Democrats & Liberals Archives

Completely Gutless

Gitmo can be closed. We can take in the terrorists. Anybody who lets the spectre of terrorism scare them out of bringing legitimate, proper justice to them has let the terrorists win, because only in the abject fear of terrorism do we end up giving them what they want: an excessive amount of fear and respect.

This was a bipartisan display of cowardice.

What are these people, superpowered mutants, that must be kept in isolation like Magneto from X-Men, walled off? Yes, terrorists could attack us in response to imprisoning their comrades. But nothing about keeping them in Gitmo keeps us any safer from that. This is a movie plot-driven fear, an irrational projection of a hundred hastily written action sequences that owe more to the comic books and Michael Bay films than they do to any well researched real world scenario.

How do we know this? Because Because we've had this guy in prison for the last decade and a half. And though some people might blame their actions abroad on us having lawfully imprisoned this man, they haven't broken him out, and they could have just as easily gotten angry with us over somebody dropped in Gitmo. Gitmo was never meant to shield us from the danger of these superpowered terrorists. It was meant to shield the Bush Administration from the consequences of abusing the human rights of people they brought there, an abuse that it's fairly arguable did more, in the long run, to get Americans killed, as we don't get Abu Ghraib without the transference of techniques and practices from Gitmo.

With Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, we paid for our departure from civilized practices. We paid with our reputation. We paid with the outrage they produced, and the recruits for al-Qaeda that created, and we're paying right now with the difficult legal mess that comes from having to wind down this monstrosity

But going past this matter of whether we have pride enough in ourselves to throw away the hasty, unreliable, desperate means of the Bush Administration, let me blunt about what I think of all this handwaving and running around like chickens with our heads cut off: This is fricking embarrassing.

America can't hold these people in their prisons? What do these people do, turn green, grow seven feet tall, rip out the bars and bash down brick walls when they get angry? They're just men. Maybe a bit better trained than average, maybe a bit more focused and goal driven than the average criminal, but if we can't keep these people in prison, then we're pretty sorry as a nation, and in deep trouble, too. We took on the mafia, we took on the Russian mobsters, we've imprisoned a former head of state, for crying out loud. America's put people who once had armies in prison. Why are we allowing ourselves to be so scared of al-Qaeda? And if we're scared, why the hell are we so stupid as to show it, rather than gut it out?

We are letting them scare us into treating them special, not like the criminal scum that they truly are. We should practice common sense security procedures in handling these people, but we should not assume that they deserve to be treated as Islamofascist super-soldiers. We're only serving to show them that America can be frightened out of facing these people with firm resolve, without backing down. We've shown that Americans can be scared out of properly punishing people, and instead have to sock people away in a dark hole, ashamed of what we have to do to keep the scary terrorists from hurting us.

When the World Trade Center was first attacked, we found the people responsible, and we put them in jail. We didn't fret over whether there was a danger, at least not so much that we had a second thought of putting them away via our regular justice system. Bush's parallel system, his torture chambers are an admission of inferiority, of the anxiety that the adminstration in question had in stop al-Qaeda by regular detective work. Special means
must be used, because these people are so damn scary, so damn elusive, so damn powerful. Right.

We've helped show the world that these people are indeed to be feared, and that nobody should opposed them unless they're prepared to be attacked. If you understand the purpose of terrorist methods, then you understand that this a defeat, not any truly common sense response. Until these people are treated as criminals, and not superpowered super soldiers, we're just adding to their prestige, adding to the damage they can do, adding to their recruiting. We're allowing ourselves to be terrorized by these people, or worse, we have leaders who are willing to cooperate in the exaggeration of that terror for political benefit.

We're allowing al-Qaeda to stampede us into throwing away not only what makes us best as Americans, but what allows us to stand up with dignity and look them in the eye as better than their equals.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at May 21, 2009 7:18 AM
Comments
Comment #281823

Stephen:

Actually, I kind of agree with them wanting a plan first. Seems like we’ve been through the “vote the money before we know how it’s going to be used” thing. I do think a comprehensive outlined plan for the money is an appropriate thing to ask for before voting the money.

Posted by: womanmarine at May 21, 2009 8:30 AM
Comment #281831

If it’s just the plan, I would have thought that they wouldn’t need to scare people over the possibility of one of these supervillains escaping, or their crack suicide squads coming in and rescuing them.

The Republicans wish to stall the shutdown of Gitmo, so they can make this all about keeping those evil terrorists out of our country, because God knows, if they did step within our borders, we’d be instantly unsafe, and prison walls could not contain their evil.

But ultimately, unless we can face these people with our dignity and principles intact, they win, because we sacrifice so much of what makes our country a meaningful beacon of freedom just to defeat them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 21, 2009 10:09 AM
Comment #281834

Stephen:

I hadn’t read about scaring anyone (as inappropriate as that is, I agree), perhaps I missed it. The stories I read were about knowing what the money is for, where it’s going and what the plan is. I am fine with that, I hope Congress as a whole will ask that all the time when appropriating money.

Posted by: womanmarine at May 21, 2009 11:01 AM
Comment #281846

If what you mean by going the “extra mile” they broke the law. We are a nation of laws nobody has the right to break them.

Posted by: Jeff at May 21, 2009 1:56 PM
Comment #281847

Womanmarine-
I’m sad to say that the GOP has been hyping the possibility that these people might just be released on our streets, to endanger us all. That’s the line, anyways.

Gary Bolt-
Sometimes going the extra mile means doing what’s necessary to get the job done. Sometimes it means you just missed your stop.

