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. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    We don’t need to convince the Jihadis that their ideas are crap. The dyed-in-the-wool Nazis went to their graves (whether immediately, or forty years later) completely convinced that their ideas were right. But Germany is not, today, a Nazi nation, and it’s not just because we were bigger and stronger and could force them to do what we wanted them to do. Instead, the U.S. and Britain didn’t just  declare a better ideology, they acted it out.

    That is not to say that we shouldn’t be fighting ISIS —if those who know far more than I do about the military options decide it can be done, I’ll be for giving them the apocalyptic battle they seem so eager for. For that matter, I was and remain quite happy for the U.S. to fight the Taliban, Al Qaeda and anyone else who threatens us or, for that matter, other innocents.

    The difference between us and them can be—and should be—made vivid by how we behave toward the defenseless, including captives.

    The firebombing of Dresden, incidentally, was and remains very controversial. By no means is it settled that killing 1-200,000 bona fide civilians in two hours hastened the end of the war. Himmler, of all people,  asked why, given this act, Allied airmen captured on the ground should be treated as anything other than terrorists and summarily executed?

    • #61
  2. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Kate Braestrup:

    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?

    We don’t have to t/k that many, as long as shooting them is ok too. (It’s not necessary to shoot all of them, of course – most will get the idea quickly.)

    But maybe not—isn’t absolute and ultimate safety from even the tiniest threat of a Jihadi attack worth any price?

    Now Kate, that’s a straw man, even phrased sardonically. I’d rather say the freedom and determination to fight back to defend our own, even overseas beyond our shores, is what’s worth any price.

    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?

    I’ll think about it. Give me an idea for an angle, something to riff on.

    • #62
  3. Devereaux Inactive
    Devereaux
    @Devereaux

    I think Kate, that your history of WWII is a bit rose-coloured. We won because WE WON. We destroyed their army, their air force, their economy, their production – EVERYTHING. THEN we occupied them with martial law – until we felt they could once again be allowed to live on their own. That was quite a long time. Talk to any German who lived through that – they will tell you. There was an American soldier on every corner, or so it seemed.

    Remember also that it was Germans. That’s Gunter with the $4 haircut – a dollar a side. They are highly regimented, accustomed to organization and rule. The Japanese were much the same.

    Jihadis, OTOH, are simply a tribal bunch or crazies. They live a subsistence life, so it isn’t worth much – theirs or others. So they fight. They fight over religion, over women, over “honour”, over rank, over pretty much anything. They are feral.

    You come from a Western Liberal Christian culture POV. Islam had absolutely NOTHING in common with your ideas, concepts, culture, aspirations, etc. We have every good reason to follow our rules and customs – towards our citizens. We have zero obligation to do the same towards these savages. Kill ’em all and let God sort it out.

    • #63
  4. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Kate Braestrup:

    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?

    Thank you Kate. I appreciate the benefit of the doubt that I’m not a psychopath. I actually agree with you that they shouldn’t be held indefinitely without trial. I even agree with you that we should hold ourselves to a higher standard than those in the middle east that want to kill everyone that doesn’t agree with them. What I’m trying to point out is that holding a fraction of non-combatant jihadis doesn’t put us on the same moral plain as Nazis or the adherents of radical Islam, but hey, I just want to torture and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people, right?

    If you’d want to know what I think. Here it is. Water boarding isn’t torture. Loud sounds and sleep deprivation isn’t torture. Embarrassment and using cultural taboos to get information out of illegal combatants who have absolutely no claims to Geneva conventions (who could be summarily executed according to International law with nary a peep from even the French) isn’t torture.  Pulling out fingernails, cutting off genitals, rape, burning in metal cages, burying up to the neck and stoning until dead, throwing off tall buildings, whipping until dead, and sawing off heads is torture. We aren’t them. We don’t even approach an approximation of the barbaric treatment of their prisoners. I’m not saying that war is good or that killing is good. What I am saying is that when fighting an enemy that glorifies suicide and death who’s ultimate goal is to kill or subjugate anyone who doesn’t believe in their ideology, things that we in the civilian world find icky may very well be necessary to destroy an enemy. An honorable officer was eventually drummed out of the Army for firing a round over the shoulder of an insurgent, making him think he was going to be shot, which in turn saved the lives of a team of American soldiers who were about to be ambushed. That man later became Congressman Alan West. He was charged with “Harsh Interrogation Techniques “. We don’t have to become them to fight them, but we do have to do things that make the rest of us squeamish to fight an enemy that doesn’t give a rats rear end about the rules of war. I want that man protecting my brother in theater and not thrown out of the military.

