remember that they don't consider ANY arab, iraqi, or afghani detained, imprisoned, or tortured to be humans, or worthy of any rights.

call it for what it is ... these racist fucks enjoy killing arabs because they think that this is equivalent to doing something productive. they need a scapegoat just like the germans did, and any and everything done to the sand niggers is justified.

Posted by: Nads on June 30, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Catch-22:

I don't know anything about the "spirit of the conventions" -- which allow for summary execution of certain types of combatants.

GC Art. III has certain delineated parameters as to who is covered...due to the nature of al-qaeda...its not an easy question as to whether its covered.

The GC isn't like our domestic criminal judicial system...it doesn't cover everyone.

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Nads wrote:

call it for what it is ... these racist fucks enjoy killing arabs because they think that this is equivalent to doing something productive. they need a scapegoat just like the germans did, and any and everything done to the sand niggers is justified.

It is interesting to note that your language is more offensive by a large measure than any of the conservatives you supposedly impugn. This is common among loony libs (but not common among thoughtful leftists).

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I think Republicans will be helped by this decision, because it shows that Bush's critics are ignoring the big picture

WTF? the country's system of checks and balances, rule of law, and separation of powers is a the "big picture".

...

hey sportsfan, if you have evidence that every single one of the people held in Gitmo is a "terrorist", feel free to share it with the rest of us.

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

brian: They should agree to most everything that Bush proposes, so they can run as strong on terror.

or, they could agree to a sensible compromise, and run as upholding the Constitution. remember that?

Posted by: e1 on June 30, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

hey sportsfan, if you have evidence that every single one of the people held in Gitmo is a "terrorist", feel free to share it with the rest of us.

Well, admittedly I don't have personal knowlege about the background of each and every Gitmo detainee. However, what separates you and I is that I actually have faith in my country, and by extension, in the military experts charged with protecting it's freedoms.

You, on the other hand, seem to automatically class these enemy combatants as innocent. And it is obvious (although you haven't actually stated it) that the primary reason for this is your own political feeling about the Republican Administration. Put it this way: if Clinton was currently President, my position would stay the same, but yours would likely change.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Iraqis fighting for their country aren't terrorists."

You mean Sunnis summarily killing Shiites and Americans cause the Sunnis think that they should rule Iraq..despite being 20% of the population? Ok, the ones that aren't targeting civilians (and which groups are those?) aren't "terrorists" per se...but they're hardly fighting for "their country"..they're fighting for Sunni control.

You mean Shiites committing random revenge killings against Sunnis? That's terrorism by definition. And they're certainly not fighting for "their country."

"Afghanis fighting for their country aren't terrorists."

You're correct..the members of the nascent Afghan National Army are not terrorists. I'll grant that various warlords killing NATO troops and Afghan police aren't usually terrorists...they're just fighting for power and drug profits. But that's fighting for "their country?"

Idiots. Cheez...if I didn't honestly think that the Republican party needs to be chastened and lose some seats I would tell you to go ahead and broadcast that statement to every voter. Your understanding of the American electorate is only equaled by your knowledge of the Iraqi "insurgency" and the Taliban.

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

hey sportsfan, if you have evidence that every single one of the people held in Gitmo is a "terrorist", feel free to share it with the rest of us.
Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I'd tell you the evidnece, but it's top secret, and it would endanger America to make it public. Who do you think I am, the New York Times?

Posted by: sportsfan69 on June 30, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

It is interesting to note that your language is more offensive by a large measure than any of the conservatives you supposedly impugn. This is common among loony libs (but not common among thoughtful leftists).
Posted by: sportsfan79

fuck you and your tender sensibilities with respect to my language ... I find your lack of morality and unfettered racism offensive.

I'm not about to start being polite to every bigot who goes around "debating" the merits of torture, you amoral bukkake spawn.

Posted by: Nads on June 30, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

However, what separates you and I is that I actually have faith in my country

no you don't. you have faith in the leader of your preferred political party. you clearly don't give two shits about the country and what it stands for.

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Nads wrote:
fuck you and your tender sensibilities with respect to my language ... I find your lack of morality and unfettered racism offensive.

Your language does not offend my sensibilites. I highlight it only to demonstrate how utterly useless your viewpoint is.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Your language does not offend my sensibilites.
Posted by: sportsfan79

That's comforting ... I'd hate to be thought poorly of by someone who's an apologist for torture.

Posted by: Nads on June 30, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

While I certainly can see the GOP trying to make this sort of political hay out of this decision as Kevin describes I am not so sure that this time it will work as it did in the 2002-04 election cycles. The problem with claiming Geneva Conventions are "quaint" and "outdated" is that there is nothing being offered in its place to deal with the very serious issues of how to conduct warfare with as much respect as possible for fundamental democratic concepts as the rule of law, right of the individual to be able to defend against charges by a government, and most importantly IMHO to treat captured enemies as human beings regardless of what their side may or may not be doing. This is one of the main reasons the Japanese were treated so well by the Allies even when Allied soldiers were being tortured to death by the Japanese government/military.

You do this for several reasons, one of the most important is to maintain your own humanity and moral authority to call yourselves the "good guys" in this conflict rests upon how well you actually practice what you preach about such things. If you find the notion of Americans being tortured by Muslims offensive/sickening/disgusting yet do not have the same revulsion to the reverse then you are not motivated by principles first but rather have a double standard and therefore no moral authority/credibility. Then there is the reciprocation argument that can be made to further illustrate why those you are fighting are the "bad guys" because of how they treat your guys even when you treat their guys with the dignity human beings deserve even when they have committed monstrous acts. Finally though there is the ugly and harsh truth that torture is wrong and an evil act regardless of who does it and for what reason. Geneva prevents such abuses from taking place and protects the integrity and arguably the souls of those that follow it.

Remember all you self proclaimed Christians that claim they follow Christian teachings and want the government to do the same, Christ said to turn the other cheek to your enemies, not to turn around and start beating them to death. The Geneva Conventions are not obsolete, they are not quaint, they are a cornerstone for civilized countries to fight wars without becoming the very things they are fighting against. This is what abandoning Geneva is doing to America under Bush and it is long past time the Dems made this point forcefully and repeatedly to the American people. The political Right in America has demonstrated that their moral authority/credibility is no better than those they are ostensibly fighting against and the Trolletariat here is continuing down that dark and evil path.

Indeed the fact that the Trolletariat has been as active as it has been the last few days here on these topics shows just how afraid they are that the majority of Americans have begun to clearly see that which they have obfuscated for so long. That what Bush has been doing is weakening America across the board and destroying her moral authority and that the GOP/Bushco are far more interested in staying in power at all costs than they are in doing that which they all are sworn to do...preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States of America. What has been done in the name of the "war on terror" is to undercut that Constitution at every chance they get to advance a partisanly ideological agenda made for their supporters only and not Americans generally.

