The Enduring Problem of GITMO

 

imageWriting in the Washington Examiner, Byron York suggests that the prosecution of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is likely to rekindle debate over the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. President Obama is apparently embarrassed that he has not been able to close the prison as promised six years ago and — given his penchant for taking questionable executive action over congressional objections — it’s reasonable to expect him to do something about it in the next few years. There’s no way that ends well.

But while it’d be best for Obama not to get his way on this matter, GITMO’s use as a detention facility — and the political maneuvering around it — should not continue past the next presidents’ term. The prison’s location was clearly chosen less for its geographic advantages — members are welcome to correct me if I’ve missed something, but Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia has long struck me as a superior location in almost every regard that way — than for its unique political situation, being situated on the only spot on earth from which the United States military cannot be evicted that is also not subject to US civilian law. It’s humiliating for the United States military to feel it has to hide its prisoners from civilian courts (though I leave it to readers to decide on their own whether this speaks worse about our military or our courts). Comparisons to a gulag are offensive on many levels, but that’s hardly an endorsement of the situation.

Adding to the circus has been our nation’s inability to prosecute the prisoners, even under the relatively easy standards of evidence and proof afforded by the military tribunals set-up nearly a decade ago. Indeed, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s military trial is yet to even start. Unless something changes the situation — which, again, I doubt will be a good thing under President Obama — it’s likely that his detention will span at least three presidencies without resolution.

That’s more than long enough. There is no good reason to hold these prisoners indefinitely: whatever intelligence value they had has long since expired, and most people — self included — argue that it would be wrong to exchange them for American hostages, be they deserters like Sgt. Bergdahl or modern-day Sgt. Yorks. If the remaining prisoners truly are “the worst of the worst” then figuring out how to safely detain, morally interrogate, legally try, and humanely execute those found guilty should be well within our ability, certainly after all this time.

The Republican candidates for president should get in front of the issue so that we can better put it behind us and — hopefully — stop the president from making the matter any worse than it already is. Among their policy proposals, each should present a plan for dealing with the remaining detainees swiftly and figuring out how to deal with any future ones in a way that doesn’t cause a decade-long political fracas both at home and abroad.

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  1. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    TheChuckSteak:

    The war is forever not because of us but because of them. As long as they hold the views they do and these organizations are operating with the intent to do harm to Americans, we have every right to detain them as long as we want.

    No one is contesting that they remain a danger. Moreover, everyone on this thread seems to think they should be executed (though we disagree as to the process).

    TheChuckSteak:

    George Washington detained British soldiers and even beheaded some of them when he couldn’t hold them any longer and had to move on.

    Source please.

    TheChuckSteak:

    We could set up a kangaroo court like the Nuremberg Trials to make ourselves feel good.

    Nuremberg was not a kangaroo court. It’s possible to have a throughly substantive trial even with an obvious outcome and lower standards of evidence than in US Civilian court.

    TheChuckSteak:

    I don’t see how executing someone is better than holding someone where they play soccer and get fatter in Guantanamo.

    I see no reason to have to pay for the trouble of incarcerating them beyond the time it takes to try them in a military court.

    • #31
  2. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    I think Gitmo serves a purpose but broadly speaking I think I agree with you. I think it should be less a permanent hole to put them in and more of a clearing house. Capture, keep for intelligence until its determined they hold no other military value, try them via tribunal, and carry out the sentence. I think the issue there would be what to do with anyone who is not sentenced to execution. However, at that point if they stay at Gitmo, it would at least be after having been tried and sentenced.

    • #32
  3. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    Paul Wilson:The Obama position is to grease ‘em (and bystanders) with drone strikes, which avoids thorny problems like (a) how and where to interrogate them and (b) what to do with them after interrogation.

    Given what we are discussing, one might argue this is a smart plan.