    • #64
  5. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    lesserson:

    Kate Braestrup:

    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?

    Thank you Kate. I appreciate the benefit of the doubt that I’m not a psychopath. I actually agree with you that they shouldn’t be held indefinitely without trial. I even agree with you that we should hold ourselves to a higher standard than those in the middle east that want to kill everyone that doesn’t agree with them. What I’m trying to point out is that holding a fraction of non-combatant jihadis doesn’t put us on the same moral plain as Nazis or the adherents of radical Islam, but hey, I just want to torture and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people, right?

    You personally? No, of course not—is that what I said? I take it back. Besides, I wasn’t comparing us to Nazis (not you, Us) but rather Us today to Us yesterday. And comparing the Jihadis to the Nazis, too, not in terms of their motivation, but rather their efficacy or lack thereof, and the  danger they pose to us, or (relative) lack thereof.

    If you’d want to know what I think. Here it is. Water boarding isn’t torture. Loud sounds and sleep deprivation isn’t torture. Embarrassment and using cultural taboos to get information out of illegal combatants who have absolutely no claims to Geneva conventions (who could be summarily executed according to International law with nary a peep from even the French) isn’t torture. 

    I think water boarding is torture. I would consider it torture if it was done to an American. But we can agree to disagree on that one.

     An honorable officer was eventually drummed out of the Army for firing a round over the shoulder of an insurgent, making him think he was going to be shot, which in turn saved the lives of a team of American soldiers who were about to be ambushed.

    That man later became Congressman Alan West. He was charged with “Harsh Interrogation Techniques “. We don’t have to become them to fight them, but we do have to do things that make the rest of us squeamish to fight an enemy that doesn’t’ give a rats rear end about the rules of war.

    Agreed.

    I want that man protecting my brother in theater and not thrown out of the military.

    Agreed.

    Devereaux, I’m not inclined to rate the orderly, well-coiffed Nazis  higher than feral ISIS, having just finished reading yet another long account of Operation Barbarossa. “Bunch of crazies” pretty much describes it. And the more I read about the Germany of that era, the crazier it gets.

    • #65
  6. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Kate Braestrup:

    lesserson:

    I think water boarding is torture. I would consider it torture if it was done to an American. But we can agree to disagree on that one.

    Yeah, that’s fair, we’ll just have to disagree. Though to be fair it actually is done to Americans. It’s part of the training for Special Forces.

    An honorable officer was eventually drummed out of the Army for firing a round over the shoulder of an insurgent, making him think he was going to be shot, which in turn saved the lives of a team of American soldiers who were about to be ambushed.

    That man later became Congressman Alan West. He was charged with “Harsh Interrogation Techniques “. We don’t have to become them to fight them, but we do have to do things that make the rest of us squeamish to fight an enemy that doesn’t’ give a rats rear end about the rules of war.

    Agreed.

    I want that man protecting my brother in theater and not thrown out of the military.

    Agreed.

    Devereaux, I’m not inclined to rate the orderly, well-coiffed Nazis higher than feral ISIS, having just finished reading yet another long account of Operation Barbarossa. “Bunch of crazies” pretty much describes it. And the more I read about the Germany of that era, the crazier it gets.

    Which book are you reading about Operation Barbarossa?

    • #66
  7. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    At the moment, I’m going back and forth between Lower’s Nazi Empire Building in the Ukraine, which is a big, fat, dense book compared to her Hitler’s Furies; Nazi Women and the Holocaust. Because the role of women in the “colonization” of the east was startling and new to me, I read another, more exhaustive book about that, but I can’t remember the title—probably something like Women In The Nazi East… Richard J. Evan’s trilogy on the Third Reich, and Laurence Rees’ Auschwitz (back and forth because I spend a lot of time in the car, so I listen to audiobooks as well as actually reading them). I just got (and started) John Toland’s The Last 100 Days, which has a lot of interesting detail.