Posted by: Scotian on June 30, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Sportsfan69 wrote:
I'd tell you the evidnece, but it's top secret, and it would endanger America to make it public. Who do you think I am, the New York Times?

It's a red letter day for me. I finally got my very own childish liberal impersonator on the WM website. Wait, "childish liberal" is redundant.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what I'd like to know, and maybe Brian can inform me.

Without "due process" -- or any process at all that tries to get to the truth -- just how do we know whether someone is a terrorist?

His answer SEEMS to be (and please correct me, Brian, if I'm wrong, by explaining your method of arriving at the truth) that if Bush says someone is a terrorist, they're a terrorist, gosh darn it.

If an Afghan turned in his neighbor for a reward (you know, the neighbor whose dog just would NOT stop barking), the neighbor MUST be a terrorist, no?

Sorry, but I believe in the American system of justice. The one where guilt is determined by trial, not by arrest.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 30, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

You, on the other hand, seem to automatically class these enemy combatants as innocent.

actually, i don't. i just don't have evidence enough to pronounce them guilty. maybe you think it's fine to send people off to prison forever without charges; i don't. neither did the people who founded this country.

Put it this way: if Clinton was currently President, my position would stay the same

bullshit.

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

That's comforting ... I'd hate to be thought poorly of by someone who's an apologist for torture.

What, you couldn't work the f-word in there somewhere?

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

cleek wrote:
no you don't. you have faith in the leader of your preferred political party. you clearly don't give two shits about the country and what it stands for.

Utterly false. I voted for Clinton, twice. What the mentally-challenged on this site can't seem to get past is that the entire political system in America goes deeper than the POTUS. Your irrational hatred is so strong that you can't get past Bush on any single issue.

Democratic president, Republican president; doesn't matter. Either way, we need to keep enemy combatant proceedings in military courts.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

I think what the repub bigots don't understand, or can't yet identify with, is that they won't be in charge forever.

And eventually, some attorney general (probably not a repub) will detain, possibly torture, some of the terrorists that these moral cripples secretly support ... like mcveigh, or eric rudolph, or abortion clinic terrorists, or neo-nazis ... and THEN, when they see the whitest cracker being imprisoned indefinately without trial, it may dawn on them why this is a bad idea.

Of course, since they don't identify with arabs, or any foreign-looking "other," or even consider such humans, it would take one of our home-grown terrorists for this point to be made.

It may not even take someone white ... try this with enough african americans or latinos, and the backlash will come that much sooner.

Posted by: Nads on June 30, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Democratic president, Republican president; doesn't matter. Either way, we need to keep enemy combatant proceedings in military courts.
Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Because somehow - that didn't work for the 1993 WTC bombers?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

"It is interesting to note that your language is more offensive by a large measure than any of the conservatives you supposedly impugn."

Hey, sportsfan79, I'll respond to you as one of the right's favorite spokespeople does to liberals:

Shut up! Shut up! Just shut up!

See? Now THAT's inoffensive language.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 30, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

And eventually, some attorney general (probably not a repub) will detain, possibly torture, some of the terrorists that these moral cripples secretly support ... like mcveigh, or eric rudolph, or abortion clinic terrorists, or neo-nazis ... and THEN, when they see the whitest cracker being imprisoned indefinately without trial, it may dawn on them why this is a bad idea.

In your fantasy world, anyone who supports a tough defense in the WOT also supports Timothy McVeigh and the KKK.

How did you get so delusional?

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Your irrational hatred is so strong that you can't get past Bush on any single issue.

now he thinks he a fucking psychologist!

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Democratic president, Republican president; doesn't matter. Either way, we need to keep enemy combatant proceedings in military courts."

Says who? The law.

"Democratic president, Republican president; doesn't matter. Either way, we need to keep... this a nation of laws and not men."

That is what the majority held.

Posted by: Catch22 on June 30, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Either way, we need to keep enemy combatant proceedings in military courts."

Then what's your problem with the Hamdan ruling? It specifically held that military COURTS (not the kangaroo "tribunals" Bush wanted) can try these guys.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 30, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Well, admittedly I don't have personal knowlege about the background of each and every Gitmo detainee. However, what separates you and I is that I actually have faith in my country, and by extension, in the military experts charged with protecting it's freedoms.
Posted by: sportsfan79

You say you have faith in your country ... then demonstrate it by standing up for the ideals of our country instead of using this as an excuse for your racist tendancies.

What you really mean is that you have faith in this administration ... and your faith in these losers is naive and misplaced.

This admin hasn't been right about wmds, iraq and al qaeda, has been impotent with respect to actually finding OBL, has massively underestimated the troop requirement for iraq, lied about yellow-cake and iraqi nuclear ability, and is losing the war.

They haven't been right about much, actually. Your faith is currently misplaced. Try putting it back in America as opposed to these war criminals.

Posted by: Nads on June 30, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

I wish EVERY registered voter could read these statements, so that they would all be crystal clear about what's at stake, and be see how far off the deep end today's far left has gone.

Um, sportsfan, I would contend that prior to Dear Leader, the concept that the President is answerable to Congress and the Courts was hadly "off the deep end." I suggest that the unabashed advocacy of an unchecked, tyrannical Executive -- ananathema to our Founders -- shows just how far off the deep end the Bush Cultists have gone.

Posted by: Gregory on June 30, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Shut up! Shut up! Just shut up!

Sorry Cal Gal, on this website, even moderates and conservatives are allowed to have an opinion.

In that one respect, at least, this site is better than others I've seen that sensor all posts that aren't liberal.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

The distraction of legalistic trials will make our anti-terrorism efforts less effective, resulting in a longer, bloodier war. Even worse, if this decision hampers US efforts to the point where al Qaeda winds up controlling Iraq or some other country, they'd be in position to murder many thousands.
Posted by: ex-liberal

Yeah, you're right, you fucking moron, just grab a slew of Iraqi's, throw them in Gitmo, run a sham tribunal and execute them. And you have the nerve to talk about the "human impact"? You are a tool. You scream about the terror attacks that killed 3,000+ of our citizenry, but what about the "human impact" of at least 50,000 dead Iraqi's? Or, by "human impact", do you mean "western human impact"?

For all of the talk from rightards like yourself about "freeing Iraqi's", the truth is that you can't even bring yourself to include them in your toll of "human impact". You are truly pathetic.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 30, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Shut up!

And THAT's my opinion.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 30, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Um, sportsfan, I would contend that prior to Dear Leader, the concept that the President is answerable to Congress and the Courts was hadly "off the deep end." I suggest that the unabashed advocacy of an unchecked, tyrannical Executive -- ananathema to our Founders -- shows just how far off the deep end the Bush Cultists have gone.

