Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 30, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

GUANTNAMO....Abdullah Mujahid is a detainee at Guantnamo who pleaded innocent and called four witnesses from Afghanistan to testify at his hearing. After several months, the tribunal president said they couldn't be found. Apparently no one looked very hard:

The Guardian searched for Mr Mujahid's witnesses and found them within three days. One was working for President Hamid Karzai. Another was teaching at a leading American college. The third was living in Kabul. The fourth, it turned out, was dead. Each witness said he had never been approached by the Americans to testify in Mr Mujahid's hearing.

....In the military tribunal Mr Mujahid protested his innocence. He enjoyed good relations with American soldiers and had been promoted, not fired, he said. The three living witnesses he requested were easily located with a telephone, an internet connection and a few days work.

....The witnesses largely corroborated Mr Mujahid's story, with some qualifications. Mr Jalali, the former interior minister, said Mr Mujahid had been fired over allegations of corruption and bullying - not for attacking the government. Mr Haider, the former defence official, said Mr Mujahid had contributed 30 soldiers to a major operation against al-Qaida in March 2002. "He is completely innocent," he said.

Look. Guantnamo isn't an easy issue. The whole question of how best to handle detainees isn't an easy issue. Plenty of the inmates at Guantnamo are genuinely dangerous people, and we can hardly afford to let them go free just because we don't have Perry Mason standards of evidence against them. There just aren't simple answers to this.

But the evidence has mounted for years that many of the detainees at Guantnamo were picked up randomly in Afghanistan or turned over for reward in Pakistan, and are being held with essentially no evidence at all. See here and here for more. In Mujahid's case, we were dealing with a former police chief in Gardez, not some random guy picked up on a battlefield, and yet we still claimed we couldn't find any of the witnesses he asked for.

I think most of the world understands perfectly well the dilemma we face in handling these guys. But it's impossible to ignore the fact that we don't even seem to be trying to figure out who belongs in custody and who's just a mistake. That's why Guantnamo is a disgrace.

UPDATE: Ah, I see that this same story ran in the Boston Globe a couple of weeks ago. Oddly enough, it was co-written by the same guy who wrote the Guardian's version.

Kevin Drum 2:13 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (108)

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Comments

I'll bet the Guardian read the Boston Globe, which found the same guys almost two weeks ago. A commenter at DailyKos pointed this out.

Posted by: Joe Buck on June 30, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

No! They're terrorists, and if we don't stick light-sticks up their butts, then the terrorists win!

Posted by: American Fuck on June 30, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Our Honorable and Righteous President, George W Bush, told me they were bad people. And I believe him, because he's the President, and you have to trust the President - otherwise, you're working against the country. And I love my country. So, I say we execute all of the prisoners immediately. If any of them are innocent, that's unfortunate, but you can't make a Freedom Omelette without breaking a few Eggs Of Justice.

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

I think that many conservatives have stated explicitly on a number of occasions that it is not about justice or even revenge, but about demonstrating to the people of the Middle East that we mean business, and for every American that the evil muslims kill, we will kill N>> 1 persons from that area.

So the discussion on Kevin's blog should not be about this particular case or that, but about the reasonableness of the approach that the conservatives recommend and the one administration is clearly taking.

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

We are the good guys, right?

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on June 30, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Plenty of the inmates at Guantnamo are genuinely dangerous people"

Bullshit. Have you been drinking the kool-aid? We still know very little about these people, and given the keystone cops operation the rest of the "war on terra" has been, there is no reason to believe the Bush administration's assertion that these people are dangerous.

Posted by: Tom DC/VA on June 30, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

We're doing everything we can to ensure that those held in Gitmo are terrorists. Like with any other endeavor, a 100% success rate is impossible. I think you're overreacting to the prospect that maybe our designations aren't perfect; everybody knows that

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

and yet we still claimed we couldn't find any of the witnesses he asked for.

Most likely, the leftist Guardian propaganda "newspaper" simply paid the "witnesses" to say what they wanted to hear.

Posted by: Al on June 30, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm willing to bet that some of the Guantnamo prisoners are dangerous. How many? Damned if I know. It wouldn't surprise me at all if there are fewer than 50 prisoners there (out of ~450 total) who had any significant connection to al-Qaeda.

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

Bullshit. Have you been drinking the kool-aid? We still know very little about these people,

If anyone held me incognito in a prison without charging me or givng me a trial, beat me, degraded me, interrogated me, after 5 years - if I wasn't dangerous when they put me in there, I'll guarantee I'd sure as fuck be dangerous when I got out.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

We're doing everything we can to ensure that those held in Gitmo are terrorists.
Posted by: American Hawk

Not quite ... you're doing everything possible to ensure that those held in guantanemo will become terrorists.

Posted by: Nads on June 30, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Nads, if they weren't then, they are now. How quaint the way torture works. The bully mentality taken to the international level by our brilliant leader.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on June 30, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

We're doing everything we can to ensure that those held in Gitmo are terrorists. . . .
Posted by: American Hawk on June 30, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Precisely. If they didn't hate America when they were put in, they sure as hell will hate it when they get out.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

I would say that the rest of the world understands we are facing a dilemma of our own -- more specifically bush's -- making. And it's not just about Guantanamo.

We have no idea what proprtion of prisoners we hold are totally innocent of being involved in terrorist acts. We don't even define terrorist acts. We put them in sub-standard conditions, torture them -- or transport them somewhere where someone else can torture them for us -- and deprive them of all commonly accepted legal and humanitarian rights.

Oh, yes! The whole world understands our dilemma, but I fail to see why they would have any sympathy for us. We made our own bed.

The EU will continue to apply pressure. If these people are criminals, try them as such. To be held and treated in this way for 4 years is totally unacceptable.

Oh, yeah. I'm still just wondering; what is going on in Gaza these days?

Posted by: notthere on June 30, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

You lazy libs need to pull your heads out of you ass and see how the MSM has brainwashed to all.

Posted by: Al's Dad on June 30, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Plenty of the inmates at Guantnamo are genuinely dangerous people, and we can hardly afford to let them go free just because we don't have Perry Mason standards of evidence against them.

Really? Based on what evidence do you make this claim? Because the Bush Administration said so? Seriously, do you think they're as dangerous as the other terrorists the Bushies have tried to scare us with such as the Arab-looking guys in Oregon shooting guns in a quarry? Or how about Joseph Padilla? Or the seven guys in Miami who are just this close to blowing up the Sears Tower? Or maybe the guy who was going to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch?

The truth is there is absolutely no reason to believe anything the Bush Adminstration says. I don't believe for one minute that there are any "really bad guys" held in Guantnamo. If there were then why the need for extraordinary rendition? Why the need for CIA black sites?

Oh wait, there was at least one really bad guy at Guantnamo, his name was General Geoffrey Miller. Just one of the many people that have soiled the name of this great country and desecrated the nation's soul by taking torture and abuse mainstream.

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

Most likely, the leftist Guardian propaganda "newspaper" simply paid the "witnesses" to say what they wanted to hear.

Posted by: Al on June 30, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

This from the troll who can ignore any inconvenient facts. Thanks for your worthless opinion.