    I tend not to be as gripped by the specifically military stories (of engagements, battles and so on)—I used to be, but I take a professional interest in good and evil, sin and virtue, why bad things happen to good people and why people can believe in such stupid things, and do horrifying things because of it…and I find the richest pickings in the epiphenomena of war. Especially that war.

    The books about women and Naziism ended up feeding into a series of sermons on the theme of “Women Are Not Naturally More Moral Than Men,” for example. But I also take groups of Maine cops to the National Holocaust Museum every year, and keep waiting for it to seem somehow explicable. Not so far.

    • #67
  8. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Kate Braestrup:

    I think water boarding is torture. I would consider it torture if it was done to an American. But we can agree to disagree on that one.

    Kate – Waterboarding is the torture so safe it is done by the US on our own troops to give them the feeling of what it would be like to be tortured. (so it is done on Americans, regularly)

    Like I said on a different thread, waterboarding is so safe, untrained lefties can do it on each other in front of a congressman’s office and not get hurt. Heck they weren’t even arrested. Check out all the times it was done in public without a single arrest – from TIME Magazine.

    If you can do it as a protest, and not be arrested, then it isn’t torture. QED

    • #68
  9. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    Then why does it work?

    • #69
  10. Raw Prawn Member
    Raw Prawn
    @RawPrawn

    What people who think the “detainees” should be tried are not considering is that islamists feel no guilt about their actions: on the contrary, they’re proud of what they’ve done and earnestly wish to be martyrs. In a court, particularly a civilian court, they would offer no defence, rather they would boast and issue threats, grandstand and demonstrate absolute contempt for the procedure and civilization in general. Perhaps they would fling faeces at the judge like they do at their Gitmo guards. (Maybe it would be more deserved.) Meantime, the usual left wing loons would be creating havoc outside the court. CAIR would be churning out propaganda to every idiot in the media; (no shortage of idiots there.) The city where the court is located would be the world’s most popular target for bombings and other atrocities. Hostages would be seized anywhere in the world and threatened with beheading  if the jihadis are not released.

    The trouble with Club Gitmo, with its “culturally appropriate” gourmet meals, soccer games between the five times a day prayers, and deluxe edition Korans, guaranteed unsullied by infidel hands, is that it reinforces their beliefs, that they are right, that we are wrong, and that we fear them.

    When Obama releases them they are welcomed back as heroes.

    I think Club Gitmo should be closed as soon as the “detainees” have been disposed of. I would recommend that their remains be fed to pigs after they’ve been dispatched with a 9mm to the base of the skull. That kind of “cultural sensitivity” might be a disincentive to new recruits.

    • #70
  11. Devereaux Inactive
    Devereaux
    @Devereaux

    Kate Braestrup:Then why does it work?

    It doesn’t – a lot of the time. Indeed, it is the Left who glomed onto this as “torture”. KLM was waterboarded 87 times and was laughing throughout it. He has a physiology that is unaffected by this technique. But it did nothing to break him, nor was he particularly discomfited by it.

    KLM was broken by other techniques, which are not being spoken about for the sake of security.

    • #71
  12. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    What people who think the “detainees” should be tried are not considering is that islamists feel no guilt about their actions: on the contrary, they’re proud of what they’ve done and earnestly wish to be martyrs.

    Again, neither did most of the Nazis tried at Nuremberg (and those tried elsewhere, or not at all). Hans Frank was an exception—sort of. He rediscovered his Catholicism, and apparently believed that the Hans Frank , Tyrant King of the General Government was a whole different person.

    Trials are not a privilege that must be earned, a trial is a human right and—as important perhaps in this context— a trial is an opportunity for societies whose behavior is not rooted in savagery and vendetta to demonstrate our respect for truth and justice (and the American Way).