    • #33
  4. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @ArizonaPatriot

    There is a practical reason for keeping Gitmo detainees alive and untried, other than intelligence value.  By keeping open the possibility that such detainees may someday be released, we make it more likely that current unlawful combatants will surrender, which may both (1) save the lives of our troops and (2) help gather important intelligence.

    • #34
  5. J Flei Inactive
    J Flei
    @Solon

    Jamie Lockett:

    I consider perpetual detention immoral. Either execute them for their war crimes or set them free due to lack of evidence for those crimes. A military tribunal would be sufficient to determine their guilt.

    What is the purpose of their perpetual detention? What is gained by their imprisonment versus execution?

    OK, thanks for clarifying.

    lesserson:I think Gitmo serves a purpose but broadly speaking I think I agree with you. I think it should be less a permanent hole to put them in and more of a clearing house. Capture, keep for intelligence until its determined they hold no other military value, try them via tribunal, and carry out the sentence. I think the issue there would be what to do with anyone who is not sentenced to execution. However, at that point if they stay at Gitmo, it would at least be after having been tried and sentenced.

    Sounds so simple.  Let’s do it.

    • #35
  6. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    J Flei:

    Jamie Lockett:

    I consider perpetual detention immoral. Either execute them for their war crimes or set them free due to lack of evidence for those crimes. A military tribunal would be sufficient to determine their guilt.

    What is the purpose of their perpetual detention? What is gained by their imprisonment versus execution?

    OK, thanks for clarifying.

    lesserson:I think Gitmo serves a purpose but broadly speaking I think I agree with you. I think it should be less a permanent hole to put them in and more of a clearing house. Capture, keep for intelligence until its determined they hold no other military value, try them via tribunal, and carry out the sentence. I think the issue there would be what to do with anyone who is not sentenced to execution. However, at that point if they stay at Gitmo, it would at least be after having been tried and sentenced.

    Sounds so simple. Let’s do it.

    Yeah, it does, which makes me think I’m missing something. Other than political BS, what stops us from doing something like that?

    • #36
  7. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Arizona Patriot:Put simply, the judiciary is very poorly situated to second-guess the decisions of military personnel on military matters. The “law enforcement model” does not work in wartime. Police work is centered on apprehending suspects and collecting evidence. Soldiering is centered on killing or capturing enemies, and taking time to collect the sort of evidence that would be needed for a standard criminal conviction is impractical. You don’t call in the CSI team in the aftermath of the Battle of the Bulge.

    Which is why enemy combatants should not be tried in civilian courts, something I don’t argue.

    Arizona Patriot:The real problem, as I see it, is Leftist-minded judges who are fundamentally uncomfortable with the laws of war, especially as applied to unlawful combatants. This is not altogether a bad thing, as judicial discomfort with executive action involving killing or indefinite imprisonment is in principle a good thing. But this makes it even more important for judges to understand the limitations of their authority.

    Then we need to deal with the problem of Leftist judges, not simply try to avoid it.

    Invocation of the war power necessarily changes these rules.  One of the main purposes of executive action in wartime is to kill or capture the enemy.  The Geneva and Hague conventions give protection for lawful combatants who are taken prisoner.  Generally similar rules applied, at least in wars between Western powers, by custom long before these conventions.  These protections do not apply to unlawful combatants, andshould notapply to them, because to hold otherwise is to undermine the very incentive that seeks to make war more civilized.

    I agree, which is why I think they should be quickly tried and executed after they’ve exhausted their intelligence value, while genuine POWs should simply be incarcerated and treated humanely. There’s precedent for that going back to Major Andre.

    • #37
  8. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Arizona Patriot:But good luck getting a Leftist judge to understand this. Thus, we’re left with Gitmo. Don’t blame President Bush, and don’t blame the military.

    Sorry, but I do blame President Bush for this. If he’d shown a little backbone and leadership on the matter, it might have been resolved before he left office.

    • #38
  9. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Arizona Patriot:There is a practical reason for keeping Gitmo detainees alive and untried, other than intelligence value. By keeping open the possibility that such detainees may someday be released, we make it more likely that current unlawful combatants will surrender, which may both (1) save the lives of our troops and (2) help gather important intelligence.