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

Kevin, before you make claims that most inmates from Gitmo "are genuinely dangerous people", it is important to note that, according to the IRC, 86% of those inmates were captured by agents other than the US military (and even their standards are suspect. The IRC reported that MP's were given "goals" to reach regarding the number of prisoners they brought in. Many admitted to grabbing men and boys from houses and turning them over to commanders.).

Iraqi tribal lords were paid stipends by the US military to capture and turn over "operatives". The more "operatives" they turned over, the more they were paid. And we know the Iraqi police forces have often acted as Shiite militias and have targeted Sunnis (as well as GI's). How much can we trust that those handed over from these sources are guilty of anything more than a) being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or b) being of the wrong belief system.

I understand that those guilty should not necessarily receive the benefit of American judicial restraint, but if we have not the slightest bit of evidence of any guilt, let them go.

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

Look. Guantnamo isn't an easy issue.

If you want to go the "lesser evil" route, I say we take the guys we are sure, even with little evidence, are dangerous, and send them to our totalitarian friends in the ME. The rest should be sent home. If they can't be sent home (see above), we should send them to one of the remaining "coalition of the willing" countries, like Togo.

It's harsh, but trying to do the right thing means doing nothing, and leaving completely innocent people to rot in Cuba.

Posted by: enozinho on June 30, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Guantnamo isn't an easy issue. The whole question of how best to handle detainees isn't an easy issue.

On the other hand, not imprisoning indefinitely people we have no good reason to believe are enemies of the US -- to say nothing of not tortuing them, for pete's sake -- is an easy issue. Performing minimal due diligence to ensure you're expending your resources on actual bad guys is an easy issue.

Indeed, I'd call those inherently American values. I wonder why anyone would think that's so complicated?

Posted by: Gregory on June 30, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

"we don't even seem to be trying to figure out who belongs in custody and who's just a mistake. That's why Guantnamo is a disgrace."

Well, that and that little torture thing...

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

Kevin grants one baseless talking point after another to the Bush administration:

Guantnamo isn't an easy issue.

Yes, it is an easy issue. The prison camp at Guantnamo violates both US and international law. It is a criminal enterprise. It should be closed immediately.

The whole question of how best to handle detainees isn't an easy issue.

Yes, it is an easy issue. "Detainees" should be handled according to the well-established requirements of US and international law. They should be charged with crimes that are recognized as crimes under US and/or international law, not made-up ill-defined crimes invented by George W. Bush that have no basis in law, and they should be prosecuted under a recognized legal system, either civilian or military, in accord with US and international law, rather than according to the whims of George W. Bush.

Plenty of the inmates at Guantnamo are genuinely dangerous people, and we can hardly afford to let them go free just because we don't have Perry Mason standards of evidence against them.

In the absence of evidence, you have absolutely no basis for asserting that anyone being held at Guantanamo is "genuinely dangerous". You don't know that to be true. All you know is that you have heard George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rusmfeld make that unsubstantiated allegation.

There just aren't easy answers to this.

Yes, there is an easy answer. The detainees at Guantnamo should either be charged with actual crimes that are recognized as such under law, and then prosecuted in a venue and according to due process that is recognized under law, or they should be immediately released.

Why Kevin so often adopts the strategy of agreeing to one baseless right-wing talking point after another and offering one little-tiny, itsy-bitsy, milquetoasty, namby-pamby objection, I do not know.

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

We're doing everything we can

"We"?

What exacttly are you doing, AH? Posting from Tikrit?


.

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

I think that Guantanamo was a photo-op from the beginning. Much of Bush's base has no particular understanding of conter-terrorism, and most of them aren't necessarily even very worried about the actual threat of terrorism. All they want from Bush is that he be militarily tough, and that he piss off liberals as much as possible (and hoepfully, actually prosecute them sometime).

The shackled, hooded enemies getting off the plane in their orange jumpsuits was great TV. Hearing now and then that they've been put in hell makes people feel good too. Journalistic and legal question about their innocence make Bush's base happy, because they're fascists who hate journalism and hate law.

There hasn't been any downside for the Republicans so far. They won twice with the base, and they kept Congress three times, and they've accomplished things that Reagan only dreamed of. Destructive things, yes, but difficult ones. Bush and Rove will go down in history as successes even if nothing goes right for them from here on out.

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

All they want from Bush is that he be militarily tough, and that he piss off liberals as much as possible (and hoepfully, actually prosecute them sometime).Posted by: humble blogger on June 30, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

*sigh*

humble blogger nails it.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK
Plenty of the inmates at Guantnamo are genuinely dangerous people, and we can hardly afford to let them go free just because we don't have Perry Mason standards of evidence against them. There just aren't easy answers to this.

"Perry Mason" standards of evidence? Look, Kevin, I know that you have an obsession with maintaining a "moderate liberal" image, and this makes you frequently take perfunctory jabs at the left (or, as in this case, phantoms on the left) to establish your your "moderate" status before criticizing the right, but this is silly, even for you.

No one is arguing for "Perry Mason" standards of evidence, even if by that you mean the standards actually applied in (rather than those in a fictional entertainment version of) the US civilian criminal justice system.

What people are arguing is that people shouldn't be detained without meaningful opportunity to compel the government to show at least a reasonable basis to believe that they are "enemy combatants" and thus legitimately detained, and that people shouldn't be "tried" for "crimes" except by a process that has some validity under law (and, no, the President and his subordinates arbitrary declared the "laws" that form the basis for charges, and the procedure, and also get to be the only judge of the sentences, doesn't count.)

There's also a concern about defining the end of the conflict given the amorphous nature of the shifting "war on terror", or at least establishing some reasonable limits on military detention in such a conflict, but that's mostly a side issue.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

The reason Guantanamo is a "difficult issue" is because the administration chose to create it. It's an artificial problem, intentionally created as one facet of instantanting a collectoin of romantic theories on the part of the administration's legal philosphers.

We have a highly evolved legal system that's been able to deal perfectly well with everything that's been thrown at it over the past 200+ years. Against that, we have a motley crew of international criminals, all of whom could be accused, charged, tried and found guilty or innocent of various statutory offenses, using existing methods that have proven perfectly worthy and reliable.

The administration chose to begin inventing an entire parallel, redundant and defective-by-design justice system to deal with these people, rather than relying on collective wisdom of innumerable legislators, judges and lawyers who have contributed over the past 20 decades to building what is arguably the finest legal system on the planet.

Guantanamo's a problem of choice. Just like Iraq, just like all the other boyish fantasies the administration's ideological extremists have chosen to pursue, to our bitter detriment.

Posted by: dbostrom on June 30, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

I think most of the world understands perfectly well the dilemma we face in handling these guys.

I think the dilemma has become: if we treat them fairly and allow just trials, Bush will lose face.

Sort of like in Iraq - American soldiers and Marines need to keep dying over there, because otherwise Bush will lose face.

Worst. President. Ever.

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

>Plenty of the inmates at Guantnamo are genuinely
>dangerous people, and we can hardly afford to let >them go free just because we don't have Perry Mason
>standards of evidence against them.
Oh fine, Kevin. Well, since you're able to divine this without the bother of a trial, why don't we just do away with that whole legal trial business for all crimes? Sheesh!

Posted by: Jim on June 30, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: Look, Kevin, I know that you have an obsession with maintaining a "moderate liberal" image, and this makes you frequently take perfunctory jabs at the left (or, as in this case, phantoms on the left) to establish your your "moderate" status before criticizing the right, but this is silly, even for you.