    The power of our system is demonstrated not by how we treat the innocent, nor the attractive, nor even the contrite.  It is demonstrated by our righteous determination to treat even the ugly and unrepentant with the dignity and humanity they don’t deserve and would not show to us.

    • #72
  13. Devereaux Inactive
    Devereaux
    @Devereaux

    Kate Braestrup:

    Trials are not a privilege that must be earned, a trial is a human right and—as important perhaps in this context— a trial is an opportunity for societies whose behavior is not rooted in savagery and vendetta to demonstrate our respect for truth and justice (and the American Way).

    The power of our system is demonstrated not by how we treat the innocent, nor the attractive, nor even the contrite. It is demonstrated by our righteous determination to treat even the ugly and unrepentant with the dignity and humanity they don’t deserve and would not show to us.

    ?What are you talking about, Kate. All this sounds wonderful until you have to stand opposite the business end of a rifle. Then “trial” and all the rest simply disappear.

    These animals did just that. We didn’t wander through Kabul and collect the unemployed, to send them to Gitmo. We captured those actively fighting us. I suppose we could have simply killed them; there have been fights where no prisoners are taken, regardless of what the enemy desires.

    Real, true insurgencies often have a problem with defining the enemy/insurgent. He operates at an advantage in that he knows who he is and what his goals are. There are political goals, and problems set forth. Government fights those in a variety of ways, but we are always talking within the same society/nation.

    These people have taken a fight to us directly. They have attacked us directly, while having none of the demonstrable trappings of war. This is not their “right”; they have abrogated their rights when they behaved as they did. We aren’t looking at someone who is debating relative positions, as we do here on Rico. We’re looking at people who are trying to kill or main us.

    • #73
  14. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Kate Braestrup:Then why does it work?

    Because it makes you feel as though you are drowning, even though you are not. They water-boarded Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times. They purpose was not to elicit true information, but to get him to start talking – once you have a conversation you look for true information.

    • #74
  15. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Tom Meyer,  regarding the “convenient” geography of Guantanamo Bay, it is not convenient to the battlefields; it is convenient to the activist lawyers in Washington who want to tour the place and hear the complaints of the poor underprivileged inmates.   It is on Eastern Time and makes a nice jaunt from their home in the Dilbert bureaucratic world of human rights lobbying.

    It also is conveniently not under the jurisdiction of any stateside courts, nor any foreign powers, as noted earlier in this discussion.

    • #75
  16. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Tom Meyer,  please invite John Yoo to check out the questions presented here.   He could either join the discussion or put up his own post, but we would all like to hear his responses.

    • #76
  17. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    Again, Devereaux—we try all sorts of people, precisely for trying to kill or maim us. We’re trying the Boston Marathon Bomber, we tried Timothy McVeigh, we tried Ramsi Yousef, Mahmud Abouhalimah and the rest of the 1993 WTC bombers, we invaded Panama so as to capture  Noriega and drag him to the U.S… where he received a bona fide fair trial.

    We don’t try people while they’re pointing a gun at us. We try them once we have them in custody, which is to say, when they are defenseless and at our mercy.

    If you’re in the custody of a nasty, tin-pot dictatorship, you get tortured and then, when they’ve gotten whatever they want out of you, they take you up in an airplane and chuck you out over the ocean, and your family never finds out what happened to you.

    This is the difference between a just state and an unjust state: if you are in American custody, you retain human rights, even if you’re a Nazi, an Islamist terrorist, or a nutter who opens fire in a movie theater. That’s not because we’re “kind.” It’s because we’ve got guts—the courage of our convictions.

    As Blue State Curmudgeon declares in an OP today, it is Liberals (isn’t it?) who are willing to bend law and violate principle to achieve a desired end. Conservatives are supposed to be the ones with the courage and spine to stick to what is right, even when it’s difficult.

     Another value that conservatives support is the rule of law because laws are what define the limits of freedom and we recognize that those limits must be scrupulously and consistently applied to protect the freedoms we hold so dear. For conservatives, rights are about process; ensuring that everyone has equality of opportunity to exercise these rights under the law.