    As a general rule, I’d agree. But in this particular circumstance — given that we’ve reserved the right to use enhanced interrogations and have (rightly, IMHO) precluded the idea of release for many of these prisoners — I think it’s sort of moot.

    • #39
  10. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Arizona Patriot:Put simply, the judiciary is very poorly situated to second-guess the decisions of military personnel on military matters. The “law enforcement model” does not work in wartime. Police work is centered on apprehending suspects and collecting evidence. Soldiering is centered on killing or capturing enemies, and taking time to collect the sort of evidence that would be needed for a standard criminal conviction is impractical. You don’t call in the CSI team in the aftermath of the Battle of the Bulge.

    Which is why enemy combatants should not be tried in civilian courts, something I don’t argue.

    But you argued against Gitmo in principle, and the entire point of putting these cretins in Gitmo was to keep them beyond the reach of Leftist judges in civilian courts.  Also, if I remember correctly, SCOTUS rejected both the original military commission system set up by the Bush administration, and the follow-up system enacted by Congress, as insufficient under the Due Process Clause, without even telling us what an acceptable system would look like.  Plus, unless the law has changed, appeals would be to the DC Circuit, which Obama just packed with Leftists (and for which Harry Reid changed the filibuster rule).

    Arizona Patriot:The real problem, as I see it, is Leftist-minded judges who are fundamentally uncomfortable with the laws of war, especially as applied to unlawful combatants. This is not altogether a bad thing, as judicial discomfort with executive action involving killing or indefinite imprisonment is in principle a good thing. But this makes it even more important for judges to understand the limitations of their authority.

    Then we need to deal with the problem of Leftist judges, not simply try to avoid it.

    I think that we are agreed in principle, but there’s a problem of timing.  How about this:  Let’s agree to close Gitmo as soon as we figure out how to deal with the problem of Leftist judges.  :)  I’d like to hear your thoughts on this problem, though it merits its own post.

    • #40
  11. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Arizona Patriot:

    But you argued against Gitmo in principle, and the entire point of putting these cretins in Gitmo was to keep them beyond the reach of Leftist judges in civilian courts.

    Yes, pre-emptively in a way that, it seems, enraged the judiciary and much of the legal profession (I’m less commenting on the rightness or wrongness in this regard than of the perception and well-poisoning).

    I also think it’s notable that — to my knowledge — all domestic terrorists who have gone through the civilian system were found guilty and incarcerated.

    • #41
  12. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude
    • #42
  13. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    I am just as happy to keep them in a hole forever. They deserve much worse than what they are getting.

    We are not the bad guy in this war. They are as evil as any Nazi’s every were.

    We could set up a kangaroo court like the Nuremberg Trials to make ourselves feel good. The Nazi leadership were heads of a government so maybe it made sense to force this show. But if anyone just executed them without the trials would anyone care? A tribunal where we know the outcome and demand the outcome to be one way is just a bunch of show. 

    I don’t know by what means one determines the intrinsic evil of a person, but if we’re going by outcomes, the Nazis were far, far, far more evil that the men held at Gitmo could ever, in their wildest dreams, hope to be. The numbers of innocents who perished directly at the hands of the Nazis and their accomplices simply dwarfs the numbers killed by all Islamic terrorists combined…and they ought not to be combined, since the terrorists are not all been on the same team. (In fact, those who loathe us are often inclined to loathe each other at least as much, if not more).

    Moreover, the Nuremberg Tribunals were very deliberately and carefully created, under circumstances of extraordinary complexity, to be genuine trials of men who accused of staggering crimes. And yes, people definitely did care whether they were taken out and shot—that was one of the choices consciously and, to my mind,  heroically rejected.