I wonder if Kevin's paycheck depends on maintaining a "moderate liberal image", which seems to involve agreeing with one baseless right-wing talking point after another before raising some feeble, watered-down objection.

Look, Kevin made a very clear statement here: "Plenty of the inmates at Guantnamo are genuinely dangerous people." I think it's only fair that Kevin be held to the same standard that any of us would demand of an avowed right-wing Bush supporter who might post such a claim on these comment pages:

Kevin, let's see your evidence for that claim. If you have no such evidence, then retract the claim.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 30, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

We have a highly evolved legal system that's been able to deal perfectly well with everything that's been thrown at it over the past 200+ years.

No - it's actually done a very poor job of going after white-collar criminals and election fraud and insider trading. There's room for improvement. But gutting the principles that have been the foundation of Western Civilization since the Magna Carta isn't the answer.

However - if anyone proposed tossing Ken Lay into Guantanamo for "Economic Terrorism" - I certainly wouldn't argue against that. That fucker's dangerous, and if we don't put him away for good, he WILL kill again.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

DoD detainee site.

Posted by: bellwether on June 30, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

The commenters who doubt that at least some of the detainees are dangerous should be invited to take one home for the weekend. I'm sure it could be arranged. Just make up the spare bedroom, and careful what you serve for Sunday dinner.

Kevin is exactly right: some of these detainees are very dangerous. They were captured with rifles in their hands on a field of combat. Some have been connected directly to al-Qaeda based on various intel methods. Some that have been released have gone back to the Taliban or al-Qaeda.

Other detainees are indeed simply innocents caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It'd be nice to have a way to sort them out, eh? The military tribunals could have done that. I wasn't completely happy with some of the rules for the tribunals, but it was a good step forward. Since the SCOTUS has ruled, however, we'll need another mechanism. That means going to Congress, and that in turn means putting both parties on record.

I don't think the Republicans will have a problem agreeing to some sort of tribunal or commission that will meet the legal standard just put down. The question is, what will Democrats do?

It's easy to sneer, it's harder to make things work. If you Dems want a shot at power, it's time to put some cards down and show us what you'd do. Here's a chance. You want Gitmo closed? You want to be tough on the true terrorists? Tell us what you'd do.

Posted by: Steve White on June 30, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

... he WILL kill again.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

See, prosecutin' terrarists is hard work. That's why we caint go to the UCM... um... J or the courts. The terraists are gonna win. So we gots to make up our own courts and our own rules. That's hard work to, but at least we won't put any killers on the streets.

Posted by: tomeck on June 30, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

If they are criminals, try them in a court of law. If they are prisoners of war, let the Red Cross have access to them and set up protocols for their eventual release. It's real simple.

Don't allow Bush and his henchmen any nuance on this issue. They would most certainly not allow any for a Democratic president.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 30, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Steve White: ... some of these detainees are very dangerous. They were captured with rifles in their hands on a field of combat. Some have been connected directly to al-Qaeda based on various intel methods. Some that have been released have gone back to the Taliban or al-Qaeda.

Do you have any evidence that any of those statements are true? Real evidence that's been independently verified -- not just the completely unsubstantiated claims of Bush administration officials.

If you have the evidence, let's see it. If you don't, then you are just slavishly regurgitating Bush administration propaganda.

If the Bush administration in fact has any evidence that anyone imprisoned at Guantanamo is guilty of any crime under US or international law, then they need to charge that person with that crime and present that evidence in a venue and according to due process under law. The Bush administration refuses to do this. That's what the Supreme Court ruling is all about.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 30, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

"If they are criminals, try them in a court of law. If they are prisoners of war, let the Red Cross have access to them and set up protocols for their eventual release. It's real simple."

The Red Cross does have access to them. Findings are confidential, always were.

POWs are released when a war ends. No POW has ever had a time limit on imprisonment, or routine access to civilian courts during a war.

Posted by: bellwether on June 30, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: Plenty of the inmates at Guantnamo are genuinely dangerous people

You have exactly the same basis for asserting this as I do if I insist that homosexuals are a threat to the institution of marriage. Your evidence for this statement is precisely the same as mine would be if I said there are WMDs in Iraq. Your faith in this administration's claims is knit from the same yarn as would be mine if I believed in Santa Claus.

Among the posts of yours which suck--and you've had more than a few of them--this is one of the suckiest.


Posted by: jayarbee on June 30, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

See, here's the thing. Some percentage of the people in Guantanamo were detained because they actually took up arms against American soldiers in Afghanistan. The Bush Administration wants you to believe that number is 100%. Some commenters here seem to think it's zero.

If we did detain someone for taking up arms against American soldiers in Afghanistan, we would have a problem. They're not actually members of a foreign country's army, but they can't exactly get a criminal trial either. So a place like Guantanamo might be necessary to hold them ... until we figure out their status.

The difference is, the Bush administration feels no need to figure out their status, or even to prove that they did what they are being detained for. The Court has at least forced that responsibility upon them, which all reasonable people should call a victory for justice.

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

THIS IS WAR . . . FOR SURVIVAL . . . TO THE DEATH!

With all due respect:

SO?

In reponse to MR. Drum's writing that completely innocent people being incarcerated in Guantnamo . . . for now. This a war. WAR. And this potential injustice pales exponentially by historical comparison with past injustices premeditately meted out to civilians in wars generally and U.S. wars in particular. For you deluded FDR aficiandos, the means we used to quell the "Wolfpacks" of Germany in 1945 were random and poorly based assasinations AND the withdrawal and shelling of nearby villages where lived the elderly, women, and children until the "German resistance" to the Allied invasion ceased. Naturally, this making George W. Bush a paragon of military virtue in dealing with the "Iraqi resistance" and the "Afghanistan resistance" compared with the "compassionate", "emapthetic", "friend of the common man" FDR, this historical fact is ignored by the mainstream media.

Whatever collateral injustice is befalling these detainees is a DIRECT CONSEQUENCE of the asymetrical terror tactics employed by Al-Qaeda and the Iraqi Sunnis and whomever. They are to blame for us having to resort to these measures, not George W. Bush and not the United States. And these people are in a cell for at least the duration; beyond this being a consquence of our enemy's tactics, this not the worst collateral injustice that can befall civilians who are citizens of an on-going war zone.

This is all completely justified ethically EVEN IF SOME OF THE DETAINEES ARE COMPLETELY INNNOCENT. Again, this is war.

Folks, leather up . . . really.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on June 30, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

The whole question of how best to handle detainees isn't an easy issue. Plenty of the inmates at Guantnamo are genuinely dangerous people, and we can hardly afford to let them go free just because we don't have Perry Mason standards of evidence against them.

According to the Geneva Convention, it doesn't matter whether we can "afford" to let them go (that is, assuming your argument that there are "plenty" of dangerous people). The fact is that we are legally obliged to, much in the same way the police are forced to release suspected rapists and murderers they cannot nail based on evidence or testimony.

Unless you're endorsing the indefinite detention of those we "know" to be dangerous; it's just that we just can't prove it. Damn Perry Mason.

Posted by: ihateemo on June 30, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Wrong on the Geneva Convention!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on June 30, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

"There just aren't easy answers to this"

Of course there are. Here's a list:

1) If you are going to offer bounties to strangers to turn over other strangers, expect a lot of chaff with your wheat.