    • #77
  18. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Kate Braestrup:

    Again, Devereaux—we try all sorts of people, precisely for trying to kill or maim us. We’re trying the Boston Marathon Bomber, we tried Timothy McVeigh, we tried Ramsi Yousef, Mahmud Abouhalimah and the rest of the 1993 WTC bombers, we invaded Panama so as to capture Noriega and drag him to the U.S… where he received a bona fide fair trial.

    We don’t try people while they’re pointing a gun at us. We try them once we have them in custody, which is to say, when they are defenseless and at our mercy.

    If you’re in the custody of a nasty, tin-pot dictatorship, you get tortured and then, when they’ve gotten whatever they want out of you, they take you up in an airplane and chuck you out over the ocean, and your family never finds out what happened to you.

    This is the difference between a just state and an unjust state: if you are in American custody, you retain human rights, even if you’re a Nazi, an Islamist terrorist, or a nutter who opens fire in a movie theater. That’s not because we’re “kind.” It’s because we’ve got guts—the courage of our convictions.

    As Blue State Curmudgeon declares in an OP today, it is Liberals (isn’t it?) who are willing to bend law and violate principle to achieve a desired end. Conservatives are supposed to be the ones with the courage and spine to stick to what is right, even when it’s difficult.

    Kate, what I don’t get is how you cannot understand that we are following the law with regard to these people.

    The only crime that I know they violated is one that by the Geneva conventions themselves, cannot be tried in a civilian court (it must be a military court for violations of the laws of war) and that is only if we choose to bring charges against them.

    We are at war with them. They were captured on the battlefield. We choose to treat them like POWs – which means we can hold them until the war is over. Wars end with some sort of concession by one side and generally a peace treaty. They go home then.

    We have given some parole – that means we let them go with their promise to no longer engage in hostilities – which a goodly number have violated. Those, if captured again, are liable to summary execution.

    The laws of war exist to reduce suffering and to attempt to make war more humane – violations of the laws of war are handled via mechanisms with the laws themselves. The Geneva conventions are a portion of them.

    • #78
  19. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Gitmo is easy, try each of the inmates for terrorism in a 24 hour tribunal. Execute the guilty. Release the innocent. Close the facility.

    This, of course, would require a President who is on our side and a Congress with the stones of a 12 year old.

    Not likely, I fear.

    • #79
  20. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    We are at war with them. They were captured on the battlefield. We choose to treat them like POWs – which means we can hold them until the war is over. Wars end with some sort of concession by one side and generally a peace treaty. They go home then.

    Does that mean that if one of our guys were captured by Al Qaeda, they could hold onto him—legally, legitimately—until our war with “terrorism,” whether Sunni, Shiite, Al Qaeda, ISIS, whoever the next group is and wherever they come from and whatever they believe and whether or not they have the power or inclination to “concede” for all terrorists everywhere… is concluded?    German POWs didn’t have to languish in POW camps (or, for that matter, keep happily harvesting potatoes in Maine) until our war with “totalitarianism” or “dictatorship” or “aggressive war” or “genocidal racism” was over. If they had…they’d still be there, above ground or under it.

    This simply doesn’t strike me as an acceptable system. In real life, the “War on Terror” is not going to be concluded with a peace treaty. If these are soldiers captured on the field of battle, as you say, then they aren’t murderers anymore than our troops are. Prisoners of war eventually get to go home, even if they bombed our cities and killed innocent people,  because bombing cities in one of the things people do in wars. (Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Hanoi, Baghdad, etc.)

    If we consider them murderers, rather than soldiers, and wish to punish them  like murderers, they must have the protections accorded to murderers—that is, the protections accorded the likes of Timothy McVeigh or Rudolf Hoess.  (Both of whom were, incidentally, executed.)

    • #80
  21. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Kate Braestrup:

    Does that mean that if one of our guys were captured by Al Qaeda, they could hold onto him—legally, legitimately—until our war with “terrorism,” whether Sunni, Shiite, Al Qaeda, ISIS, whoever the next group is and wherever they come from and whatever they believe and whether or not they have the power or inclination to “concede” for all terrorists everywhere… is concluded? German POWs didn’t have to languish in POW camps (or, for that matter, keep happily harvesting potatoes in Maine) until our war with “totalitarianism” or “dictatorship” or “aggressive war” or “genocidal racism” was over. If they had…they’d still be there, above ground or under it.