    The accused were held in humane confinement and were allowed visits from family members.  They were not tortured or subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” like water boarding. The accused had defense lawyers of their own choosing with the right of cross-examination of witnesses and access to all the voluminous evidence the Nazi regime had, themselves, rather unwisely compiled. The proceedings were transparent, with civilian witnesses and journalists on-hand. And while most of the defendants were, indeed, found guilty and sentenced to death, others received lighter sentences and three were acquitted. That’s not a show trial.

    http://www.amazon.com/Nuremberg-Trial-Ann-Tusa/dp/1616080213/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427488819&sr=1-1&keywords=nuremberg+trial

    Given how widespread involvement in the Nazi atrocities really was, trials could only be held for the most significant, high-ranking Nazis. Thousands of lower-level perpetrators who actively participated in mass-murder (the blood on their hands equal to and probably far exceeding that of our prisoners at Gitmo) served far less than the 15 years the Gitmo guys have already served, and most got off scott-free.

    If keeping people —any people—imprisoned indefinitely, under circumstances in which they cannot be visited by their families doesn’t strike citizens of the land of the free and home of the brave as morally problematic, the extraordinary cost  (estimated at a million a year per prisoner) should give the fiscal conservatives among us at least some pause?

    I’ve said this before in other threads, but I’ll say it again— To  talk about these men —natives of  the land of dark ages ignorance, not of the likes of Goethe and Beethoven—-as “worse than Nazis” smacks either of a profound ignorance of history or, frankly, of cowardice.  We seem to be petrified of a bunch of human beings who have spent up to fifteen years incarcerated and cut off from any meaningful role in, or even communication with, their former comrades. They are fifteen years older, and their exposure to prolonged trauma will have weakened them (yes it will have—that’s why we don’t want our own soldiers treated this way: It damages people).  These people aren’t worse than Nazis and they aren’t more dangerous than Nazis—they aren’t more dangerous than ISIS, for God’s sake, or for hundred, possibly thousands of others, but these guys are costing us a fortune and the moral high ground. And for what?

    • #43
  14. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Kate Braestrup:I don’t know by what means one determines the intrinsic evil of a person, but if we’re going by outcomes, the Nazis were far, far, far more evil that the men held at Gitmo could ever, in their wildest dreams, hope to be.

    I’d say Jihadists are roughly as evil as the Nazis were. Fortunately, they’re not nearly as good at being evil as the Nazis.

    As this thread needs a mood lightener, I’ll post this again:

    • #44
  15. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @ArizonaPatriot

    KB, I think that the Jihadis are clearly not as competent as the Nazis — thank goodness — but in some ways they are even worse morally.  Nazi Germany, for all its flaws and wickedness, was a genuine nation-state.  For the most part, Nazi Germany followed the laws of war on the American and British fronts.  Millions of German soldiers served with military honor, fighting for their homeland, bearing arms openly and in uniform, following their chain of command, and generally treating POWs from the Western Allies in appropriate fashion.  When defeated, Nazi Germany surrendered and was occupied with little or no insurgency.

    Things were different, and far worse, on the Eastern Front, but remember that the Soviet Union was not a signatory to the Geneva Convention at the time.

    We generally did not subject Nazi POWs to “enhanced interrogation” because they were lawful combatants entitled to protection under the Geneva Convention, unlike the Jihadis.  I don’t think that we had any qualms about interrogating and summarily executing Nazi German soldiers caught out of uniform.

    Regarding the Nuremberg trials, I have a less favorable view than you.  I also believe that evidence was suppressed, and some charges not pursued, to avoid implicating the Soviets for atrocities (such as Katyn).

    • #45
  16. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    Regarding the Nuremberg trials, I have a less favorable view than you.  I also believe that evidence was suppressed, and some charges not pursued, to avoid implicating the Soviets for atrocities (such as Katyn).

    Sure–but the issue of Katyn proves not that the trial was held in bad faith, but that it was held in surprisingly good faith, given the extraordinary difficulties of seeking justice in a court in which the Soviet Union (both a brutal dictatorship in its own right, and the country that suffered most grievously at the hands of the Nazis) had the right to participate.