One question, before we even get into the reliability of Bush’s methods and practices, is if regular, currently legal methods were ever given a chance to fail, a chance to be used to their greatest potential, or if it was just assumed that they would be insufficient, by folks pessimistic about anything but the extra-strength methods.

Which is to say, what they consider extra-strength. In fact, these methods often did less to get important intelligence. They are inherently unreliable. Wouldn’t you say anything to get somebody to stop torturing you? Problem is, so will the person who knows nothing. So will the person who, while a legitimate suspect and a person with knowledge, knows that what you want to hear from them is untrue. In fact, they might secretly enjoy sending you on a wild goose chase.

The wild goose chase, you could say, is the undesirable form of going the extra mile, the effort, time, credibility, and morale wasted to deal with false alarms and dead-end leads. You might get lucky with these tactics, and get good information, but you also might have the bad luck to be sent badly off track, even while your ticking time bomb ticks away. In fact, a terrorists who wants to really screw with you might just decide to clam up and keep quiet, or feed you misinformation for as long as possible, to literally wait out the clock until the event actually occurs.

And then of course, they could tell you all about what they did, because it will no longer matter.

What people like you understandably and sincerely fear is the inability to control the situation, to get what you want from the terrorist, when you want it.

Some situations, though, you can’t control, or at least control in such a way that you can determine the ends that you justify your means to reach. We’re not Gods. Sometimes, we must acknowledge what we don’t control, to recognize where the best levers to pull and wheels to spin are. Sometimes, as with torture, when you try and control the subject, you only impose yourself as an filter for information that might very well be more truthful and more useful if it told you something that while true, was what you really needed to know.

The key in protecting our country is not necessarily the extremes to which we go, but instead the effectiveness of our choices. History will not be kind to our mistakes, but most importantly, our enemies will not be merciful in the face of them, either, whether we intended to strike a blow against them or not.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 21, 2009 2:09 PM
Comment #281850

Stephen,

Gitmo was used, not so that we could torture, but so that ACLU/liberal Lawyers couldn’t get them out and released into the population of the US.

This is the real danger. Keep them in US prisons and the left will get them released, and then get them government assistance and then ‘reparations’, and who knows what else.

This is the real reason that democrats have blocked their own propaganda from being carried out.

BTW it’s disengenious to try to blame republicans for blocking or stopping this. We don’t have enough votes to matter bro. It’s all on your side. If democrats wanted this or had the courage of their convictions it would be done.

Obama is a liar.

Posted by: eric at May 21, 2009 2:41 PM
Comment #281853

eric-

Gitmo was used, not so that we could torture, but so that ACLU/liberal Lawyers couldn’t get them out and released into the population of the US.

Oh, I see. And if the ACLU/liberal lawyers had mustaches, by your argument, they would be twirling them, right?

Why don’t I suggest that the reason why the terrorists were sent to Gitmo was to create a new generation of further radicalized footsoldiers for Bin Laden, motivated by the documented maltreatment that went on there?

Oh, that’s right. Because there isn’t an ounce of evidence to prove that this is the actual intention of the Bush Lawyers, just the corrosive, partisan rhetoric of somebody making a melodramatic point this way because my previous melodrama lost its freshness.

Most Democrats want the real terrorists put away. We don’t want to fumble around in the darkness of that legal black hole in Guantanamo any longer, though.

Finally, it’s not disingenuous to blame Republicans for blocking this, since they decided to a man to support this. But then, I’m not blaming them alone. What was my link text?

This was a bipartisan display of cowardice.

As for Obama being a liar, he’s doing what he said he would do. The problem is, many people thought he wouldn’t go through with his campaign promises! People find this politician doing as he said he would do, and it’s like the dog catching the car: they don’t know what to do!

Well, aside from prevent him from going any further. But I guess there are going to be a lot of Democrats who get asked uncomfortable questions this primaries.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 21, 2009 4:45 PM
Comment #281854

I am in general agreement with Stephen D.’s opening paragraph. GITMO is a blight upon American ideals and standards of due process and rule of law.

There are no easy solutions to the GITMO detainees. However, there is a practical solution most Americans can get behind, and that is to deport them to their countries of origin. If they become combatants, they will be treated as the enemy on the field of battle.

If they are to become POW’s, our military has the obligation of recording and detailing the facts in support of their POW status so that their disposition can be handled through Geneva Convention sanctioned due process.

Bush made a mess of this. Let’s resolve the status of current detainees by deporting them where conviction cannot be obtained, and trying those whose convictions can be obtained, for war crimes or crimes against humanity. Let’s return to American ideals and standards of due process and rule of law.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 21, 2009 5:40 PM
Comment #281856

First off these were ununiformed combatants so the Geneva convention does not apply to them. As far as congress IMO they did the right thing for a change. Bypartisan to.

Posted by: KAP at May 21, 2009 5:54 PM
Comment #281859

KAP,

You are incorrect that the Geneva Convention does not apply to the detainees. In a 5-3 decision, the US Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006) ruled that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions appled to detainees held by the US at Guantanamo.

In addition, in the case of Boumediene v. Bush (2008), the US Supreme Court ruled that basic US Constitutional protections applied to the detainees. Specifically that the writ of habeas corpus was available to those detainees contesting an unlawful detention by the US government.

Posted by: Rich at May 21, 2009 7:18 PM
Comment #281861

Rich
Your right about article 3. They should be treated humanily. But as far as them being held in prison inside the U.S., absolutly not. If you liberals want them maybe, they can be guest in your homes, but not mine.