    This simply doesn’t strike me as an acceptable system. In real life, the “War on Terror” is not going to be concluded with a peace treaty.

    Kate, WW2 ended when the belligerent parties signed instruments of surrender. 7 May General Jodel signed the surrender documents. In the Pacific, it ended when the Emperor made his speech on Aug 15. It was officially over on Sep 2. Absent those 2 activities we would have continued the war (and kept the POWs)

    We were not at war with “totalitarianism” or “dictatorship” or “aggressive war” or “genocidal racism”.

    We are not at war with “terror” but with (according to the Authorization of the Use of Military Force)

    (a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    Emphasis mine.

    When those “Nations, Organizations, or Persons” give up, the war will end – until then we keep the POWs. I would note that the POWs in our care do much better than the POWs that have been in their care.

    Such is the nature of war.

    • #81
  22. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    For further reading, I offer you the Third Convention regarding the treatment of POWs.

    Note, under article 84 they may NOT be tried in civilian court, unless the country holding them

    expressly permit the civil courts to try a member of the armed forces of the Detaining Power in respect of the particular offence alleged to have been committed by the prisoner of war.

    • #82
  23. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Devereaux:

    Kate Braestrup:Then why does it work?

    It doesn’t – a lot of the time. Indeed, it is the Left who glomed onto this as “torture”. KLM was waterboarded 87 times and was laughing throughout it. He has a physiology that is unaffected by this technique. But it did nothing to break him, nor was he particularly discomfited by it.

    KLM was broken by other techniques, which are not being spoken about for the sake of security.

    As I understand it, it “worked” in at least one case (I though KSM, but I could be wrong) by essentially giving himself “permission” to talk after having resisted to a point where he felt he couldn’t anymore.

    • #83
  24. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Miffed White Male:

    Devereaux:

    Kate Braestrup:Then why does it work?

    It doesn’t – a lot of the time. Indeed, it is the Left who glomed onto this as “torture”. KLM was waterboarded 87 times and was laughing throughout it. He has a physiology that is unaffected by this technique. But it did nothing to break him, nor was he particularly discomfited by it.

    KLM was broken by other techniques, which are not being spoken about for the sake of security.

    As I understand it, it “worked” in at least one case (I though KSM, but I could be wrong) by essentially giving himself “permission” to talk after having resisted to a point where he felt he couldn’t anymore.

    I heard the same story. (KSM)

    • #84
  25. Raw Prawn Member
    Raw Prawn
    @RawPrawn

    Kate Braestrup:

    Again, neither did most of the Nazis tried at Nuremberg (and those tried elsewhere, or not at all). Hans Frank was an exception—sort of. He rediscovered his Catholicism, and apparently believed that the Hans Frank , Tyrant King of the General Government was a whole different person.

    Trials are not a privilege that must be earned, a trial is a human right and—as important perhaps in this context— a trial is an opportunity for societies whose behavior is not rooted in savagery and vendetta to demonstrate our respect for truth and justice (and the American Way).

    The power of our system is demonstrated not by how we treat the innocent, nor the attractive, nor even the contrite. It is demonstrated by our righteous determination to treat even the ugly and unrepentant with the dignity and humanity they don’t deserve and would not show to us.

    If the Nazis tried at Nuremberg did not feel guilt, they were at least aware that their enterprise had failed. The Nuremberg court was not besieged by a deranged mob alternatively screaming for the release of their heroes and for “death to America”. There was no media ready to attack the allies for the slightest flaw while making all sorts of excuses for the accused. No hostages were being taken by Nazi supporters.

    Flawed as they were, the Nuremberg trials were an attempt to draw a line under the conflict. The conflict with the islamic jihad is nowhere near closed and the “detainees” believe they are winning. Trials would be pouring gasolene on the fire.

    I think the west should respect the jihadis’ choices. If they choose to be verminous cockroaches, we should treat them as verminous cockroaches.