2) Anyone picked up this way should be treated as a person of interest until real evidence is provided showing they are suspects.

3) Torture doesn't work to gather information. Torture works to gather confessions, usually whatever the torturer wants to hear.

4) No one picked up 3 years ago is going to have useful information now.

5) If you treat people like animals, they will never be safe to release.

6) There was never a need for Guantanamo Camp Xray. Never.

7) Everyone who has been held there without just cause needs to be released. Each of them gets one free kick in testicles of the administration official of their choice, and the offer to live in a nice house in the US with a generous stipend, and to bring their families here. Crawford Ranch and Kennebunkport properties of the Bush family, and Taos and Wyoming properties of the Cheney family, are seized to become new homes for the unjustly imprisoned and tortured.

Like Lee's property being turned into Arlington national cemetary.

Easy.

Posted by: Bloggofascist on June 30, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

TOH:

Article 118: Prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities.

Are you subscribing to the belief that this is a "war on terror(ism)"? A never ending war, so fuck the GC? Puhlease. That doesn't even pass the laugh test.

Posted by: ihateemo on June 30, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

good post Bloggo.

Posted by: nut on June 30, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever collateral injustice is befalling these detainees is a DIRECT CONSEQUENCE of the asymetrical terror tactics employed by Al-Qaeda and the Iraqi Sunnis and whomever.

You know TOH - those are the SAME EXACT words that Hamas uses to justify terrorist bombings in Israel.

Shorter terrorists: "wah! evil bad guys MADE us use these tactics. It's THEIR fault."

So if we kill their civillians and abridge their rights because they killed our civillians and abridged our rights - I guess we're all just victims of consequence.

Or maybe someone can act like a fucking human being and step off the merry-go-round of bombing and ask; Gee - isn't that why we have rights, and brains? So we aren't caught in and endless cycle of violence for ever like stupid automatons?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Guantnamo isn't an easy issue."

Seems pretty easy to me, especially if you're a Republican president who (by virtue of being a Republican) doesn't need to impress anyone by say going back to your home state to turn the execution of a drueling retard into a media spectacle, or hold lots of poor Afghan and Arab kids (mostly) caught up in the Taliban's war with the Northern Alliance. If they're prisoners of war treat them as prisoners of war with all the protections afforded therein, releasing them as soon as you declare hostilities in Afghanistan over. If they're international criminals put them in federal detention facilities or turn them over to the Hague for prosecution, and give them fair, timely, and speedy trials. If they're none of the above (and I think we'd be surprised to learn just how many were none of the above) put them on a plane and send them home.

Posted by: Linus on June 30, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

They are to blame for us having to resort to these measures

this has to be a joke.

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

As long as we have an administration that refuses to publicly admit errors in judgment and operation, we should not expect any prisoners to be released from Guantanamo. That act would be tantamount to admitting a mistake, i.e., a rush to judgment before all the facts are in.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 30, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

They are to blame for us having to resort to these measures

this has to be a joke.

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with cleek (and ihateemo, but that's another point).

If we become that, or worse, than what we are fighting against, then what have we won? Nothing...we've lost.

Americans are hated for their IDEALS. It is the western ideals that are considered dangerous. The highest office in our nation has been systematically chipping away at those ideals for two terms now. Our rights, our freedoms, and now our very virtues and standards of fairness.

The bad guys are so bad they don't deserve to be treated like human beings? And it's all THEIR fault, not ours?? Isn't that what Hitler said about the Jews, and Osama said about the Americans???

After you have so willingly given up everything we hold dear just to buy yourself an ounce of piece of mind and a false sense of security, take a GOOD look around you...everything worth fighting for will be gone. What our own leaders are doing to us is far worse than what the terrorist could have hoped to have accomplished.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759)

Posted by: flea on June 30, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

The Objective Historian wrote: They are to blame for us having to resort to these measures, not George W. Bush and not the United States [...] This is all completely justified ethically EVEN IF SOME OF THE DETAINEES ARE COMPLETELY INNNOCENT.

So you fully agree with Osama Bin Laden's rationale for crashing planes into the World Trade Center: that US foreign policy in the Middel East is "to blame" for Al Qaeda "having to resort to these measures" and that the resulting murder of innocents is "completely justified ethically".

Thanks for making it clear which side you are on: the side of the enemies of humanity.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 30, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

So you fully agree with Osama Bin Laden's rationale for crashing planes into the World Trade Center

That assumes that it's only the morality of those tactics TOH approves of and not that it's Americans who aren't on the receiving end of said tactics.

Want to place a bet that that's not the case?

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

flea wrote: Americans are hated for their IDEALS. It is the western ideals that are considered dangerous.

I see no evidence whatsoever that "Americans are hated for their IDEALS" by anyone anywhere. On the contrary, there is a lot of evidence that a lot of people all over the world hate specific actions of the American government which are directly and egregiously contrary to the supposed "ideals" of Americans.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 30, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

"That's why Guantnamo is a disgrace."

Kevin, our inability to sort the guilty from the innocent is only one part of the whole dynamic. And the whole dynamic stinks of Klaus Barbie, saving the world from socialism or whatever the rationale of the moment was. Wrong is wrong, and these particular shades of gray don't mitigate a damn thing.

Posted by: Kenji on June 30, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

I see no evidence whatsoever that "Americans are hated for their IDEALS" by anyone anywhere

lots of people hate us for our "decadent", "godless" lifestyle, many Americans, even.

Posted by: cleek on June 30, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Commenter, such as Secular Animist, apparently are demanding a very high level of proof that these people are dangerous. There are plenty of reports about them in the media, which is where you (and I) get our information. Some of you are (apparently) so unwilling to trust what the administration says about anything that you can't believe that these people are dangerous.

That defies common sense, of course, but then again, you live in a country where you may safely do that.

I confess that I believe that a man captured on a battlefield with a rifle in his hand is dangerous and should be handled with care. Ditto for a bomb-maker. Ditto for a terrorist. Ditto for those who lead the ones who make the bombs and carry the rifles. At the very least, I'm not willing to turn such individuals back into the field without some assurance that they'll behave.

I also confess that I believe the military: when they say they got Mahmoud on the battlefield, that's where they got him.

If your political beliefs cause you to think that everything that's been said since Jan. 20, 2001, is a lie, well okay, but you're not going to be able to carry an intelligent conversation with the rest of us.

Posted by: Steve White on June 30, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

The first four protocols of the Geneva Convention (the ones that the U.S. signed and are bound to) don't easily provide for what to do with terrorists. They aren't legitimate combatants of a nation-state, which is what these protocols were about. That's why Kevin is correct (and I can't believe I'm defending him on this) that there are no easy answers to what to do with the detainees in Gitmo.

It was easy at the end of WWII: the war was over, a surrender instrument had been signed, so German POWs were repatriated, and the few that had committed war crimes were tried for such by tribunals.

al-Qaeda members are not citizens of states with which we are at war by any definition, save Afghanistan and Iraq. And those wars are on-going. One can agree that 'indefinite' detention is wrong, but one should also agree that releasing them while the conflict in two states is on-going, and while al-Qaeda growls and snaps at us, is a spectacularly bad idea.