You ignored the quoted statements in my post, and switched subjects entirely with your post. A common evasive tactic in today's left.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't agree with Marshall Wittman much these days"

I am glad to see I am not the only one who felt this way. His has also become boring as of late - beating the same drum over and over again - yeah I get it the Democrats have to keeps their left wing in check.

Posted by: Al's dad (not that Al) on June 30, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Shut up!

And THAT's my opinion.

Weak.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

In your fantasy world, anyone who supports a tough defense in the WOT also supports Timothy McVeigh and the KKK.
Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Nope.

I support a tough defense.

I think war-profiteering WEAKENS our defense. Attacking Iraq when the WoT job in Afghanistan was left unfinished WEAKENED our defense.

In your fantasy world, all Liberals are pacifists. That's a caricature created by Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

What are the "tough guidelines" that Democrats would be right to support, Kevin? Be specific.

Do you mean torture? The admissability of evidence gained from torture? No access to lawyers or civilian Courts? Monitored conversations between lawyers and clients? A burden of proof that rests with the defendant rather than the prosectution? Indefinite detention?

Really. Which of these complete travesties of juctice do you think the Democrats ought to write in to law?

Posted by: Pete on June 30, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'm amused I'm amused to see a Reagan Democrat with a 100% score from the NRA, close to a 0% score from the NARAL (he makes Santorum look pro-choice) and a staunch opponent of gay marriage, become a darling of the left....

Posted by: Nathan darling of the left....
Posted by: Nathan

And I'm similarly amused to see a Reagan Democrat with a 100% score from the NRA, close to a 0% score from the NARAL (he makes Santorum look pro-choice) and a staunch opponent of gay marriage, become a punching bag of the right.

But whatever floats your boat...

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 30, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

cleek says:
"maybe you think it's fine to send people off to prison forever without charges; i don't. neither did the people who founded this country."

actually, the SC ruled that they can be detained forever (until the cessation of "hostilities")...which is certainly provided for by the GC.

As things stand now...a detainee covered by Hamdan (i.e. not a U.S. citizen or someone captured on U.S. soil -- its more complicated than that..but that's a decent rough way of phrasing it), will have one of 5 things happen to them:

A. they will be detained for as long as we feel like it.
B. they will be released (most likely to their home country -- and they might easily prefer Guantanamo to that).
C. they will be transferred to the American criminal system.
D. they will be tried in a court martial
E. they will be tried by a tribunal authorized by Congress.

The primary point of interest (and it is quite notable) of Hamdan was that it essentially restated and clarified Youngstown. Little, if anything, will change for the detainees.

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of clueless, Pelosi issued an idiotic statement after the decision about "justice for all" and "due process." I assume someone will shut her up, but how could someone like that be the head of the democrats in the house?

If you were an American, you'd understand.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 30, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

MeLoseBrain:

agreed actually.

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Nope.

I support a tough defense.

I think war-profiteering WEAKENS our defense. Attacking Iraq when the WoT job in Afghanistan was left unfinished WEAKENED our defense.

Now we're getting somewhere. I agree with you about war-profiteering. However, do you really believe the entire effort in Iraq is about profiteering? I'm sure many on this site would say "yes" to that question. That's sad.

We needed to establish a stable democracy in the ME. That's what Iraq is about. I knew we'd be going into Iraq on 9/12/01, before any debates about "WMD's", or "no war for oil". How else did people see this playing out? I can't believe there are so many presumably reasonable people who didn't think we'd have a tough road to travel in the ME. It's going to be a long, difficult battle to stabilize that region. IMO, anyone should have been able to predict how difficult it would be. But, also necessary.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Pete:

de facto indefinite detention is specifically provided for by Hamdan. Further, it is also provided for by the Geneva Conventions.

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

...However, what separates you and I is that I actually have faith in my country, and by extension, in the military experts charged with protecting it's freedoms.

You, on the other hand, seem to automatically class these enemy combatants as innocent....

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

There's a good reason why we don't put the military in charge of the country, and it surely is faith that you have in this administration since all evidence shows them to have particular disregard for the constitution, law, treaties, even, as you proclaim for yourself, the simple yet vital idea of innocence until proven, let alone their sheer incompetence.

That's why all terrorism until now has fallen under civil law. It's the seduction of unfettered power that has misled this administration and its sycophants.

Time for the US to think hard about the strengths of the Constitution and the separation of powers before it's too late.

Posted by: notthere on June 30, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK
well, GC Common Article III wasn't really written to deal with a conflict such as ours with al-qaeda

Actually, I think it was, which is why proposed language that would have stated that the provision applied particularly to internal uprisings was stricken; the kind of non-international (as in, "not between nations") conflict we are engaged with against al-Qaeda is not new in the history of warfare; conflicts of a state with non-state organized violent groups like pirates, etc., operating from territory unclaimed by any state or with impotent governments are as old as time.

They were hardly outside the historical understanding of the drafters of the Geneva Conventions.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK
However, what separates you and I is that I actually have faith in my country, and by extension, in the military experts charged with protecting it's freedoms.

The mistake of equating faith in country with blind faith in government agents is what separates fascists from true patriots.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

A common evasive tactic in today's left.

he says, demonstrating a common evasive tactic of today's right.

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

actually, the SC ruled that they can be detained forever

that's great. the founding fathers and i still disagree.

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK
um, Hamdan specifically states that the Gitmo detainess (and others) have Art. III rights...which means that we can hold them pretty much forever (until the end of "hostilities") without charges.

Having rights under Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 does not mean we can hold them forever. (You might argue that the "common law of war" or something allows that and Common Article III doesn't prohibit it, but I think that reason suggests—and Hamdan hints&mdas;that in an amorphous war against an ill-defined enemy, whatever Constitutional powers of detention exist with regard to war may be restrained by considerations besides the end of hostilities.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

well, the Barbary corsairs, etc., were state-supported...as were most terrorist groups until the fall of the Soviet Union (actually, most still are state supported). oh, and pirates probably don't have CAIII protection (yes, folks, that means you can legally hang them on sight for purposes of international law)

and the fact that Common Article III (at least for now) is not privately enforceable is probably reflective of that.

nevertheless, the fact that at least 6 justices (see Alito's dissent also accepting the application of Art. III) found that Art. III applies to al-quaeda suffices (and despite what many think, we don't know how Roberts would have voted since his Ct.ofApp. decision was constrained by precedent). I was only noting that there is a cognizable argument the other way (the text of Art. III is ambiguous (act of war occurred in the U.S. but the detainees were captured on a different battlefield)).
but I have no problem saying, given the foregoing, that the Court probably got it right.

what many here don't seem to realize is that the U.S. has always (if not always enforced) applied CAIII protections to the Taliban and Iraqi insurgents. It is only al-qaeda that has garnered an additional protection as a result of Hamdan. I'll also note that existing prohibitions against torture in U.S. law easily went as far or further than the vague language in CAIII.