    Given that we don’t have to accommodate the peculiar priorities of a Communist dictatorship shouldn’t we, today,  be able to do better?

    The Jihadists are as evil as the Nazis—granted—and only quite a lot less competent. Why do we behave as if they were MORE competent?

    • #46
  17. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @ArizonaPatriot

    KB, another difference between the Jihadis in Gitmo and the Nazis at Nuremberg is that by the time of Nuremberg, the war was over.  I understand all of the difficulties of waging a war against a loose coalition of non-state actors, but the fact remains that whatever you call the current conflict against Al-Qaeda and other Jihadis that started in Afghanistan and has ranged to Iraq, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere, it is not over.  As we’ve seen from the “Taliban Five” released last year, the Gitmo Jihadis, if released, could get right back into the fight.

    • #47
  18. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Kate Braestrup:I don’t know by what means one determines the intrinsic evil of a person, but if we’re going by outcomes, the Nazis were far, far, far more evil that the men held at Gitmo could ever, in their wildest dreams, hope to be.

    I think the atrocities committed by ISIS are what the GITMO detainees hoped to accomplish – total terrorization of the Western World (the Civilized World) – if they had not been caught and detained.

    The only difference between ISIS, and the GITMO detainees, is that the Nazis hid their atrocities from the rest of the world.  Islamic terrorists proudly display what they wish to accomplish, and therefore, these GITMO detainees should remain in captivity until 1) radical Islam is defeated once and for all (which will involve a whole lot of killing), or 2) we are defeated, and sufer the same fate as the captives who had their heads sawed off . . .

    I would rather see the GITMO detainees tried, and if convicted, executed.  Sorry, but I feel very strongly about this . . .

    • #48
  19. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    Arizona Patriot:I think that we should put the blame for Gitmo on the judicial branch, not the executive. In prior wars, the judiciary had sufficient restraint to understand that it had little or no authority over the treatment of prisoners of war. Is there anyone who thinks this remains true today? If so, read Hamdan and Boumediene. Then imagine how much worse the situation would be if these unlawful enemy combatants were located inside an actual judicial district of the US.

    Put simply, the judiciary is very poorly situated to second-guess the decisions of military personnel on military matters. The “law enforcement model” does not work in wartime. Police work is centered on apprehending suspects and collecting evidence. Soldiering is centered on killing or capturing enemies, and taking time to collect the sort of evidence that would be needed for a standard criminal conviction is impractical. You don’t call in the CSI team in the aftermath of the Battle of the Bulge.

    The real problem, as I see it, is Leftist-minded judges who are fundamentally uncomfortable with the laws of war, especially as applied to unlawful combatants. This is not altogether a bad thing, as judicial discomfort with executive action involving killing or indefinite imprisonment is in principle a good thing. But this makes it even more important for judges to understand the limitations of their authority.

    Under ordinary peacetime conditions, of course, executive action is sharply constrained by involvement and oversight by the judiciary. The executive cannot kill people, or imprison them for long periods, without obtaining a conviction in court.

    Invocation of the war power necessarily changes these rules. One of the main purposes of executive action in wartime is to kill or capture the enemy. The Geneva and Hague conventions give protection for lawful combatants who are taken prisoner. Generally similar rules applied, at least in wars between Western powers, by custom long before these conventions. These protections do not apply to unlawful combatants, and should not apply to them, because to hold otherwise is to undermine the very incentive that seeks to make war more civilized.

