Fearing the supermen of Guantanamo

May 28, 2009

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate–Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own–

Americans need to be afraid, very afraid. If President Barack Obama has his way, the country will soon be at serious risk of terrorist attacks coordinated by Muslim men held in maximum security prisons from where no-one has ever escaped.

These inmates possess superhuman strength and cunning. Even in solitary confinement, they might recruit fellow inmates to the cause of al Qaeda and incite riots. They might succeed where the worst of the worst American criminals failed – break out and disappear, seamlessly blending into the community. Next thing you know — a mushroom cloud.

Such scenarios come to mind when one follows the debate over Obama’s plan to close the infamous detention center at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. naval base on the eastern tip of Cuba, and move some of the inmates to prisons in the United States.

This has prompted expressions of dismay both from the political right and from Obama’s fellow Democrats in Congress, and the language used in the debate has taken on a surreal quality. Phrases like “releasing dangerous terrorists into our neighborhoods” and “relocating terrorists to American communities” convey the impression that Guantanamo detainees will wander the streets, shopping for sandals and guns.

“To … bring the worst of the worst terrorists inside the United States would be the cause for great danger and regret in the years to come,” according to former Vice President Dick Cheney. “We have to make sure that streets and neighborhoods don’t think that they’re going to be the repository of Guantanamo prisoners,” warned Barbara Mikulski, a Democratic Senator.

A group of Republican congressmen drafted a “Keep terrorists out of America Act” early in May. America, for the purposes of the act, means American prisons.

It is ironic that politicians in the U.S., which holds more people behind bars than any other country, profess to have so little faith in a system that costs billions to run and includes high-security “supermax” institutions where dangerous inmates spend all but four hours a week in their cell.

If these fears are more than just political theater, are they justified or are they the security equivalent of other mass psychoses, say the irrational belief that house prices would go up forever? “In terms of escaping, U.S. prisons are extremely secure,” says Alan Elsner, a Reuters correspondent and author of Gates of Injustice, a book on the American prison system. “The fears being voiced now are driven entirely by emotion.”


And lack of rational reflection. Not to mention a generous dose of NIMBY (not in my back yard) politics and a bad case of mishandling a delicate issue on the part of Obama, who left it too late to explain where the 240 detainees held in Guantanamo would go once the prison there is closed as planned, by next January.

His fellow Democrats in the Senate joined Republicans in a 90-6 vote to block $80 million in funds to pay for the closure.

Barely noticed in the hubbub: the federal high security prisons in Colorado and Indiana where Guantanamo inmates would probably move already hold convicted terrorists linked to al Qaeda, including Zacarias Moussaoui, found guilty of helping to plot the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the twin towers in Manhattan and the Pentagon, and Ramzi Yousef, who led the first attack on the World Trade Center.

How many of the detainees still held in Guantanamo qualify for the “worst of the worst” label is anyone’s guess. After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the military rounded up 779 suspected “enemy combatants” and shipped them to Guantanamo. More than 500 were released without being charged.

There have been only three prosecutions under a much-criticized military tribunal system authorized by President George W. Bush to try foreign terrorist suspects outside regular civilian or military courts. One defendant pleaded guilty, one was convicted in a contested trial and one after putting up no defense.

Where and when the rest of the detainees will be tried is not clear. What is clear is that Obama will try hard to fulfil his pledge, made on his first day in office, to close Guantanamo, whose existence, he says, “created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.”

Stalwarts of the Republican party, an organization in deep disarray and looking for an issue that could draw from a bi-partisan well of fear and xenophobia, did not quite see it that way.

“In my view, what is driving this issue is a quest for popularity in Europe, more than continuing policies that have demonstrably made America safe since 9/11,” said Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican minority in Congress. Cheney echoed that thought in a speech harshly critical of Obama: “The administration has found that it’s easy to receive applause in Europe for closing Guantanamo.

“But it’s tricky to come up with an alternative that will serve the interests of justice and America’s national security.”

Ah, yes, it’s all for those Europeans Obama wants to court. Echoes of the days when Bush and Cheney were riding high and French fries turned into Freedom fries.


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The arguements I’ve heard against terrorists in prison on US soil is not about them escaping, as much as making the prisons the target of future attacks.