Posted by: KAP at May 21, 2009 8:41 PM
Comment #281867

stephen

whats wrong with gitmo? so long as they are clothed, and fed, why do they need to be on US soil? if they are brought into the US they will have to be isolated from the general population for thier own saftey as well as to keep them from recruiting more followers like those morons in new york. this IMO is more of a problem then a solution.

what do we do with the ones no one will take? you’re sure not going to release them in my neighborhood. nope. they can stay there at gitmo.

Posted by: dbs at May 21, 2009 10:20 PM
Comment #281868

eric

“If democrats wanted this or had the courage of their convictions it would be done.”

AMEN BROTHER! IMO nothing but more political grandstanding.

Posted by: dbs at May 21, 2009 10:25 PM
Comment #281871

Kap,

To allay your fears about those superior beings being placed in American prisons:

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion/luckovich/index.html?cxntlid=nav_mtr_opn_lckvch

Posted by: Marysdude at May 21, 2009 10:39 PM
Comment #281873

Maybe a big hurricane will hit Guantanmo and all these guys can be washed out to sea.

Of course, this is not supposed to be a big hurricane season. Al Gore was misleading us when he implied global warming was causing bad hurricanes.

BTW - U.S. CO2 emissions dropped greatly in 2008. Sorry that it happened BEFORE Obama’s laws came into affect, so we cannot give them credit.

BTW 2 - our reputation suffers? Among Arab radicals? Come on. In those countries torture is routine. You can get worse than we gave those guys in Guantanamo for a minor traffic infraction. They play the outrage game very well, but it is really only a game for them. If it wasn’t this, it would be something else. Osama bin Laden is still mad about the expulsion of the moors from Spain in 1492 and he attacked us during the “peaceful” time before our supposed outrages.

I agree with you that they are criminal scum. The problem is that we could not convict them with American rules of evidence because they were captured overseas. It is like a mafia prosecution on steriods. The rules really don’t work. Our system works for civilized citizens of our own country.

Everybody knows this. This is why the Democrats blocked closure. You cannot blame this on Bush or the Republicans. Democrats can be sensible too. They had fun blaming Republicans, but they have no intention of doing anything differently. Let’s just pray for that hurricane and hope somebody gets it on film. I would pay to watch KSM go under.

Posted by: Christine at May 21, 2009 11:10 PM
Comment #281874

Christine
We do not know for certain that all the detainies are
‘criminal scum” until they have trials, period. Do not be surprised if some are found not guilty. Its quite likely some were just in the wrong place at the wrong time like that stupid kid from Marin,now doing 20 years for aiding the Taliban. Yes he was with the Taliban. He joined them before 9/11. The Taliban had been refered to as “Freedom Fighters” by no less than Ronald Reagan.
I do not recall BHO or the Dems asking for credit for the small drop in CO2 emmisions.You are free to try and connect some partisan spin on it if you want, I suppose, but that is specious at best. I think it is a credit to the WHOLE country. We have much furthur to go and some real changes in energy use are needed and being put forward by this administration.


SD
BHO is doing exactly the right thing. What the right is incapable of understanding is that a basic tenent of liberalism is the “rule of law”, not the whim of a few powerful individuals and not fear. Unfortunatly at some point in the future the terrorist are likely to mount a sucessful attack on US soil. I wonder if that is the comeback strategy for the Dick Cheney’s Republican Party, use the deaths of Americans and fear to win back support. How repugnant.
I have to admit that if Liz Cheney continues to be involved in public policy debate we have a formiddble advesery. I love the irony of the Reps having a Black chairman and a lesbian spokeswoman. Simply amazing.

Posted by: bills at May 22, 2009 12:24 AM
Comment #281876

I think that out of around 550 only about 14% were considered to be sure-fire baddies. That’s what…about seventy-five or eighty prisoners??? That seems like a lot seventy-five or eighty truly criminal people of powerful persuasion being detained, or in some cases turned loose on technicalities…damn, I hate the thoughts of it.

But, do you know what I hate the thoughts of even more than that? About 86% of the 550 or so are not considered to be sure-fire baddies…I wonder, Christine, if you were one of the over 450 who are either normal combatants, innocent by-standers or gullible fools, would you be so blasé about Guantanamo?

Posted by: Marysdude at May 22, 2009 5:34 AM
Comment #281877

dude
Normal prisoners of war would still be in a POW camp. Would you want those sure fired baddies next door to you?

Posted by: KAP at May 22, 2009 6:01 AM
Comment #281881

KAP,

One of our founding principles has to do with it being better for a guilty to go free than for an innocent to suffer needless punishment. Personally I think that’s a good thing…apparently you don’t believe it to be. Can you enumerate the other things about the American way you don’t agree with?

Posted by: Marysdude at May 22, 2009 9:04 AM
Comment #281882

PS:

Normal prisoners of war would have, been exchanged a long time ago. The only ones that would have been held this long would be the true baddies. I know that fear mongers will say all these guys were baddies, or else we would not have jailed them in the first place…but, you and I both know that is not so. Are we so klutzy that we cannot, after all these years separate the wheat from the chafe? We pretend to be superior, and can’t figure out who our enemies are, so we treat everyone who is different as an enemy?

Posted by: Marysdude at May 22, 2009 9:11 AM
Comment #281883

PPS:

As for the true baddies…do you think the information gleaned from the 183rd water-boarding was more…or less accurate and usable, than that gleaned from the 1st, 10th or 100th?

Doonsbury had it right this morning. We use a method invented by those who sought not the truth, but lies from their captives…then we expect to get to the truth? Are we idiots?