    Bill Whittle wrote an excellent piece almost 10 years ago about how offensive and uncivilized are the actions of these unlawful combatants, because they violate what he called the covenant of Sanctuary:

    And why do soldiers wear uniforms? It certainly is not to protect the soldier. As a matter of fact, a soldier’s uniform is actually a big flashing neon arrow pointing to some kid that says to the enemy, SHOOT ME! And that’s one of the things a uniform is for. It makes the soldier into a target to be killed. Now if that’s all there was to it, you might say that the whole uniform thing is not such a groovy idea. BUT! What a uniform also does — the corollary to the whole idea of a uniformed person is to say that if the individual wearing a uniform is a legitimate target, then the person standing next to him in civilian clothes is not. By wearing uniforms, soldiers differentiate themselves to the enemy. They assume additional risk in order to protect the civilian population. In other words, by identifying themselves as targets with their uniforms, the fighters provide a Sanctuary to the unarmed civilian population. And this Sanctuary is as old as human history. The first civilized people on Earth, these very same Iraqis, who had cities and agriculture and arts and letters when my ancestors were living in caves, wore uniforms as soldiers of Babylon. This is an ancient covenant, and willfully breaking it is unspeakably dishonorable.

    The traditional rule for those who broke the covenant of Sanctuary — pirates, spies, outlaws — was simple. Summary execution. No trial, no lawyer, no judge, no jury, no appeal. Any treatment that these Gitmo prisoners get better than summary execution is a matter of pure discretion, either based on undeserved mercy or — more practically — on a desire to extract useful information from them.

    The laws of war are brutal. Even an honorable enemy soldier acting entirely as he should — bearing arms openly, wearing a uniform, following a legitimate chain of command — can be shot in the back on patrol, blown up at the breakfast table, or have his throat slit as he sleeps in bed. The idea that an unlawful combatant should get better treatment is a betrayal of honorable warriors on both sides of the conflict.

    But good luck getting a Leftist judge to understand this. Thus, we’re left with Gitmo. Don’t blame President Bush, and don’t blame the military.

    For that matter, don’t blame the lawyers. There are lawyers — like me — who make precisely these arguments. It’s the job of the lawyers to vigorously advocate for their side, in the expectation that this will give the actual decision-maker the best information and argument available.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^ Excellent post.

    I fear that the liberal judiciary just finds the whole Gitmo thing . . . icky.

    • #49
  20. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Every sovereign needs an oubliette. Let them rot.

    • #50
  21. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Kate Braestrup:

    The Jihadists are as evil as the Nazis—granted—and only quite a lot less competent. Why do we behave as if they were MORE competent?

    Because even if only a fraction of the population that shares their faith agree with them we’re talking hundreds of millions of people dedicated to the idea that the rest of us should be dead or under their boot. The Nazi’s didn’t have close to that number. Even incompetent ones (and most of their leaders are not uneducated Neanderthals but Western Educated Ideologues) can kill thousands of our own countrymen when they get past that incompetence, and they consistently work for that chance. As it’s been pointed out by others. When these poor souls are released from Gitmo, they don’t find the nearest psychiatrist to work out their issues, they try to rejoin the jihad.  We’re not fighting a people, we’re fighting an idea and ideology.

    • #51
  22. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    I think the atrocities committed by ISIS are what the GITMO detainees hoped to accomplish – total terrorization of the Western World (the Civilized World) – if they had not been caught and detained.

    Of course they wanted total terrorization of the Western World… so why give it to them?

    Why accept their own, inflated view of their accomplishments, and regard disgusting atrocities committed against defenseless people by what are ultimately puny and ignorant men as acts on a par with the greatest crimes, committed during the most widespread and sanguinary war in history?

    I understand all of the difficulties of waging a war against a loose coalition of non-state actors, but the fact remains that whatever you call the current conflict against Al-Qaeda and other Jihadis that started in Afghanistan and has ranged to Iraq, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere, it is not over.  As we’ve seen from the “Taliban Five” released last year, the Gitmo Jihadis, if released, could get right back into the fight.

    So five guys from Gitmo got back in the fight.  Have they knocked down any buildings lately or do they just leap over them in a single bound?

    • #52
  23. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    We’re not fighting a people, we’re fighting an idea and ideology.

    You can’t shoot ideas or ideologies. You can only counter them with better ideas and ideologies.  Among which are “it’s a bad idea to imprison people indefinitely.” ‘it’s a bad idea to torture people.”