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

...We needed to establish a stable democracy in the ME. That's what Iraq is about....

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

So, the administration is just plain dishonest with the electorate in reasons and objectives and cost and timescale; applies too few resources to the problem; avoids controlling the inherent corruption of no-bid contracts; is doing a really poor job of achieving said goal (if that's is now what it is); and subverts the laws of this nation.

Disregard that they failed to conclude the Afghan war satisfactorily; that they wanted an appointed "Vichy" government of Chalabi, etc.; that over 3 years they have only made half-hearted efforts to build capable police and security forces . . . the list goes on.

Nice job! And you still trust them? Amazing!

Posted by: notthere on June 30, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

"but I think that reason suggestsand Hamdan hints&mdas;that in an amorphous war against an ill-defined enemy,"

er, no, it doesn't so hint. its very clear (as are the GC) that we can hold them until the cessation of hostilities...which for an "amorphous war against an ill-defined enemy" is, de facto, forever

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

cleek:

do you disagree that prisoners of war can be held until the end of hostilities?

thats been the rule for how many thousands of years?

you seem to think that these are criminal defendants (in which case the GC doesn't apply)...they can end up being both...but they are, at the moment, quasi-prisoners-of-war

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

This is what Pelosi said: "Todays Supreme Court decision reaffirms the American ideal that all are entitled to the basic guarantees of our justice system."

Yes, and?

Which part of "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" do you not understand?

Posted by: hamletta on June 30, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

do you really believe the entire effort in Iraq is about profiteering?

Yes. I truly do. There's quite a bit of evidence to support this view.

We needed to establish a stable democracy in the ME.

Yeah - because that's worked so well in Palestine.

And I'd counter that while a lot of effort has been put towards "purple fingers" in Iraq, they've utterly FAILED on the "stable" front. And it's my opinion that they're not even trying. ON PURPOSE. Because that prolongs the conflict, and increases the profit of this venture.

You can't do two things with a democracy.
You can't force people to have a democracy at gunpoint.
You can't force people who don't want and don't beleive in democracy to have it. The first thing they'll do is vote to get rid of it. Oh- they'll keep holding sham elections. They've got sham elections in Iran. They had them in Iraq too, under Saddam. Hell, they had sham elections in the Soviet Union.

So, just for kicks, let's pretend that Iraq isn't about war-profiteering, and it's about producing a stable democracy. We're not doing a damn thing about providing law and order, or fixing their infrastructure so that they can get any kind of rudimentary economy going. Iraq needs a strong middle class, and domestic industry, so that there's a reason for their people to get educated, and learn that in order to live in a modern world, they must reject the mullahs, and radical islam, and their message of hate. They've got to stop treating their women like slaves, and let the women get educated too. They've got to reject Sharia, and respect human rights. THEN they have a chance at being a stable democracy.

If we fail on those objectives (which we've done so far - purposely, I posit), then the first thing they're going to do (and have done) is vote for radical islam (Sharia) and put the Mullahs in charge (like Iran). Which is convenient for the bomb-manufacturing industry. Not for the ballot-printing industry.

I knew we'd be going into Iraq on 9/12/01, before any debates about "WMD's", or "no war for oil".

Really?

I knew we'd be going into Iraq on November 12, 2000.

If you knew about it on 9/12 - weren't you pretty pissed off in 2003 about all the discussion on WMD etc? Didn't you know you were being lied to? Didn't you resent it? If there was a strong case for war in Iraq on Democracy-Building grounds, then why didn't Bush make that case? Why did they make up this WMD bullshit? And why did YOU accept it, knowing that it was about democracy-building instead?

If the goal is to discourage radical islam, and the terrorism it breeds, Iraq was the LAST country you would want to invade. The FIRST would very clearly be Saudi Arabia - where the royals are STILL promoting anti-America and anti-Jew hatred in their official schoolbooks. Wahhabism originated in Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden is from Saudi Arabia. And because we, as a nation, have made ourselves so dependent upon KSA oil, we can't afford to play political hardball with them. So we coddle them, and they're continuing to churn out the next generation of terrorists.

The answer to the terror problem lies in eliminating our dependence on foreign oil FIRST. And then, after that - taking an honest appraoch to politics with nations run by "evil dictators" - and in combating radical islam, the first step is education. Letting KSA Wahhabists educate millions of poor arabs, africans, and persians, in their madrassas, funded by Petrodollars, is much more of a "suicide pact" than honoring the Bill of Rights.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

notthere wrote:
There's a good reason why we don't put the military in charge of the country, and it surely is faith that you have in this administration since all evidence shows them to have particular disregard for the constitution, law, treaties, even, as you proclaim for yourself, the simple yet vital idea of innocence until proven, let alone their sheer incompetence.

I do have faith in this administration. I also have faith in my state Governor (Tim Pawlenty), and my state senator (Norm Coleman). Actually, I can name Democratic politicians I have faith in also. Their views may differ from mine, but I believe they are acting out of the interest of this country.

Blind hatred of the POTUS does not accomplish anything. And we have much to accomplish.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

do you disagree that prisoners of war can be held until the end of hostilities?

according to the administration, they're not POWs.

you seem to think that these are criminal defendants

actually, i know they're not. if they were, they'd have at least a chance to confront their accusers in front of an ostensibly impartial 3rd party. instead, they are being held on the say-so of the same people who told us there were 30,000 chemcial artillery shells in Iraq.

here's my view: after 4 years, present the evidence that these people have done something that demands their further imprisonment to an ostensibly impartial 3rd party, or let them go. period.

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Blind hatred of the POTUS does not accomplish anything. And we have much to accomplish.
Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

hm. I wish that had been the position of the right from 1992-2000.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: the "unitary executive" concept has nothing whatsoever to do with ignoring SC decisions. (and if the administration ignored the SC decision (a highly unlikely prospect), that unconstitutional action would not be a result of any "unitary executive" theory)

The unitary executive concept has been used to ignore legislation to a greater extent than ever before in American history. I just wondered if Bush would try to extend that to supreme court decisions. I still wonder.

btw, "signing statements" aren't used for SC decisions.

That's why I called it a secret coda rather than a signing statement. I guess it would be a secret presidential finding that the decision didn't apply to him.

Posted by: anandine on June 30, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_Been_Forgotten, that was a long post. But with lots of information. Where to begin...?

