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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Presidential Powers, Post 9/11

As I was reading the WaPo's editorial, "Going To Far" I was amazed in the first 3 paragraphs, how much the paper's editorial board seemed to be in agreement with the President and VP on America, Post 9/11. They even had a great quote:

Mr. Cheney is right that complacency is a danger. It's good that the president keeps the terrorist threat uppermost in his mind. And it's fair to ask: If there were an attack tomorrow, would we still be complaining the day after about torture, or secret detentions, or spying on Americans?
But then I figured it out, they wanted to loosen up Ol' Cheney and GW, get them to relax their stance, so it would be easier to kick them in the sack. It's bad enough when you get kicked there, but when it's done with the pointy Italian shoes of misguided and misinformed rhetoric, it's even worse.

For instance, on the issue of enemy combatants, the Post says:

The overreaching began with the administration's refusal to hold hearings, as called for by the Geneva Conventions, to determine whether captured fighters deserved prisoner-of-war status and with its decision to set aside Army procedures for handling prisoners under those conventions.
That would be true, if the detainees were actual members of an Army or Militia associated with a legitimate government. Since they never were uniformed members of the Iraq/Afghan militaries, they aren't protected by that article of the Geneva conventions, and they aren't required to have a trial. (My rant on torture has a link to the page of the convention that applies.)

The convention only requires such hearings when there is doubt as to the status of someone who is captured. The Iraqi Army members, and Afghan Army, when they were captured were treated as POW's. The insurgents aren't, because they don't deserve it.

Another of their issues is with the possible mistreatment of US Soldiers, and other folks captured:

One is the grave harm they've done to U.S. prestige throughout the world and, more specifically, to the United States' ability to demand fair treatment for its soldiers and to urge other nations to respect human rights.

I can almost agree on the human rights end of it. However, lest the Post forget, there are tons of Islamic websites all to happy to show the treatment their "detainees" receive. Normally an execution style shooting as happened a few days ago, or a beheading.

As for prestige and world standing, if those are the true concern of the Post's Editors, shame on them. Protection of the US should be our concern. If we tick off a few of the appologists who have spent decades pampering Hammas and Hezbolla as they murder innocents, who cares!

The fact that much of Europe has decided placating radical islamic murderers, terrorists, and idealogues doesn't make it the correct course for the US.

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Blogger shoprat said...

They want us to be like the Eloi in the recent remake of The Time Machine. "Those who fight them are taken first." I feel the same contempt for these people that the time traveller felt for the Eloi in Wells' book.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Great post. I especially liked this line: "The fact that much of Europe has decided placating radical islamic murderers, terrorists, and idealogues doesn't make it the correct course for the US." Amen!

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Call me when the killing begin (Senatorial that is).

8:27 PM  
Blogger Paula said...


10:58 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I've written and thought quite a bit about the torture issue as well. I don't ascribe to the McCain argument that we can't expect fair treatment for our prisoners unless we abide by the Geneva Convention. Islamic Fundamentalists aren't going to reciprocate just because we play nice.

However, I approach this from an ethical standpoint that just because the other guy is a bully, that doesn't mean we are free to be a bully, as well. As a Christian, I cannot support a policy that advocates or facilitates revenge or violence based on the violence perpetrated by "the other guy."

As for the detentions of enemy combattants, before we went into Afghanistan our Justice Department and the U.N. should have been working together to revise the Geneva Convention so that it covers "stateless" combattants, something perhaps never considered before this era. It is inexcusable that a smart woman like Dr. Rice just shrugs when the question of detainee status comes up. This is a hole in the policy, a bug not a feature.

Personally, I think prisoners should should have POW status. As you probably know, all that means is that they will be held for the duration of the war, which according to the President could go on for all eternity. But at least as POWs, they would be protected fully from torture.

We treat these people as if they were somehow worse than any threat we've ever faced before--worse than the Nazis (who killed tens of millions all across Europe) and worse than the Japanese (also brutal murderers, as well as being the original suicide bombers). Our fear is overwhelming our reason.

One more point I would make, for those that argue that our prisoners have no rights. The Declaration of Independence doesn't say that all Americans are endowed with certain unalienable rights. It says that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

Unalienable. Defined as "Not to be separated, given away, or taken away." Not endowed or stripped away by any human court or President--endowed by the Creator.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Matt, the Genevan Accords do cover mercenaries, just not with the same rights as actual military members. It's in Article IV, I believe.

As for POW status making them immune from torture, you might read the book, POW (McCain should reread it). Those guys had full "pow status" and were tortured. It will also give you a sense of what torture is.

Germany and Japan (or current China) are interesting but incorrect analogies, because you are looking at countries that were a threat. In this case it isn't a specific country, if it were this would be over. Instead it's an ideology, which is much harder to defeat.

7:05 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Thanks Paula :)

7:06 AM  

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