    • #53
  24. Devereaux Inactive
    Devereaux
    @Devereaux

    ?Why is this such a burning question. If they had been “tried” and gotten life sentences, the result would have been very similar.

    But it’s the trial. We have to try them. ?Why.

    As has been amply pointed out in this thread, they are enemy combatants. They are insurrectionists. They are NOT a regular army, do NOT fight as an army does, no NOT target opposing military forces, do NOT care who gets hurt nor what the cost. They are only interested in harming us – any way they can.

    It seems to me that again we are dancing to the Left’s music. THEY are the ones pushing for “trial”. THEY are the ones pushing for civilian disposition.

    Kate brings up money. It is always the argument when there is no other argument. I would have to say that when we get to having no other place to save money, then we can start considering the costs.

    ?And what’s our hurry in executing them. We got a lousy deserter for seriously important people. Perhaps in the future we could find a use for these guys as trading material. If they are really so lacking in value that we just HAVE to try them and dispose of them, then we could get something for them.

    OTOH, I think we have made things way too comfortable for them. This is prison, not a vacation camp. No more korans. No more great food. They throw feces at the guards, they go to solitary – even if it takes ALL of them in solitary. And no more lawyers! Don’t care what the “courts” say – they have no jurisdiction here, so they can just keep their opinions to themselves. As Andrew Jackson so pithily put it so many years ago, “They made the decision, now they can carry it out.”

    Time to assert who is in charge. So far for a bunch of “prisoners” they have had things their way far too much.

    • #54
  25. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    I have fond memories of Gitmo. The tropical nights and the rum, the long afternoons training (oh, for another session in the CS gas trailer), the day trips to Vieques to shoot up the gunnery range. Ah, those were the days.

    I hear there’s a jail there too, full of villainous scum. My kind of place.

    Gitmo forever.

    • #55
  26. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Kate Braestrup:

    You can’t shoot ideas or ideologies. You can only counter them with better ideas and ideologies. Among which are “it’s a bad idea to imprison people indefinitely.” ‘it’s a bad idea to torture people.”

    I think it’s a very good idea to imprison barbaric, bloodthirsty, murdering savages indefinitely.  The longer the better.  Throw away the key.

    I’m generally against torture, but I’m willing to make exceptions.  It’s hard to come up with a better exception that the murdering savages who had just taken down the Twin Towers.  I’d be inclined to allow them to get the Marathon Man treatment to their molars, and their kneecaps too.

    Seriously, if we had good reason to believe that terrorists had, say, hidden a nuclear bomb at the Super Bowl, would you oppose the use of torture to get the information necessary to save thousands of lives?  I know that it’s a moral dilemma, and torture should be used extremely sparingly, but I don’t agree with an absolute moral prohibition.  Understand that this is my policy preference — I believe that current US law would prohibit real torture (a la Marathon Man) even in extreme circumstances.  Frankly, that may not be a good law.  As a practical matter, it could be handled by having the appropriate executive personnel (e.g. FBI, Homeland Security) do what is necessary, followed by a Presidential pardon.

    I also don’t think that waterboarding is torture.  John Yoo’s memos are very instructive in this regard.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard that waterboarding is extraordinarily unpleasant, but it does no lasting harm.  Most of the rest of the “enhanced interrogation” techniques aren’t even dangerous if done to a child (like grabbing them by the chin to make them look at you, or pushing them slightly so they fall against a wall).

    I will confess that, in the words of Justice Scalia, I’m getting “older and crankier,” which affects my views on these issues.

    • #56
  27. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Kate Braestrup:You can’t shoot ideas or ideologies. You can only counter them with better ideas and ideologies. Among which are “it’s a bad idea to imprison people indefinitely.” ‘it’s a bad idea to torture people.”

    No, but you can shoot the people who hold ideas that lead them to murder our own. But torturing them until we’ve wrung out every useful secret and then imprisoning them indefinitely is almost as good.