OK, if you truly believe we are in Iraq purely for profiteering, and are PURPOSELY prolonging the conflict for profits, then I can't see eye to eye with you on that one. Your position supposes so much corruption on such a deep level -- I just don't believe anywhere near to your position. I do, however, understand that some (immoral) people will use even a military conflict to make profit. Just not as deep a corruption as you believe.

About the elections; I don't believe that those incredible numbers of Iraqi citizens came out to vote in a sham election, especially with the amount of personal risk that they braved. I think those elections were a hugely inspirational story. People say "there's still civil war between opposing groups", and "the elections didn't mean anything". Not entirely true. The Iraqi people have definitely experienced oppression, and the numbers that participated in free elections certainly proves that the majority are interested in something besides the next brutal dictator. It is true that ethnic factions are now fighting each other. That is an unfortunate and difficult by-product of the situation. Fledgling democracies are not immediately evolved into what we have in the USA. They are messy at first. Ours was too.

I'd better stop for now. Interesting post.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Doctor JayWe beat the Japanese while keeping due process. We beat the Soviet Union in the Cold War while keeping due process.

Except, of course, for the internment camps, and HUAC hearings, and army and FBI illegal snooping.

Nathan: technically speaking, whatever rules Congress ends up setting will be due process by definition.

If that were true, no law regarding legal process could ever be overturned as unconstitutional, but such laws have been overturned.

Posted by: anandine on June 30, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Blind hatred of the POTUS does not accomplish anything. And we have much to accomplish.
Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

hm. I wish that had been the position of the right from 1992-2000.

Agreed. I'm not kidding. I thought "InternGate" was an enormous waste of our national consciousness, and a witch hunt. Sure, the guy was guilty and he lied about it. But that was a subject for the Oprah show, and not for a grand jury.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

I've got to sign off now. This was an enormously interesting thread.

Enjoy the holiday. And no matter what your political leanings, give serious thought to flying the flag.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Your position supposes so much corruption on such a deep level --

Why, in God's name, has the senate fought tooth-and-nail against any oversight, any investigation into the "missing" $9 Billion that the CPA "lost"? You've got to be mentally disabled to not see the widespread criminality of this enterprise.

I'm also one who doesn't believe it's exclusive to Republicans. Though the Norquist/DeLay/Abramoff/Ney scam, and the Harris/Cunningham scam seem to be uniquely partisan affairs, (there's also Frist's insider trading, Hastert's dealings with the Russian Mafia and Turkish terror groups), there's plenty of Democratic Party scum too; Pelosi's defense industry investments, Boxer's conflicts of interest with the entertainment industry - etc. However, the worst thing that happens when a senator is bribed by the entertainment industry is you can't copy CD's. The worst thing that happens when congressmen are bribed by defense contractors is hundreds of thousands of innocent deaths.

I think those elections were a hugely inspirational story.

Yeah, until you look at it in a deeper than 1st-grade level, and realize that they enthusiastically voted to ratify a constitution that enshrines Sharia. In my view - that's a resounding defeat for freedom, democracy, and any hope of stopping radical islam in the Middle East. You don't give the Osama bin Ladens and Tim McVeighs of the world a ballot - because they will vote for bombs. That's not inspiring. It's terrifying.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Enjoy the holiday. And no matter what your political leanings, give serious thought to flying the flag.
Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 30, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

I've got the Bill of Rights on a flag. I'll be flying that. Fuck the colors.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK
er, no, it doesn't so hint.

That was my error. Hamdan expressly doesn't discuss detention authority at all; it is Hamdi that hinted at this.

its very clear (as are the GC) that we can hold them until the cessation of hostilities...

Well, no. Hamdan expressly doesn't discuss the issue, as it would be dicta far outside the bounds of the issues before it, saying: It bears emphasizing that Hamdan does not challenge, and we do not today address, the Government's power to detain him for the duration of active hostilities in order to prevent such harm.

Hamdi, in the passage that I was thinking of when I wrote the earlier post (and had mistakenly attributed to Hamdan in writing that post), says this: Further, we understand Congress' grant of authority for the use of "necessary and appropriate force" to include the authority to detain for the duration of the relevant conflict, and our understanding is based on longstanding law-of-war principles. If the practical circumstances of a given conflict are entirely unlike those of the conflicts that informed the development of the law of war, that understanding may unravel. But that is not the situation we face as of this date.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

anandine:

oh gosh, more "unitary executive" crap. it doesn't mean what you think it means...

heck, even cmdicely agreed yesterday that the basic "unitary executive" concept was sound...(yes, it has been stretched too far by some people...but its a conflict with Congress not the judiciary)

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

fair enough. "It bears emphasizing that Hamdan does not challenge, and we do not today address, the Government's power to detain him for the duration of active hostilities in order to prevent such harm."

in other words, the Government has, as of right now, the legal right to detain "enemy combatants", de facto, indefinitely.

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK
"Iraqis fighting for their country aren't terrorists."

You mean Sunnis summarily killing Shiites and Americans cause the Sunnis think that they should rule Iraq..despite being 20% of the population? Ok, the ones that aren't targeting civilians (and which groups are those?) aren't "terrorists" per se...but they're hardly fighting for "their country"..they're fighting for Sunni control.

You mean Shiites committing random revenge killings against Sunnis? That's terrorism by definition. And they're certainly not fighting for "their country."

"Afghanis fighting for their country aren't terrorists."

You're correct..the members of the nascent Afghan National Army are not terrorists. I'll grant that various warlords killing NATO troops and Afghan police aren't usually terrorists...they're just fighting for power and drug profits. But that's fighting for "their country?"

Idiots. Cheez...if I didn't honestly think that the Republican party needs to be chastened and lose some seats I would tell you to go ahead and broadcast that statement to every voter. Your understanding of the American electorate is only equaled by your knowledge of the Iraqi "insurgency" and the Taliban.

Wow, look whose reading comprehension hasnt improved since he invented a claim that I, in any way, referred to innocent until proven guilty. (If Nathan is your lawyer, assuming he really is a lawyer, you should look for counsel capable of reading simple declarative sentences without creating new meanings for the words)

Idiot. If I wanted to say Sunnis I would have said Sunnis. If Id wanted to say drug lords I would have said drug lords. I wasnt specific for a good reason, to rope morons into arguing against simple truths.

Now, if you think that fighting for power isnt fighting for their country, you are as stupid as your re-writing of the meanings of my simple sentences makes you appear. People engaged in a fight to control their nation are, by definition, fighting for their country. You may not believe they have the right to it, I may not believe they have the right to it, but that fighting that fight does not make them terrorists.

I will make one concession. By terrorists I am referring to those who are, or would be, a danger to American civilians. This should be clear from the topic provided by our host. So, while an individual targeting Iraqi civilians may be a terrorist there is no evidence that he is a danger to American civilians.