We need a way to sort them out. The tribunals were a way to do that, but the SCOTUS has said that this method is wrong. Fine, I'm not going to argue with them. We need a method that works within the law, the SCOTUS ruling and the Conventions that we have signed, and doesn't allow terrorists in custody to use our legal system to attack us.

I have yet to read a serious comment on this thread on how to do that.

Posted by: Steve White on June 30, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Steve White: Some of you are (apparently) so unwilling to trust what the administration says about anything that you can't believe that these people are dangerous.

The Bush administration has given rational people plenty of reason to distrust what they say. But that's irrelevant to the rule of law. The Supreme Court decision affirmed the rule of law. If the Bush administration has any evidence whatsoever that anyone being held at Guantanamo is guilty of any actual crime, then they need to present that evidence in a court of law and prosecute that person according to legal due process.

But you don't want the rule of law. You want to "trust" a Supreme Leader who is above and beyond any law. You want George W. Bush to be able to declare someone guilty of an unspecified crime, and then without evidence or trial lock that person up forever and throw away the key. As such, you are an anti-American fascist bootlicker and an enemy of freedom.

If your political beliefs cause you to think that everything that's been said since Jan. 20, 2001, is a lie ...

My "political beliefs" have nothing to do with my distrust of the Bush administration. My distrust of the Bush administration is a direct result of the simple facts that Bush came to power by stealing the 2000 election, retained power by stealing the 2004 election, and that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and other principals of the Bush administration have repeatedly and blatantly lied to the American people, the United States Congress, the United Nations Security Council and the entire world.

... you're not going to be able to carry an intelligent conversation with the rest of us.

I have no illusions about the possibility of carrying on an "intelligent conversation" with brainwashed Bush bootlickers like yourself.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 30, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK
Commenter, such as Secular Animist, apparently are demanding a very high level of proof that these people are dangerous.

There is plenty of evidence that vast numbers of the detainees were collected by means guaranteed to collect largely the easiest to round up innocents (the public offer in Afghanistan of large bounties to anyone who turned over supposed Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters to the US); therefore, it takes considerable evidence to rebut the reasonable presumption that the prisoners there are generally innocents rounded up through those means.

There are plenty of reports about them in the media, which is where you (and I) get our information.

Yes; those reports are why it is we demand evidence.

Some of you are (apparently) so unwilling to trust what the administration says about anything that you can't believe that these people are dangerous.

Considering the degree to which the administration has demonstrably distorted the truth, and given the evidence suggesting that the gathering of "enemy combatants" that were later detained in Guatanamo, trusting the administration on this seems unreasonable.

I won't debate that duly elected leaders deserve some degree of trust until they have proven themselves unworthy of that trust, and I won't even debate, for the moment, that George W. Bush is a "duly elected leader".

I will, however, argue that he has demonstrated that his word alone is not to be trusted; that's not to say that everything he says is a lie (indeed, that would justify a particular kind of trust: the trust that whatever he said was not true), but rather that he clearly will tend to say whatever he perceives will serve his interests at the moment without regard to the truth, so that the fact that he says something tells you nothing about its truth.

I also confess that I believe the military: when they say they got Mahmoud on the battlefield, that's where they got him.

Since the entire theater in which hostilities were taking place is "the battlefield", this means far less than you seem to think. All that "they were taken on the battlefield" means, often, is that the local warlords who kidnapped the easiest people to grab and tell us that they were "Taliban fighters" were located somewhere in Afghanistan when they handed them over to US forces.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist, cmdicely and jayarbee are all right. Whenever he addresses the bogeyman of terrorism, Kevin's instincts are all wrong. He apparently can't shake his liberal hawk sensibilities which make him side with the (original) neo-cons on foreign policy issues.

That and the junior high school debating tactic of engaging and partly agreeing with your (ostensible) opponents, before you offer your tiny criticism (to lend legitimacy - "see, I'm not one of those pacifist unwashed hippie liberals!"). When the other side is fucking whacked, staking out a middle position is ridiculous.

Either it's an ignorant rhetorical pose, which legitimizes the Right's narratives, or Kevin actually agrees with the hawks most of the time.

This site is in the shitter.

Posted by: luci on June 30, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

"That's why Guantnamo is a disgrace."

Sorry, Kevin, those nicieties are only a small part of the Klaus Barbie-like dynamic. Wrong is wrong, regardless of the rationalization of the moment.

Posted by: Kenji on June 30, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Steve White wrote: I have yet to read a serious comment on this thread on how to do that.

You could listen to what the attorneys who represent Guantanamo prisoners are saying -- including the US military attorneys appointed to represent them in the tribunals. Of course, you aren't likely to hear much about that from Fox News or Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 30, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, just because you voluntarily choose to live in Stepford, California, is no reason for you to be willfully stupid on this issue.

The truth is, the MAJORITY of the detainees at Guantanamo are people who were turned in for a reward that was given whether they were "Al Qaeda" or not, or were people who had run afoul of the local authorities for disagreeing with them about something, and were "disappeared" by turning them over to the Americans, or any number of other causes that have NOTHING TO DO with them being "terrorists."

The real terrorists and war criminals at Guantanamo all speak American English like the native American Eglish speakers they are because they're AMERICANS.

Your willful ignorance on this widely-reported fact, like your willful ignorance on the subject of the finance-tracking program are so completely out of character for you - at least the you I think I have come to know over the past 3 years, that I really wonder what in hell is going on? Are you trying out for employment running the blog for The New Republican????

Posted by: TCinLA on June 30, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK
We need a way to sort them out. The tribunals were a way to do that, but the SCOTUS has said that this method is wrong. Fine, I'm not going to argue with them. We need a method that works within the law, the SCOTUS ruling and the Conventions that we have signed, and doesn't allow terrorists in custody to use our legal system to attack us.

"Use our legal system to attack us"? WTF is that even supposed to mean? Detainees filing "writs of nuclear destruction" against US cities in federal District Courts?

Here's the method: detainees will be tried by Courts-Martial under the UCMJ. Gee, how hard was that?

Posted by: cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm a uniter, not a divider." United in discord. Bush is a bomb-throwing radical, that's obvious just by watching the flames consuming this thread.

Posted by: dbostrom on June 30, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

I confess that I believe that a man captured on a battlefield with a rifle in his hand is dangerous and should be handled with care.

Hm. I believe that a man captured on a battlefield with a rifle in his hand is probably a legitimate combatant and should be treated as a POW unless there is proof that he is something else.

Posted by: Wapiti on June 30, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

'Plenty of the inmates at Guantnamo are genuinely dangerous people, and we can hardly afford to let them go free just because we don't have Perry Mason standards of evidence against them. There just aren't easy answers to this.'

Kevin. Shame on you. I doubt that there's one 'genuinely' dangerous person in Guantanamo, unless we've radicalized the whole bunch of them by now. The US bombed the shit out of Afghanistan, killing mostly innocent civilians and of course, members of the Taliban (not al Qaeda!). Clusterbombs were left for little Afghan kids to pick up instead of correctly picking the package with a peanut butter sandwich. I know who the terrorists are, and they're not at Guantanamo.