    • #57
  28. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    But it’s the trial. We have to try them. ?Why.

    The forms of justice must apply to the despicable as well as (indeed, more than) to the worthy. If nothing else, a trial  demonstrate to those whose good opinion we enjoy, and wish to continue to enjoy,  that those we have captured, accused and imprisoned are actually deserving of conviction and punishment. That means evidence, lawyers, the right of cross-examination and all the rest of it.

    Otherwise, all we’re saying “they are guilty and evil because we—the victors—say they are.” Stalin, Hitler, Saddam…that’s their line. Not ours.

    We should treat prisoners of war humanely which by definition means we don’t imprison people without trial, indefinitely

    First, because we’re Americans and that’s how we roll

    And second, because we all prefer to live in a world where it is understood that all human beings deserve certain basic protections —including American human beings, not just those living and fighting today, but our sons, daughters, grandsons, grand-daughters.  The fact that the Nazis did not accord those basic protections to their prisoners  did not mean that we wouldn’t extend them to Nazis. If we could extend them to Nazis, we can extend them to Jihadis.

    The Nazis were evil, unjust and consumed by paranoid fantasies about the existential dangers posed by Others (Jews).

    We weren’t.

    The Jihadis are evil, unjust and consumed by paranoid fantasies about the dangers posed by Others (Jews, again, but also the West, America, apostates, Shiites/Sunnis and on and on)

    We…aren’t. Right?

    • #58
  29. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Kate Braestrup:You can’t shoot ideas or ideologies. You can only counter them with better ideas and ideologies. Among which are “it’s a bad idea to imprison people indefinitely.” ‘it’s a bad idea to torture people.”

    I should point out that if you look at the earlier comments I don’t want to keep them indefinitely, I think as unlawful combatants they should be tried by military tribunal after they no longer have any intelligence value.

    If we were talking about “better ideas” among the Western democracies and Republics I would tend to agree with you. However, the idea that “better ideas” will change Islamic fundamentalists’ beliefs I think you’re being absurdly optimistic. Could you influence and change some individuals? Maybe, but the “de-radicalization” programs that some of the Gitmo detainee’s were turned over to haven’t been very successful. Majorities of those released return to the battlefield.

    As to your argument about whether or not those few released have destroyed any buildings or whatnot. I dunno about them, but maybe we should ask the family members of those killed by Nidal Hassan in Texas? Or maybe those people who are stuck under the rule of ISIS if they think they’re dangerous and worth fighting?  We didn’t defeat the Nazi’s with better ideas. We fought them to a standstill and forced them to surrender which included firebombing Dresden. We dropped Atom bombs on the Imperial Japanese. Are those horrible things? Absolutely. Were they necessary? Ultimately, yes. It ended their bad ideas. We can’t even convince the far lefties in America that their ideas aren’t good for people, we’re not going to convince a homicidal death cult that is literally tied to their religious faith that maybe they shouldn’t kill infidels by treating them like the paper tiger they say we are.

    • #59
  30. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    Barfly:

    Kate Braestrup:You can’t shoot ideas or ideologies. You can only counter them with better ideas and ideologies. Among which are “it’s a bad idea to imprison people indefinitely.” ‘it’s a bad idea to torture people.”

    No, but you can shoot the people who hold ideas that lead them to murder our own. But torturing them until we’ve wrung out every useful secret and then imprisoning them indefinitely is almost as good.

    Hey! Barfly! I’ve been trying to get people to talk about the Guaranteed Minimum Income with me—will you do an OP about it please?

    Oh…and according to Lesserson, you’d have to torture and kill hundreds of thousands of people. Or maybe we’d imprison all of them indefinitely at Gitmo— without trial. Of course, then you’re getting into the big bucks, and even Devereaux might object to the cost? But maybe not—isn’t absolute and ultimate safety from even the tiniest threat of a Jihadi attack worth any price?

    • #60
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