And I didn’t think Obama had hid the fact that he was trying to improve the US reputation overseas. It shouldn’t be hard to imagine some of his policies being crafted with that in mind.

Posted by drewbie | Report as abusive

Great piece BD.

What about the 4 recently caught Terrorists in NY? I don’t hear the Senators from NY clamoring for those 4 to be shipped off somewhere else? Just how two-faced are these Senators, all of them? Gitmo is a sour subject, only because Republicans wish to make it an issue, an issue with which they are trying to impede the direction this country needs to take. I have to question the loyalty of some of these American Senators, from both sides. Where is their loyalty? To their contributors, to their fund raising managers? To their Business contacts?
Or do they have more Loyalty to Party instead of Country?

If they are more Loyal to Party instead of Country, well, then they are DIVIDING the country when we need to become more unified against the growing threats of Venezuela, China, Iran, N. Korea, and other terrorists organizations across the globe.

United we stand, Divided we fall.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

While I wholeheartedly agree with Bernd’s article, I think that there is an underlying political and public fear that isn’t being clearly addressed, namely, that if Guantanamo detainees are brought to U.S. soil, they will have to be prosecuted according to the due process of U.S. law.

As the recent civilian murder conviction of a former Marine illustrates, criminal prosecution under U.S. civilian law certainly has the liability of producing different outcomes than military procedures.

The (inarticulate) suspicion behind the rhetoric is that, given access to U.S. rule of law, these detainees will be exonerated or not found guilty. This, of course, will release them into the public, both to tell their stories and to seek reparations under U.S. law.

The fact that we fear giving people access to our law system demonstrates the heinous betrayal of our values that has occurred at Guantanamo, which has been perpetrated falsely under the auspices of “protecting” “the American way of life,” in other words, “defending” our manner of accomplishing justice and government.

It is too late to make these people just “disappear” in order to cover or to justify our national duplicity.

We must bring the light of day and answer for who we have become, instead of rationalizing and propping-up the charade of having a moral higher ground, which we may have claimed before we compromised that very thing in the name of protecting it.

Posted by adam | Report as abusive

Mr. Debusmann fails to articulate the unintended consequences of transferring GTMO detainees to US soil. Once here, they fall under the auspices of the US Legal system. American taxpayers – once again – get stuck with picking up both the costs of maximum security and their new rights to a legal defense. And – for the record – escapes from maximum security prisons DO happen – hence the onslaught of recent commercial “max security” prisons and guaranteed imprisonment.
Since when do prisoners of war get the same rights afforded U S citizens – or any other country, for that matter? Is quid pro quo in effect? – no wait…they behead us – once they’ve interrogated U S soldiers!
Would have been cheaper and more expedient to end the matter in a clear “war” effort.

Posted by Stephen Ben | Report as abusive

I don’t see why holding them in one place instead of the other is worth the effort. We went through all the trouble of building this gitmo detention center. I don’t understand why they can not just be called “combatants” and we hold them till the “war” is over. It’s too bad we don’t seem to think that day will ever come, however if they signed up for the fight and the day never comes that we win then we hold them forever it’s not complicated. I don’t see moving as any kind of PR plus, a PR plus might be to let the IRC visit every now an then.

Posted by Reza | Report as abusive

The politics of fear are at play here on this issue. An attack on the supermax prisons? Terrorists wouldn’t be able to get past the front gate.

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

And I don’t see an issue with paying for justice in our legal system when we pay so much more for the killing of thousands abroad. Kind of a double standard.

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

Our founding fathers knew that when they signed the Declaration of Independence, they were possibly signing their own death warrants, guilty of treason against the Crown. During the war of 1812 (really our second war for independence) the British got close enough to victory to set the White House on fire. Every generation since then has seen the founding principles of this nation threatened, in what has always been a violent world.
Now, in this newest struggle, we want the “war on terror” fought “over there,” out of our sight. We give our leaders carte blanche to imprison without trial, torture and even kill an unknown number of prisoners of war, as long as we can pretend it’s not happening.
We have become a nation of cowards. I for one would welcome a prison for the Guantanamo detainees right in my neighborhood, if it meant knowing more about what my government is doing in my name. A government which can commit atrocities in secret with impunity, can commit those atrocities not just upon faceless “detainees” but on you and me as well. How could we prevent it? We can’t stop what we don’t know about. Secrecy is the enemy of freedom. Do you really trust your government never to use these powers on its own citizens? I don’t. Do you really trust your government to tell you the truth about who has been imprisoned, tortured and killed? I don’t. The truth will come out only if we demand to know. Too many of us don’t want to know.