Posted by: Just the Facts on June 30, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Sportsfan, you have something called BDS: Bush Devotion Syndrome. You're so hepped on the pheromones of the Flightsuit Picture, the Full Jaunty after the death of Zarqawi, that you really don't see the point of our argument at all.

Our Founding Fathers established the first nation on Earth where government was constrained by fundamental laws. These included, just as an example, habeas corpus. In their great admiration of a man who spent his childhood killing frogs by putting firecrackers in their butts (remember those nightsticks at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib), the ex-conservatives seem ready to jettison this entire structure of laws. The fact that George Bush may not decide to detain me as he did Padilla does not make me comfortable with his completely unprecedented claim to be able to do so. And likewise with these combatants. If the Dems have any smarts, they'll campaign on Courts-Martial and the Geneva Conventions, both of which have resonance with the American public.

Which sport are you a fan of, BTW? Stretching on the rack? Waterboarding? Some other part of the GOP Depravity Olympics?

Posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on June 30, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK
what many here don't seem to realize is that the U.S. has always (if not always enforced) applied CAIII protections to the Taliban and Iraqi insurgents. It is only al-qaeda that has garnered an additional protection as a result of Hamdan. I'll also note that existing prohibitions against torture in U.S. law easily went as far or further than the vague language in CAIII.

Since the international convention to which the US is a part that those laws implement (incompletely) exists, in large part, to amplify the provisions of CAIII, that's hardly surprising; of course, its also not entirely true, since CAIII, unlike US torture law, is actually applicable in US territory.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Brian - your reply to me put a LOT of words into my mouth that I did not say. I did comment on this issue over at FireDogLake (where these liberal ladies are very good lawyers). FOR THE RECORD - I asked if we could have fair (not necessarily open) trials and still protect sources and methods. My problem with the National Review's America is that they pretend we Americans are such incompetent boobs that we can't have both. I think we can. I just wish we'd have a real debate and not the petty cheap shots those on the right was trying to lob.

Posted by: pgl on June 30, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK
in other words, the Government has, as of right now, the legal right to detain "enemy combatants", de facto, indefinitely.

"Indefinitely" and "forever" are two very different words; as long as you say indefinitely you are correct. When you say forever, you are on far shakier ground.

(And, in either case, "de facto" adds nothing.)

Posted by: cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK
oh gosh, more "unitary executive" crap. it doesn't mean what you think it means...

Well, used properly, it doesn't mean what anandine uses it to mean. But then again, the Bush defenders who use it to justify power grabs generally aren't using it properly, either.

heck, even cmdicely agreed yesterday that the basic "unitary executive" concept was sound...

Insofar as it is sound, it bears little relationship to many of the things Bush defenders have advanced under its banner.

(yes, it has been stretched too far by some people...but its a conflict with Congress not the judiciary)

Both the sound idea of the unitary executive and the unsound version bandied about by Bushies has application in both Executive/Legislative and Executive/Judicial conflicts; the unsound Bush version also blends fairly seemlessly and without a clear boundary into other assertions of ludicrous extensive executive powers under the Bush administration, so its not really unreasonable that many people don't distinguish between the power grabs under that label and those under other labels that are, in substance, very similar.


Posted by: cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Since I'm leaving for a weekend sans computer, cellphone and what-not these will be my last comments:

cmdicely: true. But, the waterboarding, etc. (at least the actually authorized treatment) appears to not have taken place on U.S. territory (Diego Garcia, Hungary, something like that)...

justthefacts: nice back-down. way to redefine things. btw, what the hell does "Wow, look whose reading comprehension hasnt improved since he invented a claim that I, in any way, referred to innocent until proven guilty."

I don't have the foggiest clue what you're talking about...you may have confused me with someone else?

Lazarus:
"first nation on Earth where government was constrained by fundamental laws"

that's not true. but certainly we have emphasized it.

Posted by: Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Ken: Yeah, and then little fairies will fly around, passing out candy to children, and rainbows will dot the landscape. Everybody will throw roses at our feet blah blah blah....

What do you think the debates will be like? Do you think that either party will benefit?

The Supreme Court ruled that the military tribunals were not "regularly constituted". Congress will constitute the military tribunals in the regular way, namely a literal act of Congress, and then the tribunals will proceed. This ruling probably postpones the judgments, and hence whatever justice will be the outcome, but it does not guarantee a more just outcome for any prisoner. In the Congressional debates, all the Republicans and half of the Democrats will support the main point, that for legal purposes, minimal compliance with the Geneva Convention is sufficient.

As to the "spirit" of the Geneva conventions, even the military tribunals entailed much better treatment of the prisoners than has been accorded by the Taliban/al Qaeda/Baathist enemies.

Personally, I favor shutting down the prison and shipping the prisoners home to face tribuneals there. But I am sure that a large majority of Congress will vote a resolution that basically lets the administration do what it was doing.

Posted by: republicrat on June 30, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK
The Supreme Court ruled that the military tribunals were not "regularly constituted".

That wasn't the only problem with them under the Geneva Conventions. Of course, Congress can, as far as US law goes, suspend or limit the Geneva Conventions—but that itself has risks. Particularly, it raises the questions of the Constitutional bounds of government power with regard to these detainees, not merely the bounds of Executive power. So far, the Courts, even in Hamdan, have been able to avoid that issue because legal limits on executive power have made it unnecessary to reach that question.

This ruling probably postpones the judgments, and hence whatever justice will be the outcome, but it does not guarantee a more just outcome for any prisoner.

Well, certainly it doesn't if Congress limits the applicability of the Geneva Conventions so that the procedural shortfalls of the commissions aren't addressed, and the Supreme Court lets that control, but there is little guarantee of either of those.

In the Congressional debates, all the Republicans and half of the Democrats will support the main point, that for legal purposes, minimal compliance with the Geneva Convention is sufficient.

Minimal compliance with Geneva would entail substantial procedural improvements, including providing "all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples," including, per the Hamdan court, "that an accused must, absent disruptive conduct or consent, be present for his trial and must be privy to the evidence against him," a feature distinctly lacking from the present commissions, as well as the use of regularly constituted courts.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK
justthefacts: nice back-down. way to redefine things. btw, what the hell does "Wow, look whose reading comprehension hasnt improved since he invented a claim that I, in any way, referred to innocent until proven guilty."

I don't have the foggiest clue what you're talking about...you may have confused me with someone else?

Here we see Nathan (unless he has a stalker who posted only once here) unable to remember the stupid way he re-wrote a different part of the post. As to his laughable claim that I redefined things, this is rich. He wrote interpretations of my post that clearly werent in there and is now claiming that Ive backed down from what he said. My quotes stand.

Iraqis fighting for their country aren't terrorists.