Posted by: nepeta on June 30, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Use our legal system to attack us"? WTF is that even supposed to mean? . . .
Posted by: cmdicely on June 30, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

A while back, prior to Iraq, FoxNews (probably by way of Karl Rove) got ahold of an Al Qaeda "training manual" that supposedly instructed young student terrorists to "abuse the system" if caught. Claim they were tortured, file every obstructionist appeal and motion possible, etc. To drag out the whole administration of justice, possibly to short circuit the trial to get a mistrial or acquittal, etc. and basically show the Americans that it's their Freedom that makes them weak.

So the conservative answer to that, of course, is "fuck freedom".

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 30, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Plenty of the inmates at Guantnamo are genuinely dangerous people, and we can hardly afford to let them go free just because we don't have Perry Mason standards of evidence against them. There just aren't easy answers to this.

Outrageous, Kevin. What is wrong with you that you could make these unsubstantiated statements with a straight face?

Posted by: shortstop on June 30, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK
Look. Guantnamo isn't an easy issue.Kevin Drum
It is an "easy issue." Do you approve of the President of the United States having gulags to which he can confine people for an indefinite period on his authority alone or do you believe in the Constitution and the rule of law? It's that simple.
We're doing everything we can to ensure that those held in Gitmo are terrorists.American Hawk 2:38 PM
That is a lie because the Bush regime is not doing anything to determine the quilt or innocence of its detainees. Instead it tortures them.
They are to blame for us having to resort to these measures, not George W. Bush and not the United States. The Objective Historian 4:20 PM
Blaming the victim is not a rationale for Bush's illegal policies.
demanding a very high level of proof Steve White 5:52 PM
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the customary requirement. It hasn't been to difficult to meet in other circumstances. Posted by: Mike on June 30, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

POWs are released when a war ends. No POW has ever had a time limit on imprisonment, or routine access to civilian courts during a war.

You're right on that - except those at Guantanamo were never designated 'Prisoners of War' - instead, they were declared 'enemy combatants.'

Why? So Rummy and Bush and Cheney could completely sidestep the Geneva Conventions of which you speak. Incidentally, they are being held neither in the country where the war is taking place nor in the US. Why? Again - they'd be obligated to observe the Geneva Conventions if they were. So it's off to Cuba with them.

Look it up. I've never seen any member of the Bush administration call them POWS.

Posted by: Stranger on June 30, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist:

Whether U.S.A. foreign policy is to "blame" for OBL's terrorist strike is beside the point and indicative that you are confusing the issues. It could be that U.S.A. foreign policy justifies (arguably but not my view) the Islamic Republic of Iran declaring war on the U.S.A. and sending fighter planes to strike the Pentagon (resulting in whatever collateral damage). What U.S.A. foreign policy does not justify is terrorism of this kind, killing of innocent civilians while hiding amongst innocent civilians in civilian dress (not military uniforms). It is this terrorism that forces us to capture a larger set of individuals since the terrorists are disguised as civilians; that is the infamy of their TACTICS, not their objective per se. And, as my earlier post regarding FDR's counter-terrorism tactics in occupied Germany indicate, putting innocent people in cells for some-odd years where REQUIRED to counter terrorism is a lot better than the old days where we'd (and all warring nations would) just kill a larger set of individuals than the terrorists per se; likewise justified, by the way, where circumstances do not permit other practical options.

In sum, we may or may not be to blame for some people and collectively some nations despising us; granted. But we are not to blame for the tactics we've had to use to protect ourselves from this assymetrical terrorist assault. And, relative to our opponents in this assymetrical warfare, we've taken by quantum leaps the relatively dignified (war is never dignified qua dignified) approach.

As a side note, the irony is, if we dropped a bomb on the general area that these individuals were captured and killed them all, along with the proxmiate terrorists, there would be no issue. Their continued living, in cells, but cared for with food and medicine, is the source of the protest; this compared to killing them. Really. They should be grateful, regresssive-democrats should be grateful (that W. et al are ignoring you), and We, the People should be grateful that dedicated soldiers and hardworking taxpayers can afford to show these detainees the relative mercy that our terrorist opponents refuse to show us.

From a historical perspective, Guantnamo and its detainees represents ethical warfare under assymetrical conditions unmatched in the course of human events. Instead of comparing W. to some fantasy world generated in academia and in Hollywood, compare him to history - an informed history. He rides high in that context; very high. He is a great president.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on June 30, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, TOH, that is why it is all playing out so well. No problem!

Posted by: Kenji on June 30, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

If you guys want to campaign on the issue that GWB hasn't provided enough travel vouchers to terrorists to satisfy the Guardian I say bring it on. The Ney story bothered me an hour ago, thanks for reminding me we're still competing with Democrats though.

Posted by: minion of rove on June 30, 2006 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

More evidence that the Bush gang couldn't find their collective asses with both hands and a flashlight....

Posted by: Fred Flintrock on June 30, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Legitimacy is exactly what it's all about Mr. Street. The courts decision, and yours, to legitimaze jihadism as an acceptable, Geneva-worthy form of warfare. Jihadists do not deserve, nor should they receive protections under the Geneva Convention. They were not party to it nor do they wear a uniform or protect any defined borders. Remember Starry Decisis? It's what the left screams about everytime Roe v Wade is brought up. Well, there is precedence for these military tribunals and you'd seem like a hypocrite if you choose to ignore that.

The gov't needs to do a much more effective and quicker job of vetting the possible innocent people still there, but there still remain many extremists that should never see freedom.

You give far too much credibility to the jihadist movement. UBL's family denounced him as did Zarqawi's. Notes found on Zarqawi clearly indicates that he felt that they were losing the battle. Jihadists don't represent the "many" of the prominent families in Saudi Arabia. Most of them are just disoriented losers like yourself, raging against the machine.

Posted by: Jay on June 30, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose the distinction is a quasi-descriptive area of whether the US is at war or fighting terrorists. If at war then prisoners should be dealt with under POW agreements that have been long established. Awol and is cohorts seek to make this gray-area determination that these people are not POW's yet are terrorists and therefore they can be held in limbo-land indefinately. The natural, logical, humanitarian conclusion would be to just put them in POW status, determine judiciously their innocence or guilt, legally process them and move on. Bush never seems to choose the high road. Which, in essence, makes us no better than what we are fighting. To gittmo inhabitants (and unfortunately the Islamic world) we take on the characteristics of terrorists.

Posted by: Where's osama on June 30, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

If Bush were really a great president then he would find a way to unite and define a goal and develop achievements that more than 30% of US citizens could get behind. Instead he chooses to alienate vast numbers and select the most devisive directions. Either he doesn't know how to do any better-moron, doesn't care-asshole, likes to fuck with people-traitor, or is totally unaware-incompetetent. Torture, lies leading to an invasion, reversing due legal process, mis-directed effort to locate the US's enemies, financial US destruction, middle finger at the US constitution-a disastrous road striving to be so devisive as to destroy the country that allowed him to come to power. And not sharp enough to even realize it. What a disaster. Worst president in the last 100 years if not for all time.

Posted by: Where's osama on July 1, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Either awol is in a war or not. If fighting terrorism is not a war then douchbag shouldn't define it as a war on terror. Defined as a war then the prisoners must be handled as POW's under Geneva agreements. If not a war then what the hell is it exactly? Conservatives see everything in black or white, positive or negative and they can't seem to fiqure out whether were in a war or not. Sure!