Posted by Kelly | Report as abusive

@ Stephen Ben

who do you think pays for Guantanamo? The nation of Cuba? Surely you’re not that brain-dead? How much do you think its costing us to house a specific population of prisoners on foreign soil with an attendant military force to watch over them? Yours has to be the most idiotic argument I’ve yet encountered.

Also, technically, these aren’t “prisoners of war”. The “War on Terror” is not an official declaration of war from congress, its was a handy news blurb made up by the former administration to rally peoples emotions post 9/11. We either try both foreign and domestic criminals under our laws or our laws mean nothing. Get your head out of the blubbering emotional scare tactics that outlets like Foxnews love putting forth and use common sense.

Posted by CitizenLand | Report as abusive

I think terrorists are a threat to the worlds security.

Adam said
“I think that there is an underlying political and public fear that isn’t being clearly addressed, namely, that if Guantanamo detainees are brought to U.S. soil, they will have to be prosecuted according to the due process of U.S. law.”

The biggest fear the whole of America should have is that OUR government is IGNORING their own laws and OUR Constitution by denying due process.

What is to stop someone, like Cheney, from detaining a person, an American citizen, for disagreeing with him in political views?
We have had people for 8 years without a trail?
How can we denounce China and other nations for their violations on human rights, when we are doing the exact same thing ourselves?

What do we stand for? If it is the constitution, then those human beings need to be able to defend themselves, like any American should be allowed to do.

If not the constitution, then execute them and be done with this SHAME of human rights.

Of course this will prove to China, Iran, Venezuela, and other terrorists that we really are the Imperial, power hungry, bent on world domination with not care for any other race, nation, or religion that those people and countries claim we are.

So what are we people, we need to decide. And do it now.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

Good piece of info. Among President Obama’s thus-far very impressive and appreciated feats, this one is maybe just a little far out on the limb. I do believe that this man, like no other before him, has initiated a much-needed impression to the world that we as a people (America) are much more decent than the reckless aggressors that other parts of the world have perceived (or been manipulated to believe) us to be.

Very wise words in Cheney’s quote- he warned of “regret”. Too bad that word sometimes just blends in with the drone of political buzzwords, and people fail to stop and think “regret? ….you mean stuff we can’t like…..Ctrl-Z (undo) that will generate years of sadness and pain and make us wish we could turn back time…..?” Yes, that and potentially much more.

We tend to address even cataclysmic issues only AFTER they have become a crisis, and even worse, don’t even think of what we COULD have done to avert it. Just a random hypothetical example- let’s say one of the “supermen” was released into the general population (the non-penal one) on some technicality. Once he’s on this side of the barbs, his civil rights are protected, his weapons cache is actually nothing more than a hobby, and his actions- although resulting in mass regret, are “explicable due to his unjust and cruel confinement for so many years…..blah blah…..”(?!?!)

While this may be an outreach of humanity by a leader to make a positive statement on behalf of this country, it ain’t always wise to feed the hand that bit ya.

Posted by rich | Report as abusive

How soon people forget. It didn’t take long for people to forget that we are at war, no matter how you try to spin it. You don’t treat enemy soldiers as criminals, you don’t police up a battlefield for evidence for later prosecution. All the bleating from the left will go away after the unfortunate next attack that our new weak leadership is inviting. Some people don’t understand anything but strength and they see the desire to talk as weakness. Try to negotiate with these Islamist extremists and see where it gets you. I regret the need for another deadly attack to get the focus back to where it belongs. I laugh when I see people dressed as Abu Ghraid detainees, what about dressing like the people who jumped from the tops of the World Trade Center, how about dressing up like a beheaded westerner? That’s not currently cool or hip. It’s the same sad self loathing liberal guilt again, that’s what happens when people forget that war is a terrible thing. Good luck “restoring America’s virtue, much like virginity it’s gone and not coming back.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

There’s really not much to worry about. If those nasty, scarey terrorists are put in American prisons, in general population, they will be dressed as girls and doing the laundry of the big boys on the cell block within six months.