Afghanis fighting for their country aren't terrorists.
Even without limiting oneself to those who might warrant imprisonment by Americans. That is, my clarification was overkill. There may be terrorists among those groups, but fighting for ones country, be it Iraq, Afghanistan, or the United States, does not make one a terrorist. This isn't hard, unless your inability to read gets in the way. Posted by: Just the Facts on June 30, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

The decision is a negative for Bush. A bald statement that he is violating both the Geneva Conventions and the UCMJ will give most voters some pause.

It presents a prospective problem for Democrats because they will not want to seem soft on terrorists.

Easily enough solved, however. Democrats should loudly announce that the scum at Gitmo should be dragged before a COURT MARTIAL! Sounds very tough. Preserves constitutional rights. Tastes great! Less filling!

Posted by: ursus on June 30, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Wittman can blow me. The GOP talking point is gonna be -- what, exactly? That their own Supreme Court passed this supposedly objectionable opinion?

Posted by: sglover on June 30, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK
Wittman can blow me. The GOP talking point is gonna be -- what, exactly? That their own Supreme Court passed this supposedly objectionable opinion?

At least from what I've heard so far on TV and radio from wingers, it appears to be the GOP talking point that this is another attack from the "liberal activist Court", that demonstrates the need to get more "real conservatives" on the bench that will apply the law properly.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

"do you really believe the entire effort in Iraq is about profiteering?"

No, some of it about being a "War Preznit" so people can be kept in fear, clouding their judgment so they'll re-elect the Village Idiot.

And some of it is about oil -- so profiteering in general, not just war profiteering.

And some of it is to show Poppy who's Da Man.

And some of it is to try out Rummy's great new ideas about how to wage war in the 21st Century.

And some of it is the Dick showing who's in charge.

Talk about sad ... "some" people on the right have blinders on and a pathetic devotion to the "He Man" in the White House. THAT's sad.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 30, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

How does one distinguish between "blind hatred of the POTUS" and reasoned hatred of the POTUS?

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 30, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Ursus: "[The Supreme Court's decision]presents a prospective problem for Democrats because they will not want to seem soft on terrorists. Easily enough solved, however. Democrats should loudly announce that the scum at Gitmo should be dragged before a COURT MARTIAL! Sounds very tough. Preserves constitutional rights. Tastes great! Less filling!"

It's always easier for any politician to do what's perceived as currently popular. Conversely, it's neither always popular nor necessarily easy for most politicians to do what is ultimately right.

That's why we must always insist upon protecting the autonomy of our judicial system from the fickle winds of popular opinion.

Alabama Gov. George Wallace once stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama admissions office to deny the right of African-Americans to attend this public institution of higher learning. He was lauded by his fellow southerners for standing up for "states' rights," and it helped fuel his resultant presidential ambitions.

The Roosevelt administration's incarceration of Japanese-Americans in 1942, ostensibly for purposes of national defense, also received widespread public support at the time it was carried out.

Today, both these political decisions are seen as embarrassing stains upon our national honor.

If the prisoners currently held in Guantanamo are in fact the war criminals and terrorists the Bush administration insists that they are, then the administration should be duly charge and try them though the established legal process defined in the UCMJ.

Senate ratification of the Geneva Conventions rendered their provisions legally binding American law. Therefore, if the Guantanamo prisoners are prisoners-of-war, they should be afforded the legal rights afforded them by the Geneva Conventions, to which our country is a signatory.

Persons charged with war crimes have the right under both American law and international law to avail themselves of any and all legal recourses necessary to defend themselves. To insist otherwise is to render any resulting legal proceeding a "Kangaroo Court" and a mockery of the American judicial process.

It is inherently un-American -- and a bald affront to our collective national character -- to unilaterally suspend the constitutional right of habeus corpus in order to hold anyone indefinitely in legal limbo, without bothering to classify that person as either a prisoner-of-war or as a war criminal.

The Supreme Court made the correct call in Hamdam v. Rumsfeld. It might not be the currently popular call among the masses. But I've no doubt that history will vinidicate this decision as correct, and therefore the American thing to do.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 30, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 5:04 PM

Nicely done. So what do you think congress will do, and who do you think will benefit most from the doing? If I read the decision correctly (I did not in fact read all 185 pp) the justices did not rule that any speedy trials are necessary. Paraphrasing what you wrote above, it appears that the justices are content to accept indefinite imprisonment of the detainees.

Easily enough solved, however. Democrats should loudly announce that the scum at Gitmo should be dragged before a COURT MARTIAL! That will work With a small staff, the administration can set about trying the 700 or so remaining at about the same rate that the U.S. tries sex offenders: say 6-8 per year?

Posted by: republicrat on June 30, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is corect - the GOP base is unhappy at Hamdan and it will make a difference in November.

Two of the weak-kneed losers who voted with the majority were appointed by Republicans when the Dems held the Senate. I am talking about Anthony Kennedy and David Souter. These guys act like big-government Liberals.

My conclusion?

Never again do I want a GOP President in the position trying to nominate a decent Supreme Court judge when the majority of the Senate are loser Dems.

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on June 30, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: the unsound Bush version also blends fairly seemlessly and without a clear boundary into other assertions of ludicrous extensive executive powers under the Bush administration

Exactly. It doesn't matter what the real meaning is, just what Bush's handlers think it does, which is basically unfettered presidential power.

Posted by: anandine on June 30, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

melosebrain wrote: what about the "human impact" of at least 50,000 dead Iraqi's? Or, by "human impact", do you mean "western human impact"?

Actually it is President Bush who has done the most to help the Iraqis. The Iraqi death toll under Saddam is generally estimated at between one million and two million. Horrible as the current carnage has been, it's actually an improvement over the Saddam era. By the way, many or most of the 50,000 deaths were murders done by Sunni holdovers from the Saddam regime.

There's no guarantee that the Iraqi people will be able to live in peace and security, but, thanks to President Bush, they have a fighting chance.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 30, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal parrots talking points about how things are better under Bush and uses numbers including the sanctions and Hussein's activities prior to the sanctions. He does not provide evidence that the death toll under Hussein for the three years prior to the war on Iraq was greater than the death toll for the three years we've been in Iraq. That is, ex-liberal provides no evidence that the average Iraqi is less likely to die under Bush than he was under Hussein.

Why limit oneself to an equivalent time period? Because things were considerably different in 2003 than in 1991 and in no way can we compare the total number of deaths under the entirety of Hussein's rule to a period only 10% as great under George W. Bush. Hussein was a very bad guy but where is the evidence that Bush had improved Iraq? Where is the evidence that Bushs Iraq is a safer place than Husseins Iraq?