Posted by: Marysdude at May 22, 2009 9:17 AM
Comment #281884

One question that still needs to be answered are the Uyghur people who are currently being held at Guantanamo. These people’s homeland is currently being occupied by China and these men were facing persecution in China for speaking out against the PRC. Luckily, they escaped across the border; unluckily, across the border was Afghanistan. Because they were foreigners, they were quickly caught up by the bounty hunters and put into US custody. All of them have been deemed to not be affiliated with any anti-American group, nevertheless only a few have been released to Albania, the rest are in limbo because they will surely be persecuted if returned to China.

Posted by: Warren P at May 22, 2009 9:40 AM
Comment #281885

KAP-
They broke American law. Why not rot in American prisons? Are they really so fearsome, that we would shudder at the thought of their trial here?

You guys have built up such a mythology around these people, around the risk they pose to us, that you’re actually afraid to put them in an American Prison for fear of their retaliation.

It’s a sorry state for Americans to be in.

dbs-
If Republicans had the courage of their convictions, they would call what they do torture, and they would take those methods beyond the deceptive, cowardly Nazi/Soviet “Enhanced” interrogation methods. Because really, if torture is supposed to be such a great method of interrogation, why stop with simply making them suffer. As long as we’re engaging in illegal, immoral behavior that violates international norms, why not be total thugs and have done with this insipid dance of euphemisms. After all the whole issue is how far we would go for our country. Why not go all the way? It’s not like we have principles or morals that we’re unwilling to sacrifice in order to feel safe.

Christine-
From National Geographic:

But a new study in the journal Nature found that hurricanes and typhoons have become stronger and longer-lasting over the past 30 years. These upswings correlate with a rise in sea surface temperatures.

The duration and strength of hurricanes have increased by about 50 percent over the last three decades, according to study author Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

We can talk about falsity, much less lies when folks end up being shown to be wrong, and not before.

Now I sat in on a lecture by a guy from a Weather forecasting company, whose area of expertise was Tropical Weather, and he said that one of the primary reasons why the season was forecast to be weaker than usual was the likelihood of an El Nino event. Climate cycles have a way of interlocking, and El Nino events have a way of creating windshear in the West African breeding grounds of the big storms.

However, keep something in mind: Hurricanes feed off of warmth in water, and if global temperatures rise, there’s likely to be a greater area in our oceans that can support these storms, giving them a greater chance to grow and organize.

In general, the effect of Global Warming will be to increase the extremes of hot and cold, as well as the extremes of rain and its absence. Those are effects which have been observed.

This is the thing that makes Global Warming a consensus theory in climate circles: it keeps on getting predictions right. If you really wanted to know whether politics was the determining factor, you should watch for times when a theory does not have solid evidence supporting it.

As for our reputation suffering? Maybe you think it would suffer among more than just those people, but you would be wrong. America’s torture and human rights abuses have been a gut punch to our many supporters, especially those who are the moderates, the advocates for America’s policies among their countries. We’ve made it harder to justify America’s actions in precisely those places where we need populations rising up in our defense.

As for our system only working for civilized citizens? Step back a moment: is it really our civilized citizens that end up in prison?

As for blaming Bush or the Republicans, let me ask you: did they not create this situation, leave this mess of a legal black hole for the next administration to clean up? Did the Republican not just vote in total unison to block funding? I can, and I will blame them for this mess, and I’ll blame, today, those Democrats who have voted with them.

Maybe KSM deserves to drown in a Hurricane, but since we Waterboarded him a hundred and eighty times, it might not be as distressing to him as it once was. Me? I would love to see him die in prison, an old useless fart who never got the chance to martyr himself or be made a martyr.

I think the worst fate for al-Qaeda would be for it to be so thoroughly broken up and its ideology so unpopular and unwanted that its members have only memories of distant glory, and useless old age in front of them. These are people who see themselves as part of a cosmic war, and the worst thing in the world for these people would be their reduction to being simple mortals untouched by divine favor.

Torture lets them peddle their cause, lets their people who get caught clam up knowing they’re doing God’s work. When they find us to be good people who do good things, who don’t use those methods, they don’t know what to do.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 22, 2009 9:48 AM
Comment #281886

stephen

“After all the whole issue is how far we would go for our country. Why not go all the way? It’s not like we have principles or morals that we’re unwilling to sacrifice in order to feel safe.”

so what you’re in essence saying is” the bottom line is morals, and if that means the destruction of our country and way of life, so be it, because our world image is more important than our own survival” is that it? yes we have principles, yes as a rule we should treat people humanely. principles are thier to guide us stephen, but they’re not a death pact.

Posted by: dbs at May 22, 2009 11:25 AM
Comment #281890

dbs,

“yes we have principles, yes as a rule we should treat people humanely. principles are thier to guide us stephen, but they’re not a death pact.”

How exactly is giving these guys their day in court a “death pact”?
How is living up to the principals this country was founded on a “death pact”?
We either believe in “Liberty and Justice for all” or we don’t.

So…, just how many of those interned at Gitmo actually have committed crimes against America?
We put Noriega on trial here in the US for crimes against America, why are we sooo afraid of these guys?
We need to give these guys their day in court. We need to send the innocent home and put the “true” bad guys in prison for their crimes.

Anything less is un-American, and is truly against all that we supposedly stand for.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 22, 2009 1:58 PM
Comment #281891

>so what you’re in essence saying is” the bottom line is morals, and if that means the destruction of our country and way of life, so be it…


I guess this means our country, by its very nature and at its inception is and was immoral? If we move forward from this point in dishonor, will that satisfy the insatiable need of declared superiority? Will we be able then to declare, “WE WON”!???

Posted by: Marysdude at May 22, 2009 2:25 PM
Comment #281892

Oh, and BTW,

Yesterday Michael Savage said that the ACLU wants to have the Gitmoites shipped to America so that they can be released into our population.