Posted by: Where's osama on July 1, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Now we find that if congress should attempt to create Bush's military tribunals (which he probably really doesn't want anyway, but then does he really know what he wants?) then they might abrogate an article of the Geneva conventions which provide protection to US troops. Does awol hate the troops so badly that he's willing to break international agreements just to harm them to achieve a republican congressional majority? Wow, what an asshole. Are basic laws anti-conservative? Is the constitution liberal and thus hated by conservatives?

Posted by: Where's osama on July 1, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

Look, of course some of the people in Guantanamo took up arms against the United States. For those that were Afghans, they were fighting against an invading force. The government they supported was evil, but nevertheless the laws of war say that people who do this are legit, even if they don't have uniforms. They are prisoners of war, entitled to the treatment that we'd expect a foreign power to give Americans. And since there's now a recognized government, any Afghans in Guantanamo whose offense is only that they fought against the American troops when they invaded, or even if they killed Afghan civilians, the right thing to do is hand them over to Karzai's government (and arrange for international monitoring of whatever prison he puts them in).

Many of the "al Qaeda" captives were guilty of being in Afghanistan while Arab. There was a bounty for folks like that, and the various warlords captured them by the score and handed them over to the Americans in exchange for cash.
If we don't have evidence against them but have reason to believe that they are dangerous, then call them POWs and treat them as such, the way we'd expect other countries to treat American POWs. Put the prison on American soil; allow access, demonstrate to the world that we treat them the way POWs should be treated.

If we do have evidence that they are dangerous, try them. The Geneva Conventions allow for military courts-martial, but they specify that the rules be the same as are used when American troops are charged with something. That is, no special kangaroo court rules, use the standard rules.

Posted by: Joe Buck on July 1, 2006 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

Look. Guantnamo isn't an easy issue.

Seems pretty simple to me. Except for the spelling and the pronunciation, maybe, but the ethics are pretty straightforward.

Posted by: craigie on July 1, 2006 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

"Plenty of the inmates at Guantnamo are genuinely dangerous people"

And just what is your inside source for making this statement? Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld? I have no idea who these guys are or what they specifically did, or the circumstances under which they were transported to Gitmo. If it's your intution upon which you rely, you may be right or you may not.

Posted by: sparrow on July 1, 2006 at 2:33 AM | PERMALINK

al: Most likely, the leftist Guardian propaganda "newspaper" simply paid the "witnesses" to say what they wanted to hear.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 - Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party.

In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" in the United States, in violation of a statutory ban. - NYT 10/1/05


The U.S. military command in Baghdad acknowledged for the first time yesterday that it has paid Iraqi newspapers to carry positive news about U.S. efforts in Iraq... 12/3/05

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on July 1, 2006 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: dd on July 1, 2006 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

And conversely sparrow, what information do you have that these are not dangerous jihadists?

Geneva Convention rights do not apply to these losers, in fact war tribunals would be a step up for them. Any engagement-of-war protocols afforded to these losers would legitimize their threat and their cause. There should never be any ligitimacy given to people who blow up trains, planes, nightclubs, buildings, and shoot school children in the back.

Posted by: Jay on July 1, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK


obf: A while back, prior to Iraq, FoxNews (probably by way of Karl Rove) got ahold of an Al Qaeda "training manual" that supposedly instructed young student terrorists to "abuse the system" if caught. Claim they were tortured, file every obstructionist appeal and motion possible, etc. To drag out the whole administration of justice, possibly to short circuit the trial to get a mistrial or acquittal, etc. and basically show the Americans that it's their Freedom that makes them weak.


"Deny everything and if convicted allege fraud." G. Gordon Liddy

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on July 1, 2006 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK


toh: He is a great president.


Bush Tops List As U.S. Voters Name Worst President In 61 Years - Quinnipiac University National Poll 6/1/06

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on July 1, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Quinnipiac University poll hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha

oh thank you for that one thisspace.

Posted by: Jay on July 1, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

I think that Guantanamo was a photo-op from the beginning. ... The shackled, hooded enemies getting off the plane in their orange jumpsuits was great TV. Hearing now and then that they've been put in hell makes [Bush's base] feel good too.

Sad and sick as it may be, this is most likely the truth. If the government ever has to put forward real evidence in any kind of due-process action against these men, that will become apparent.

I'd like to join many other commenters in vehemently objecting to Kevin's evidence-free assertion that "plenty of the inmates at Guantnamo are genuinely dangerous people."

Posted by: Nell on July 1, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

And I will join many other voters in vehemently objecting to your evidence-free assertion that they aren't dangerous.

Posted by: Jay on July 1, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Street, welcome back.
I am impressed that you looked up the definition of "stare decisis" (since we're being formal), which has been set for this case. The left leans on stare decisis for their continued support of Roe v Wade, my point is that there is precedence for war tribunals in this case and that should be acknowledged and adhered to.

War tribunals are actually though too good for these losers. Following any protocols afforded to actual POW's legitimizes the jihadists efforts.

I would also be a little hesitant on blaming someone else for NOT being serious about fighting the war on jihadism when that "someone" has already done a hell of a lot more than you, or your ilk would have. It makes you look, well, stupid.

Considering Bilbray's win in CA, the '04 election which was won by more than 3.5 million popular votes and Howard Dean as the DNC chair, I would also suggest being a little more observant on what wheels are flying off of which party.

Posted by: Jay on July 1, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

First of all, Clinton did not capture McVeigh, an OK trooper saw an expired plate and fortunately stopped Mr. McVeigh as he strolled out of town. Fortunately, blind luck. And tell me, how long did it take "Clinton" to find Eric Rudolph? And since your a stickler for the rule of law, tell me what precedence there is for sending in tanks to confront a cultist wanted on a small weapons charge and subsequently killing all of the American men, women and children in the compound.

Following Cunninghams felonies and the lefts zeal to win that seat, Bilbray's victory is a precursor to this fall. Sorry.

Companionship on line? I enjoy fucking you in the ass.

Posted by: Jay on July 1, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, in high school civics American students are taught that evidence must be offered to substantiate any claims that might lead to a person being deprived of their property, their liberty, or their life. Further, as you know, anyone so accused gets to confront any evidence presented against them as well as being able to tell their side of the story if they so choose.

The fairness and validity of such a process is usually insured (not perfectly) by openness where the greater public can monitor what takes place in the courtroom.

Surely we can offer such a process to these humans. Surely such a process will, when fairly completed, be in the long-term interest of the American people.

The fact that the administration does not want to implement such a simple, and American, ideal implies to me that they have something to hide. My best guess at that is a two-fer: the way these men were originally collected and the methods used to interrogate them.

Yet, if the administration is as morally correct as they tell us, shouldnt they welcome such a chance to show their moral superiority in action?

Posted by: Keith G on July 1, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Jihadists do not deserve the rights afforded to American citizens. Any group of people that thinks it's ok to shoot school children in the back in Beslan, and to kill untold number of innocent people in Jakarta, Madrid, London, NY, etc. for the purpose of initmidation, power and pleasure do not deserve rights of any kind. Affording them those rights legitimizes their violent efforts.

Our current "courtrooms" can not even convict O.J. Simpson, so what possibly makes you think the "truth" will be discovered with the jihadists. There is no question of what their motives are nor is there any question as to the length they will go to win. Claiming the moral high ground is merely appeasing those who truly don't understand this battle.