    I am a little surprised the solution I suggested has not drawn any flak from PETA.

    • #85
  26. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    Instugator:

    Kate Braestrup:

    Does that mean that if one of our guys were captured by Al Qaeda, they could hold onto him—legally, legitimately—until our war with “terrorism,” whether Sunni, Shiite, Al Qaeda, ISIS, whoever the next group is and wherever they come from and whatever they believe and whether or not they have the power or inclination to “concede” for all terrorists everywhere… is concluded? German POWs didn’t have to languish in POW camps (or, for that matter, keep happily harvesting potatoes in Maine) until our war with “totalitarianism” or “dictatorship” or “aggressive war” or “genocidal racism” was over. If they had…they’d still be there, above ground or under it.

    This simply doesn’t strike me as an acceptable system. In real life, the “War on Terror” is not going to be concluded with a peace treaty.

    Kate, WW2 ended when the belligerent parties signed instruments of surrender. 7 May General Jodel signed the surrender documents. In the Pacific, it ended when the Emperor made his speech on Aug 15. It was officially over on Sep 2. Absent those 2 activities we would have continued the war (and kept the POWs)

    We were not at war with

    We are not at war with “terror” but with (according to the Authorization of the Use of Military Force)

    Emphasis mine.

    When those “Nations, Organizations, or Persons” give up, the war will end – until then we keep the POWs. I would note that the POWs in our care do much better than the POWs that have been in their care.

    Such is the nature of war.

    Which nations, organizations or persons?

    Are they named? When will we know that we’re done?

    I would certainly hope that POWs do better in our care than in theirs—that can’t be a very high standard to meet.

    This seems important to me because it is likely—all but inevitable, really—that the wars of the foreseeable future are going to be asymmetrical wars in which our troops and/or our police departments (depending on where attacks occur) will go up against terrorist organizations which may or may not be linked directly to states, and may or may not be directed by a single entity.

    If the Nazis tried at Nuremberg did not feel guilt, they were at least aware that their enterprise had failed. The Nuremberg court was not besieged by a deranged mob alternatively screaming for the release of their heroes and for “death to America”.

    A trial held in the United States would not have deranged mobs screaming death to America.

    There was no media ready to attack the allies for the slightest flaw while making all sorts of excuses for the accused. 

    The media was certainly present, however, and journalists, pundits and other critics were certainly sounding off about the fairness, necessity and conduct of the trials.  As we have conducted trials of terrorists in the United States before—including, as mentioned, those who first attempted to blow up the WTC, I don’t see why we can’t do it again. Should we have considered them POWs too?

    We considered that the Germans and the Japanese had the right to keep American and allied POWs just as we did. Do we consider that the “nations, organizations or persons” we are fighting this war against likewise have the right to hold Americans as POWs until they consider that the war on the Great Satan is over?

    • #86
  27. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    Come to think of it, why isn’t Tsarnaev a POW? He and his brother apparently thought of themselves as Jihadis, didn’t they?

    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.

    I agree.

    • #87
  28. Devereaux Inactive
    Devereaux
    @Devereaux

    MWM & Inst – I heard that water boarding did nothing to KSM. Instead, the techniques that broke him were a combination of “othe” stuff – uncomfortable but not torture. KSM apparently had a physiology wherein the water just ran out of his nose. He was actually laughing when they did it.

    • #88
  29. Raw Prawn Member
    Raw Prawn
    @RawPrawn

    Kate Braestrup:

    Instugator:

    Kate Braestrup:

    Does that mean that if one of our guys were captured by Al Qaeda, they could hold onto him—legally, legitimately—until our war with “terrorism,” whether Sunni, Shiite, Al Qaeda, ISIS, whoever the next group is and wherever they come from and whatever they believe and whether or not they have the power or inclination to “concede” for all terrorists everywhere… is concluded? German POWs didn’t have to languish in POW camps (or, for that matter, keep happily harvesting potatoes in Maine) until our war with “totalitarianism” or “dictatorship” or “aggressive war” or “genocidal racism” was over. If they had…they’d still be there, above ground or under it.