Surely you don’t believe that.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 22, 2009 2:26 PM
Comment #281893

A great cartoon about this debate at Salon;

http://www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2009/05/19/tomo/

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 22, 2009 2:52 PM
Comment #281894

S.D.
If the detainees were on U.S. soil they broke U.S. laws, but if they were not they did not brake U.S. laws. So why should I or anyone else support them while they rot in our prisons. Gitmo is a fine place for them, besides no one else wants them except maybe France. Maybe we should just send them there.
Dude
Normal POW’s would still be in POW camps unless traded for our own captives, but the problem here is the terrorist don’t have POW camps they kill their captives.

Posted by: KAP at May 22, 2009 4:18 PM
Comment #281895

KAP,

“So why should I or anyone else support them while they rot in our prisons.”

You’re supporting them now, so what’s the difference?

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 22, 2009 5:10 PM
Comment #281899

Rocky
Right now it is temporary, if they come here to rot it’s permanent.

Posted by: KAP at May 22, 2009 5:38 PM
Comment #281904

Kap,,

So what you’re saying is that even if there are guys being detained that aren’t guilty of anything but being in the wrong place at the wrong time, you aren’t the least bit interested in their plight, and what’s more some of these people have been incarcerated for what, 6 years, with no end in sight.
You seem so willing to pay for their imprisonment, but not willing to see justice done because you don’t want to pay for it?

That doesn’t make any sense.

What are you afraid of?

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 22, 2009 6:38 PM
Comment #281905

Rocky
The Geneva convention says that POW’s can be held until the hostilities cease. If there are innocent among the POWs then they will be releaced, the rest will be tried and sentenced to what ever a military tribunal demes fair. If you and every other liberal want these guys in your back yards fine you pay for them being here for me I’ll let our military handle them at Gitmo the cost is far less then in a federal prison.

Posted by: KAP at May 22, 2009 7:00 PM
Comment #281911

KAP,

Thanks to a lame decision by our previous leaders these guys aren’t being held as POWs, and even if they were, when exactly do think the “hostilities” will cease?
I can only assume from your comments that you don’t care.
We are in, yet again, an undeclared war as we can only declare war on countries.
The aforementioned leaders declared “war” on criminals and took them into custody yet made no allowances to try them as the criminals they are.

Where exactly in our Constitution does it say that one must be an American citizen to have your day in court if you are being held in American custody?
Noriega was arrested and tried in an American court for crimes against America not committed on American soil. There is precedent.

Calling me a liberal doesn’t make me one, though I don’t need to be a liberal to recognize that the conservatives in this country seem to have no care at all for justice or liberty, or the Constitution, and holding these criminals indefinitely, without redress, violates every concept of justice and liberty that every American, liberal or conservative should hold dear.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 22, 2009 7:33 PM
Comment #281912

Rocky
I was in one of those undeclared wars. Like I said once before the Democrats hold all the aces now it’s time for them to put up or shut up. I do care about liberty and justice and the constitution but when my liberty is infringed upon by a liberal or some far right crackpot there is no justice or liberty. You call waterboarding torture but yet you call abortion Choice, where then is the justice and liberty for that child or the constitution, where is the due process for him or her? Those at Gitmo will be tried by a tribunal but that is up to our government which DEMOCRATS DO CONTROL now.

Posted by: KAP at May 22, 2009 8:06 PM
Comment #281914

KAP,

“You call waterboarding torture but yet you call abortion Choice….”

You don’t know what my feelings are about abortion yet make assumptions based on facts not in evidence.

Why is everything black or white with you guys?

“I do care about liberty and justice and the constitution but when my liberty is infringed upon by a liberal or some far right crackpot there is no justice or liberty.”

Nice dance.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 22, 2009 8:24 PM
Comment #281915

BTW,

As Stephen wrote in his article, this was a bi-partisan display of cowardice. It wasn’t just Democrats that voted this down.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 22, 2009 8:58 PM
Comment #281916

Rocky
No I don’t know what your views are on abortion. Yet you can accuse me of being against liberty, justice and the constitution when I prefer not to have detainees at Gitmo tried here in the U.S. I’d prefer they be tried where they are, and so would a lot of others. Does that make me unsensitive to justice, or liberty or villate the constitution? Why is everything peaches and cream with you guys?

Posted by: KAP at May 22, 2009 8:59 PM
Comment #281917

“Thanks to a lame decision by our previous leaders these guys aren’t being held as POWs,..”

The crux of the problem! The efforts of the Bush administration to evade the strictures of the Geneva Convention and the US Constitution have resulted in a legal and practical nightmare.

The US Supreme Court has ruled that the detainees are entitled to protections of the Geneva Convention and basic US Constitutional due process rights (habeas corpus). Holding them outside the territory of the US does not immunize them from such rights while in custody and control of the US. Their rights under US law are no different than if they were being held in a prison in Washington, D.C.

As a consequence, they must now be given a trial with sufficient due process protections to pass muster before the Supreme Court or be released. Unfortunately, some of the worst detainees have been tortured, poisoning the evidence available to convict them. In other cases, conviction is uncertain due to a lack of evidence.

The real issue, therefore is what to do with those detainees that are clearly al-Qaeda but for whom criminal conviction is not feasible. Obama has suggested some form of protective detention. That has been a successful approach used with the dangerous criminally insane who have served their criminal sentences but remain dangerous.

Inevitably, it will boil down to releasing the vast majority of the remaining 245 detainees; trying a small number for whom criminal conviction is possible and holding another small group with provable ties to al-Qaeda in protective custody.