Posted by: Jay on July 1, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: 'Any group of people that thinks it's ok to shoot school children in the back in Beslan, and to kill untold number of innocent people in Jakarta, Madrid, London, NY, etc. for the purpose of initmidation, power and pleasure do not deserve rights of any kind.'

And what does your 'black and white' morality have to say about the collateral damage to innocent citizens in Iraq who have been jailed, tortured, raped and murdered because of a US invasion which had nothing to do with any war on terrorism? The US invasion itself has caused more death than all the terrorist acts combined.
And although the motive for the invasion of Iraq is still unclear, I would site the motives you give above as good possibilities, along with 'greed.'

Posted by: nepeta on July 1, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, I want to see evidence that any man held by the government operating in my name is indeed a threat to me and my country and not some goat herd who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. To my mind, being a jihadist involves certain observable behaviors. I want to see such a list associated with each detainee. If detainee Omar X was transporting RPGs to a Taliban stronghold, fine. If Omar was just the village loud mouth that some one pimped to the Northern Alliance to get reward money, I have problems with his detention. Surely we can proceed through some type of a fair indictment process without causing harm to western civilization. In fact the opposite is very likely true.

As far as your OJ strawman, Simpson was acquitted do to the hubris of the police and prosecution team. Beside there being real evidence against Simpson, there were problems with the case that a smarter prosecutor could have defused, but you see, they too thought they were dealing with a slam dunk. Oh well.

Posted by: Keith G on July 1, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

First of all the Iraq invasion has not killed more than all terrorists acts combined. That's a lie.

Secondly, why are you apologizing for the jihadists? And why do you live in this country and continue to support the violent and illegal efforts of this country? If you believe what you say and if you have any integrity, you would move to a more law abiding country. By remaining in this country you are just as guilty of murder and mayhem that you claim this country is responsble for.

So which is nepata, are you comfortable being a murderer or are you going to move?

Posted by: Jay on July 1, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly what extra-sensory perceptive powers do Jay and his fellow emigrants from truth, justice and American Way claim to have? Without all the features identified as mandatory for logically complete implementation of justice as incorporated in a trial of some form, either civil or military, we can't know if the people Jay and his ex-American colleagues are so eager to lock up are actually guilty of anything.

There's simply no way to skip steps in a selected group of trials and still leave our system of justice fully intact.

No shortcuts are possible.

What's so difficult to understand about that?

Why would a self-professed patriot like Jay so readily strip himself of his essential citizenship in a contorted defense of the administration's abandonment of the country's values?

Jay and his ilk have lost faith in our country and its values. They're not prepared to accept that perfect legal outcomes from every personal perspective are impossible to attain while still being a part of the artful system of compromises that is the United States of America. Instead they're abandoning the country and then attacking its core principles, from the outside.

Posted by: dbostrom on July 1, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, somewhere there is someone who has decided that you and your family are not deserving of basic human rights and that you, when captured (perhaps because of your brave decision to go to Iraq and fight on the front lines, since that is suuuuch a noble cause) are a pathetic loser to whom the protections of the Geneva Convention does not andf should not apply.

In their minds, they are absolutely right about how dangerous and degenerate, and they have many others to back them up on this. So let's get totally clear about this: if that is the case, you are saying they then have the moral right to torture and kill you, and then come after your family? This, precisely, is the world you choose to live in? If you strip away the bullshit, that's what you've been writing in post after hate-filled post. Last time I checked, by the way, you were not God. (Not even close.)

You know, right-wingers sigh an awful lot about moral relativism, but all we ever see in troll-speak, or on cable TV, for that matter, is a lot of heated-up emotion masquerading as thought. And that's putting it kindly.

Posted by: Kenji on July 1, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

First of all the Iraq invasion has not killed more than all terrorists acts combined. That's a lie.

Even the US gov't now admits at least 50K Iraqi civilians have died since the invasion, and many other organizations put it at 80-100K. Jay, you're either a liar or a fool -- it's probably not possible to be both, but if it is you're the one who could pull it off.

Posted by: Pennypacker on July 1, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Jay said:

And why do you live in this country and continue to support the violent and illegal efforts of this country? If you believe what you say and if you have any integrity, you would move to a more law abiding country. By remaining in this country you are just as guilty of murder and mayhem that you claim this country is responsble for.

Jay, ah, by your logic in 1997 you were just as guilty about lying to cover up a blow job as Bill was, or did you move out of the country?

Posted by: Keith G on July 1, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

So which is nepata, are you comfortable being a murderer or are you going to move?

So, 'love it or leave it'? Isn't that a bit 'dated'? I'll use my voice and my energies to fight the US government when I disagree with its policies, a right that I possess as a citizen of this country (at least for the time being!).
But I do agree with you in one sense. I'm not doing nearly enough considering the magnitude of the problem. And for that I apologize with a heavy heart.

Posted by: nepeta on July 1, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

So much dimentia from all of you and so little time for me to correct it. Where to start?

First of all, Unbelievable irony from kenji, stating hypothetically that "somewhere there is someone who has decided that you and your family are not worthy of basic human rights". WOW. What do you think we are fighting against kenji? If the jihadists ever took over, it is the people of your belief system (more liberal on social issues) that would be the very first to be executed. No juries, no trials. This is where it is soooo obvious that the left DOES NOT UNDERSTAND this battle.

nepata, I am not saying love it or leave it but you are, as a citizen, comlicit to this countries crimes. And if they are as egregious as you claim, and if you hold yourself to such a higher moral ground, it would be hypocritical for you to remain here.

pennypacker, start back in 1972 and start to add.

KeithG, I didn't give a shit what Clinton did with Monica. Fact is, I voted for him, twice and felt that his personal dalliances prohibited him from being a better president.

Oh Mr. Street. "..of course the trooper had the info..." Hardly. They had McVeigh locked up for quite a few hours and almost let him go before realizing who he might be.

We are now on the offensive and UBL's days are numbered. Had your party one, hell yes, I'd be completely nuts knowing the left wouldn't do shit about him.

The rest of your tripe was just left spin but I do appreciate the recognition of Waco. It was a debacle.

I can't even take Ms. facelift seriously let alone even consider a leadership role for her. And would someone please give Harry Reid a spine.

And that wasn't a nice to thing say. I apologize.

Posted by: Jay on July 1, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK


jay: We are now on the offensive and UBL's days are numbered.


after more than 1700-days since 9-11?

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha

oh thank you for that one....


Posted by: thisspaceavailable on July 2, 2006 at 7:13 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, Steve White, and TOH are using the same arguments our country used in the past to justify unconstitutional actions against groups that scared us - Native Americans, Japanese-Americans, and others. The target is dehumanized. Example:

Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, 1942: A Jap's a Jap . . . we must worry about the Japanese all the time until he is wiped off the map.

We are now rightly ashamed of our past actions based on the idea that our enemies were outside the bounds of humanity. Yet here we are using the same rhetoric again and doing the same things again.

If we survive as a free nation - an issue which has nothing to do with any threat posed by al Qaeda but with our own actions - Guantanamo will be regarded as a disgrace.

What's worse about Guantanamo is that its existence really damages our standing in the world, which the internment of the Japanese or the Trail of Tears did not.


Posted by: No Preference on July 2, 2006 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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