Posted by: Just the Facts on June 30, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

I fear for my grandchildren. I see that all governments lie and oppress their people, to reward those who put them in office. The question is how to minimize and control this. We face many bad things and bad people today:
1. Osama binLaden and Al Qaed, who enjoy killing
2. Our President and his incompetent helpers
3. Our Congress, both parties, who are in effect a nomenklatura, concerned only with keeping themselves in office and enriching themselves
4. Our culture, a large segment of which thrives on hate, encourages a dog eat dog materialistic mentality and magnifies small differences between groups Latinos vs. blacks, heterosexuals vs. homosexuals, evangelicals vs. lukewarm Christians, etc.

I see many parallels between the US today and the Weimar republic. Remember that some in the Weimar Republic said let the Nazis have their turn- they will show how clumsy and ignorant they are and the people will turn to a leftist, i.e. communist, solution. Instead of Jews, I see immigrants and gay marriage. I see evil politicians, such as Hoekstra and Frist, who know love to ring the terrorist bell- these guys, the New York Times (but not the WSJ) are helping terrorist who will kill you if they get through. Here is my ranking of evil:
1. Our nomenklatura Congress is the worst and most dangerous - all executives in all countries take advantage if allowed to do so- look at Mexico. The Constitution provides a means to control that but only if Congress acts against the polls and those who blame foreigners for our problems. They dont and wont. I see the Constitution as unenforceable in our political climate. Congress cant oversee intelligence actions that they dont even know of. They let this happen.
2. Our culture
3. George W. Bush and his incompetent cronies- they took power because Congress abdicated
4. OBL and AQ -bad but their number and ability to attack us has been seriously and systematically exaggerated. I advise the article by Michael Hirsch, The Myth of Al Qaeda (Newsweek) and Pat Buchanans Time for an agonizing reappraisal (The American Conservative) for those who believe that GB2 is a hero for future generations.
I see Bush as more dangerous than bin Laden, and Congress as the worst of all threats to my grandchildren. Bin Ladens people may kill some Americans, but they cant enslave us or rule any country. Bush, with the help of an evil Congress and a hateful jingoistic culture, can enslave my grandchildren. Many Democrats will go along with new laws to bypass the Supreme Court decision, just as they feared to vote against flag burning.


Posted by: Old Scotsman on June 30, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

I apologize. At age 75, I do know the importance of careful proofreading. My point is that power corrupts, that James Madison knew this, but failed to foresee the evolution of modern American electoral politics. Only a vigorous Congress can control the executive if the executive feels that they are running the world. Here is the part that I messed up:

I see many parallels between the US today and the Weimar republic. Remember that some in the Weimar Republic said let the Nazis have their turn- they will show how clumsy and ignorant they are and the people will turn to a leftist, i.e. communist, solution. Instead of Jews, I see immigrants and gay marriage. I see evil politicians, read Hoekstra and Frist, who ring the terrorist bell and say these guys, the New York Times (but not the WSJ) are helping terrorists who will kill you if they get through. Here is my rank order of evil:
1. Our nomenklatura Congress is the worst and most dangerous - all executives in all countries take advantage if allowed to do so-

Posted by: Old Scotsman on July 1, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

My gut tells me you and Wittman are dead wrong on this. The GOP's credibility on fighting the wwar on terror is pathetically low. All the Democrats have to do is pose the question, over and over: Do you believe in the Constitution or not? The Republican-packed Supreme Court said military tribunals are unconstitutional. No matter how you try to dress it up the GOP wants to declare martial law the law of the land. They want to control your every move, listen to every conversation, snoop into every bank record.

Posted by: secularhuman on July 1, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

brian: ``I assume Pelosi does not have a clue as to what due process means, same as many of the commenters here. ''

due process, shmue process. Hamdan's lawyer kicked your boys' asses. if you have low-wattage doofuses like Kyl and Graham drafting legislation (no doubt handed to them by the same pinheads in the administration who got the White House in the mess they're in in now) how long do you think it will take to get the piece-a-shit unconstitutional legislation back to the Supreme Court? They'll go for the most fascistic form of secret tribunals you bozos dream wetly about and which Bush just got jammed up his butt and set themselves up for another fall. You may cynically salvage the 2006 elections at the momentary expense of democracy but the boneheads you adore are on the run now, even by their own Supreme GOP Court.

Posted by: secularhuman on July 1, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

Let's review the storied past of one of the dissenters on the Hamdan decision, Justice Thomas:

One of the oddest episodes I remember was an occasion in which Thomas was drinking a Coke in his office. He got up from the table at which we were working, went over to his desk to get the Coke, looked at the can and asked, Who has pubic hair on my Coke? On other occasions, he referred to the size of his own penis as being larger than normal, and he also spoke on some occasions of the pleasures he had given to women with oral sex."

Posted by: CDWard on July 1, 2006 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK


ken: I'm left to wonder why Bush & Co wants to try suspected terrorists in kangaroo courts -- courts where the procedures are stacked against the defendants.

have you seen the bush admin.'s justice department record on winning terror cases in actual courts of law?

its horrible....

it appears with kangaroo courts..

they will have a fighting chance at winning...

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on July 1, 2006 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK


sportsfan: Fledgling democracies are not immediately evolved into what we have in the USA. They are messy at first. Ours was too.


"I don't think our troops should be used for what's called nation building." - George W. Bush, 2000


"Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament." - G.W. Bush 3/6/03

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on July 1, 2006 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK


just the facts: There may be terrorists among those groups, but fighting for ones country, be it Iraq, Afghanistan, or the United States, does not make one a terrorist. This isn't hard, unless your inability to read gets in the way.


nathan apparently disagrees with the president..

"The enemy in Iraq is a combination of rejectionists, Saddamists and terrorists. The rejectionists are by far the largest group." - GWB 11/30/05

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on July 1, 2006 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK


secularhuman: if you have low-wattage doofuses like Kyl and Graham drafting legislation (no doubt handed to them by the same pinheads in the administration who got the White House in the mess they're in in now)

Its Addington (Cheney Chief of Staff David Addington)....."He doesn't care about the Constitution." - Colin Powell 12/18/05

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on July 1, 2006 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: 55 on July 1, 2006 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

mhr..i wonder if bush and cheney had "happy smiles" on their faces?


Ex-CIA Aide Reveals New Details On Ignored Warnings Of Iraqi WMD Fabricator Curveball.

Veteran CIA officer Tyler Drumheller instantly recognized the source, an Iraqi defector suspected of being mentally unstable and a liar.
- Wash. Post 6/24/06


"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions...and that the intel community's own work was politicized." - Paul Pillar, the former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until 2005

"We're not being undermined by the North Koreans or the Russians. We're being undermined by officials in our own government." - Former CIA agent Jim Marcinkowski 10/30/05

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on July 3, 2006 at 6:59 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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