Posted by: Rich at May 22, 2009 9:03 PM
Comment #281918

BillS

I was just agreeing with Stephen re the criminal scum thing. Take it up with him.

Re the drop in CO2 – I think it is very amusing that CO2 emission dropped three year during Bush and never during Clinton/Gore. I also find it amusing that CO2 emission rose slower in the U.S. under Bush than they did in Europe at the same time.

My purpose is not to give credit to Bush, but rather to show that all the hot-air talk we hear really doesn’t make much difference. And you know if this big reduction had happened next year, Obama would have gotten credit. Many things in the “eco” (ecology, economy) just happen w/o and maybe in spite of politics.

Stephen

I read a lot about these flawed studies. They talk about measured hurricanes. In the old days they couldn’t measure hurricanes until they hit land, and then not so much. Hurricane Katrina, for example was only a category 3 when it hit land. It was a category 5 out to sea. Before a few years ago, we could not measure that and so it would not be included.

Most of the studies also show the total cost of hurricanes with NO adjustment for inflation or population. If a hurricane hits an unpopulated beach in 1900, it costs almost nothing. If it hits that same beach, now Miami Beach, for example today, it costs a lot.

Global warming can in theory cause greater storms or also in theory cause milder storms, since warming would make the differences in temperatures, which drive wind, less acute. Up to now we don’t know because we have no evidence either way. It is unscientific to use data so flawed to prove anything.

BTW – I believe in global warming. I think we have to tax the crap out of carbon. I don’t think the Dems will go for it. So far, they have talked better but done not much.

As an environmentalist myself, I am afraid that the overselling of global warming will cause a backlash. Liberals will abandon the cause when it starts costing money or “impacting the poor”. They were all for the cause when it was Bush’s fault. Now that Obama is responsible, the tune will change - to the harm of the environment.

Re reputation - I don’t think we should use torture often and never as punishment or reprisal. But it is really funny to get lectures from Arabs, Chinese etc about it. We should sometimes consider their points of reference. And remember that we cannot send some of the lesser detainees home to these places because they would be tortured or killed. These are places where a guy will kill his sister for having a Facebook relationship … and get away with it. The terrorist Sodomize recruits and then threaten to shame them if they leave the organization. Not much can really shock them. So much for this compassion thing, when they are safer in Guantanamo.

I take your argument that we are above that kind of thing. I think we would agree on 99% of the cases. But I don’t accept the idea that our treatment of the detainees so outrages Muslim opinion that they join the Jihad to kill mostly other Muslims in their home countries. It is just a convenient ploy, a talking point.

Let me ask you. You know that terrorists in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan has beheaded Americans and tortured American servicemen to death. I am sure that this outrages you as much as it does me. BUT does it make you want to kill civilians in those countries? Not me. Do you think peaceful Muslims are any less reasonable and ethical than you and I?

Posted by: Christine at May 22, 2009 9:31 PM
Comment #281919

KAP,

“Yet you can accuse me of being against liberty, justice and the constitution when I prefer not to have detainees at Gitmo tried here in the U.S.”

I didn’t accuse you personally, of anything. Go back and read again what I wrote;

“I don’t need to be a liberal to recognize that the conservatives in this country seem to have no care at all for justice or liberty, or the Constitution….”

Those are my exact words.

However, your comments;

“So why should I or anyone else support them while they rot in our prisons.”

And,

“If you and every other liberal want these guys in your back yards fine you pay for them being here for me I’ll let our military handle them at Gitmo the cost is far less then in a federal prison.”

These statements don’t seem to be a cry for justice and liberty.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 22, 2009 9:51 PM
Comment #281924

Rocky Marks,

Good link…thanks. It was funny…but, maybe not funny, ha ha…maybe funny in a kinda sad way. Truth is often that way.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 22, 2009 10:41 PM
Comment #281934

dbs-
I believe that we should see whether our government can improve on its peformance of using its current powers, whether it can avoid its former errors, before we start handing those who failed to protect us new powers.

I believe that the constitution is not a suicide pact, but neither is it merely a luxury of peaceful times. In fact, it is fairly arguable that we need our constitutional protections most when government is most forcefully trying to wedge itself into our lives.

Do we not need the right to protest more in time where the subject of their protest matters more? Do we not need a functioning press more when our governments lies and mistakes stand a greater chance of getting American’s killed? Do we not need constitutional protections for people more when cops, prosecutors and others might be at their most zealous to find the culprits?

We need these freedoms, ironically enough, when its the most galling, most uncomfortable time for those rights to moderate government’s power.

If a Terrorist will not be tortured, we can trust that we won’t be, as a suspect in a crime. If a terrorist will see their day in court, we can trust that we would, if we were indicted of a crime.

If a Terrorist is given rights that we don’t think they deserve, they’re there for everybody. And if we can still win the fight, having given them their rights, has our order not triumphed over their chaos?

If we put them in prisons without indulging in the fear that they might break out and kill everybody with their superpowers, then we win.

There’s more at stake in this battle than simply our lives. Our WAY of life is at issue here. And our way of life depends in part on the freedoms and rights we enjoy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 23, 2009 12:25 AM
Comment #281940

Christine-
The study I linked to looked at the lifetime and strength of the hurricanes over the last thirty years before it. These are not subjective measures, but objective. By the way, the uncertainty about measurements can work both ways. Hurricane Andrew, in the early nineties, was long considered a category four, but in fact came ashore a category five.

But categories don’t tell you the whole story. I went through Hurricane Ike last year. That thing had a run up all the way from the tropics off West Africa. It was a Category 4 before it hit Cuba- twice. And though it only hit as a Category two, it had such width that for purposes of the storm surge and it’s landfall, it was one of the worst storms of all time.