    This simply doesn’t strike me as an acceptable system. In real life, the “War on Terror” is not going to be concluded with a peace treaty.

    Kate, WW2 ended when the belligerent parties signed instruments of surrender. 7 May General Jodel signed the surrender documents. In the Pacific, it ended when the Emperor made his speech on Aug 15. It was officially over on Sep 2. Absent those 2 activities we would have continued the war (and kept the POWs)

    We were not at war with

    We are not at war with “terror” but with (according to the Authorization of the Use of Military Force)

    Emphasis mine.

    When those “Nations, Organizations, or Persons” give up, the war will end – until then we keep the POWs. I would note that the POWs in our care do much better than the POWs that have been in their care.

    Such is the nature of war.

    Which nations, organizations or persons?

    Are they named? When will we know that we’re done?

    I would certainly hope that POWs do better in our care than in theirs—that can’t be a very high standard to meet.

    This seems important to me because it is likely—all but inevitable, really—that the wars of the foreseeable future are going to be asymmetrical wars in which our troops and/or our police departments (depending on where attacks occur) will go up against terrorist organizations which may or may not be linked directly to states, and may or may not be directed by a single entity.

    If the Nazis tried at Nuremberg did not feel guilt, they were at least aware that their enterprise had failed. The Nuremberg court was not besieged by a deranged mob alternatively screaming for the release of their heroes and for “death to America”.

    A trial held in the United States would not have deranged mobs screaming death to America.

    There was no media ready to attack the allies for the slightest flaw while making all sorts of excuses for the accused.

    The media was certainly present, however, and journalists, pundits and other critics were certainly sounding off about the fairness, necessity and conduct of the trials. As we have conducted trials of terrorists in the United States before—including, as mentioned, those who first attempted to blow up the WTC, I don’t see why we can’t do it again. Should we have considered them POWs too?

    We considered that the Germans and the Japanese had the right to keep American and allied POWs just as we did. Do we consider that the “nations, organizations or persons” we are fighting this war against likewise have the right to hold Americans as POWs until they consider that the war on the Great Satan is over?

    If “one of our guys” is captured by the jihadis, long term internment will be the least of his worries. Was that Jordanian pilot “one of our guys”?

    You don’t think America has any deranged mobs? Don’t you remember Occupy Wall Street? What about the rioters, looters and arsonists at Ferguson and other places recently? They probably wouldn’t use the actual phrase “death to America”, but the sentiment would be the same. Remember the Jeremiah Wright sermons Obama never listened to?

    The trial of the blind sheik was fairly disruptive and that was when the jihad had barely gotten started. Imprisoned, he was able to get out encouragement and directions to followers. Imprisonment gave him more influence than he’d had before. He provided a pretext for further acts of terrorism. Threats were made to murder hostages if he was not released.

    • #89
  30. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    If “one of our guys” is captured by the jihadis, long term internment will be the least of his worries. Was that Jordanian pilot “one of our guys”?

    I was asking what the principle was. The fact that the Japanese mistreated their American POWs, or that the Germans selectively mistreated American Jewish POWs did not mean that we were off the hook. If others do not respect human rights, that is only an indication of how important human rights are. Let’s not let the bad guys set the standard.

    You don’t think America has any deranged mobs? Don’t you remember Occupy Wall Street? What about the rioters, looters and arsonists at Ferguson and other places recently? They probably wouldn’t use the actual phrase “death to America”, but the sentiment would be the same. Remember the Jeremiah Wright sermons Obama never listened to?

    Ah. I see. I thought you meant deranged mobs a’la the Middle East, not a’la Occupy Wall Street. So the mob has veto power on justice.

    The trial of the blind sheik was fairly disruptive and that was when the jihad had barely gotten started. Imprisoned, he was able to get out encouragement and directions to followers. Imprisonment gave him more influence than he’d had before. He provided a pretext for further acts of terrorism. Threats were made to murder hostages if he was not released.

    The mob, and the bad guys, are so powerful, they can derail American jurisprudence. And anything that gives terrorists a pretext for further acts of terrorism should be avoided. Like, say, indefinite imprisonment of terrorist suspects without trial…

    • #90
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