The effect of heat is not necessarily to make a Katrina every month, or to have every Hurricane season behave like that awful 2005 season, though it certainly doesn’t help. It’s something else, something worse, really.

To understand this effect, consider how rain comes: warmer air takes up water until it can’t take up anymore. Colder air forces this to condense out. Well, if the air gets warmer, it’s capacity for water becomes greater, but it also becomes more difficult to get it to give up that water. Result? Drought, when the condensation doesn’t happen, torrential downpours when it does, and less of the moderate stuff inbetween.

Wind is only one part, but I don’t think we’ll necessarily see the diminishment of winds, or the pressure inequality that drives it. This is not an new prediction, it’s something that’s been the theory and the observation since at least ten years ago. I know because I read a book copyrighted from 1998 that said pretty much the same things.

But of course, you got plenty of the people on your side of the spectrum, who basically come out and contradict results with some kind of rhetoric every time somebody comes along and starts talking about climate modelling. They don’t offer alternative explanations, or papers that can past peer-review muster, they just raise questions, especially questions long answered before (which non-professionals might not realize)

I don’t think it can be oversold. But I think we need more than voluntary requests that people can just ignore. As for what you previously said about emissions dropping, I think the best explanation is the collapse of our economy and the sky-high gas prices that preceded it. People didn’t cut back because they wanted to, they cut back because they had to.

I think taxes are alright, but I think we should take the cap and trade approach, which will use market forces to encourage greater efficiency, which we also encourage through elevated MPG requirements. I think the best course encourages choice, but also mandates efficiencies to make those choices easier. Raise gas prices, but give people an affordable option for dealing with them.

As for reputation, here’s the thing: there are moderates where these people come from, people who either have to explain what we do wrong, or get to cheer as we do something right. With the Bush administration, people had a lot they had to justify on our behalf, and some incidents, like Abu Ghraib, were simply too much to deal with, and may have turned many previously admiring folks into critics and enemies of our country.

It is not a bad thing to have the popular support of people in other countries, even countries that oppose us. It reduces the pool of possible recruits, it eases the course of reforms that we back, it gives us the moral voice to oppose the kind of barbarous behavior you oppose. Otherwise, we’re compromised, in more ways than one.

The thing you should consider is that folks in those countries won’t necessarily think that those detained under Bush’s Administration were guilty. They also will look at these people, as in the Abu Ghraib photos, and see folks just like them, whether or not they’re terrorists. I think the equivalent photos, with whites, blacks and hispanics put in their place would shock and outrage us, regardless of whether they were guilty of crimes.

But I think there’s another point I should make here: what justifies a person becoming a terrorist is that they begin to believe that the overall system is corrupt, and that simply trusting the system to correct for that will get nowhere. When we close Gitmo, that will be a significant signal that Americans have weathered the dark night of their soul, and have returned to reason.

Gitmo itself is a product of an administration that felt that somehow it would be more free if it didn’t have to abide by America’s traditional norms. Instead, it made us less free. We couldn’t cycle the people against whom we had good evidence into the system, the military tribunals were hopelessly flawed, and the enhanced interrogation techniques were anything but enhanced in theit ability to get good information. And if that wasn’t enough, Abu Ghraib comes and makes Americans look as bad to the people were were trying to reach out to as the torturers we replaced.

Gitmo has been a strategic defeat for us, a setback, and to cling to that setback is foolish.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 23, 2009 9:20 AM
Comment #281980

stephen

“I believe that the constitution is not a suicide pact, but neither is it merely a luxury of peaceful times. In fact, it is fairly arguable that we need our constitutional protections most when government is most forcefully trying to wedge itself into our lives.”


i agree with your statement the difference is that i see no improvement from the left, just different violations.

“If a Terrorist will not be tortured, we can trust that we won’t be, as a suspect in a crime. If a terrorist will see their day in court, we can trust that we would, if we were indicted of a crime.”

it is at this point in your reply that i start to seriously disagree.

“There’s more at stake in this battle than simply our lives. Our WAY of life is at issue here.”

IMHO that is the most crucial thing at stake here, and we must stop those who would try to destroy it with any means available. i learned a long time ago there really is no such thing as a fair fight. only a winner, and a loser.


Posted by: dbs at May 24, 2009 8:23 PM
Comment #281991

There’s a difference between a claimed violation of the constitution, and an actual one, under the current jurisprudence. Republicans often make the claim, but do so according to non-binding partisan standards, that while perhaps reflective of sincere belief, do not necessarily reflect they courts opinion, and therefore genuine unconstitutionality.

The Bush Administration, in contrast, was slapped down multiple times on its behavior, especially in their claims about how Terrorists could be treated and tried. So we can talk about many of the methods the Bush Administration used, and which Republicans still advocate, as being literally unconstitutional, not merely in the eyes of fervent Democrats.

As for making the fight unfair? Oh, I’m all for that. That’s my philosophy on war: you don’t win by competing for body counts. You win by make it easier for you to get what you want in the war, and harder for the enemy to get what they want.

That simple. Torture and other methods might be seen as contributing to this, but really, the tactics of the Bush Administration ended up being more advantageous for the enemy, than for us.

When a method of interrogation is unreliable, it produces information that wastes lives, manpower, and resources. That is not a strategic advantage, that’s a disadvantage. It doesn’t matter how much a tactic makes you feel tough, or how much pain it causes to the enemy; if it’s results are counterproductive, it’s still a win for the other side.

Al-Qaeda wants to force us to confront them on their level. Put another way, to the extent that anybody can benefit from being a violent force willing to do anything, al-Qaeda benefits from that. We don’t. We’re a civilized country held to a different standard. We lose when we drop the practices that make us better than them, a force for order. We show strength when we show restraint in our tactics. We defeat the aim of terrorism, which is often to prompt panic, and stampede civilized governments into going to the dark side.

It’s that typical argument: when we go to the dark side, they say we’re showing our true colors. And if we get extreme enough, others will star to think they might be right. That’s not an advantage for us, but for them.

We got to do more than think ourselves the heroes. We got to make ourselves the heroes in the eyes of the folks in those country. The Iraq War and Abu Ghraib didn’t do much good for us in that direction. We made anti-Americanism easier.

That is one of many strategic decisions the Bush Administration got wrong. It got them wrong because they made their decision in terms of what looked tough, rather than what produced results. There’s a difference between saying that you’re going to use means that will get them by the balls, and actually having them by the balls. If your tough-ass torture actually doesn’t give you a lot of good information, then much of the time, it will serve the enemy’s interests rather than yours. If those methods make you look like villains to the people you’re trying to appeal to, it serves the enemies interests, especially if it raises their recruiting numbers.

Many of the tactics we used before were time tested. Maybe they weren’t harsh enough for hardliners who wanted to poor self-righteous rage on the enemy, but then harsh tactics can be as costly to us as they can be to the enemy. If we fight smarter, instead of simply harder, if we don’t mistake the magnitude of effort for the magnitude of results, we can get better results for less cost on our end.

And that’s a true unfair advantage.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 25, 2009 8:49 AM
Comment #282047

Our ‘way of life’ is governed by our Constitution. If we forsake our Constitution in order to ‘protect’ ourselves from a bunch of thugs, we have given up our ‘way of life’ without a fight. Are we so insecure of the Constitution that we have to shade it from the light of day?

Posted by: Marysdude at May 25, 2009 11:07 PM
Comment #282060

God this still slays me that the most obvious flaw in the right-wing’s stance on this issue.
and we buy into it when we talk about “torturing terrorists” or Terrorists being held in Gitmo.

WHO THE F*&K WAS THE KNOW-IT-ALL THAT DECLARED EACH AND EVERY PERSON DETAINED IN GITMO AS A CONFIRMED TERRORIST??
I WANT TO KNOW JUST HOW THIS HAPPENED, WHEN DID OUR SYSTEM OF JUSTICE GET TOTALLY SUPPLANTED BY SOME OBSURE PERSON OR PERSONS WITH THE POWER OF GOD TO DO THIS??

I understand the right-wing just following in lock-step and being scardiy cats about the “terrorists” in Gitmo
but come-on — those of us on the progressive side should at least stand up for the MOST of the people detained at GITMO — which is WHY we have Habeas Corpus in the first place

JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE ARRESTED (I’M SORRY, KIDNAPPED OR PER RIGHT-WINGESE “DETAINED”) MEANS YOU ARE AUTOMATICALLY GUILTY!!!
WOW!!
GREAT, NOW WE CAN PUT A DENT IN THE BUDGET BY DISMANTELLING OUR ENTIRE JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND JUST GO DIRECTLY FROM ARREST TO “DETENTION” — I.E. PRISON — THERE IS NO NEED FOR THE MESSY TRIAL OR ANY OF THOSE OTHER NICITIES
AFTER ALL, IF YOU CAN’T TRUST THE POLICE TO CATCH THE BAD GUYS, WHO CAN YOU TRUST???

WHAT A JOKE!
These people (and remember 500 have been released by Bush and most of those were found by their own governments to be TOTALLY INNOCENT) have had their LIVES RUINED, perhaps TORTURED, and why?? WHO KNOWS????
Remember Mr. National Security Cheney — these were the “worst of the worst” (this is back in 2003 and on, NOT NOW) — if they were “only holding the worst of the worst” at GITMO, then why did THEY release 500 of the “worst of the worst”????
DO THEY NOT CARE ABOUT AMERICAN SECURITY???
GIVE ME A BREAK!!!
Among this group ARE self-proclaimed terrorists and enemies of the US — no problem — but they STILL must be treated by the rule of law.
THAT IS THE ONLY PROCESS WE HAVE.
OTHERWISE — WHO DETERMINES HOW THEY ARE TREATED, WHO IS GIVEN THE POWER OF GOD, HOW IS IT DECIDED WHO GETS THAT POWER?
SEE THERE ARE ALOT OF PROBLEMS THAT CROP UP WHEN YOU SAY YOU ARE ALL FOR ABANDONING THE “RULE OF LAW”
YOU ARE AUTOMATICALLY HANDING THE REINS OF POWER OVER TO WHOM????
and a few years down the line, when someone else takes over the reins — what’s to say they won’t decide to use it against YOU?? Are you blonde?? straight? right-wing, left-wing??? which group next will be declared an “enemy of the state” and “unworthy of legal protections”???
I love it — the right wing talks about the “slippery slope to destruction” if we allow Gays to Marry, (heaven forbid!!!!!) however it’s okey-dokey to shred the Constitution and leave it wide open to abuse of its own Citizens!! (no slippery slope there???? — GIVE ME A BREAK)

INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY
THE STATE IS REQUIRED TO PROVE GUILT — BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT — THE ACCUSED IS NOT REQUIRED TO PROVE INNOCENCE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

AND YOU ARE RIGHT “THEY” CUT OFF HEADS, AND TORTURE AND MAIME — SO NOW YOU WANT “US” TO BECOME “THEM” AND THEN TRY TO CONVINCE US THAT WOULD BE A “VICTORY”??????

Posted by: Russ at May 26, 2009 11:35 AM
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