Posted by John peace | Report as abusive

How many of people who are kept in Guantanamo committed crimes on US sole. Apparently none. They have committed crimes against US overseas. They did not commit crimes against Taliban, government of Afghanistan during US invasion. There is no law system that would cover situation like this. I understand that people who are caught on US soil during criminal act must be tried according to American law (that is why the 20th hijacker was tried in court) Those people were caught by the army when they were committing crimes against the army without identification as an enemy. That is why there must be a special military law for those people, and that is why they were located in a military prison. We will create a disaster for our criminal system if try those people in our civil courts. Can you imagine if somebody would kidnapped Hitler during the WWII, because he committed crimes against humanity and US, and try him by US civil code? It is absurd.

Posted by dina | Report as abusive

We are better off keeping them in Gitmo, incommunicado, so their fellow terrorists don’t even know they’re there. If we publish their names their brothers in terror may start taking Americans hostage to exchange for them. It doesn’t make sense to subject Americans even to a hypothetical threat.
If we bring them to American soil then we’ll have to provide them with all the rights and lawyers. Lawyers are expensive, you know. These guys are not worth the expense. The American taxpayers already have to pay for too many things, better treatment of illegal enemy combatants should not be added to the bill.
If there’s a need to remove these terrorists from the security of their cells, the best way would be to load them all into cargo hold of a barge, weld the hatches shut, tow the barge to a deep place in the middle of the ocean, and sink it there.
I said it once, will not hesitate to repeat as many times over as needed for it to sink in.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive


“Very wise words in Cheney’s quote-”

Very subtle of you to start in with praises of Obama.
Then say Cheney is wise.
I know who you are
Subtle, slick, and sly

You will stoop to any low, even trying to subvert the peoples view and will.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive


“We are better off keeping them in Gitmo, incommunicado,”

So your against the Constitution of the United States, which is the greatest document on human rights, liberties, and freedoms ever written by man.

You are no better than a terrorist, who of course hate our freedoms and liberties.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

While others here have covered the omissions made by BD, I want to address the issue he started to unravel, and then went into Republican-bashing (which is contagious, kinda like fear – all the cool kids are doing it).

Obama deftly dodged any discussions of how we would close Gitmo while on the campaign trail. Now we know why. He promised change, but on this issue, he may have had no idea of how hard that change might be (or more likely, he did). The very issues facing Obama, in regards to the detainess, are the very same reasons Gitmo prison was built in the first place. A man with no leadership experience, but plenty of pop-star experience, will always promise that which cannot be delivered. Everyone was worried about “What changes?”, instead of “How will you pull it off?”. We always save those questions for after the crisis has occurred. Is a half-truth considered a lie, or is it just audacity?

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive

Dina, and Frank-

The problem is that you are assuming guilt. It has not been established yet what any of these detainees has been “caught” doing — according to the rule of law in the U.S., that is THE issue — accusation is not the same as fact or guilt and one may not be imprisoned without charge together with the subsequent (and speedy) right to a trial.

These people have not been accorded prisoner of war status either, otherwise they could have international guarantees of process and treatment.

Espousing policy of killing detainees based on suspicion, accusation or over-zealous definitions of “defense” is Anti-American and is in itself an attack upon this nation.

Corruption or violation of our core principles and law, whether by persons in elected position or under color of military or legal “service,” however creatively worded or executed, is also in reality an attack upon this nation, regardless of the presence or absence of any outside combatants or “war.”

It’s absolutely absurd to object to paying for legal process. It’s a mandate of our rule of law. It’s also absurd to do so in light of the hundreds of billions spent on this “war” on terror. Who was complaining about the cost for running Guantanamo the last eight years?!

Since Nuremburg crying, “War!” has failed for justifying abrogation of law or human rights. It’s insulting, dishonorable and atrocious to hear Americans making the justifying claims that Nazis made.

(C.D., I think you need to read my whole post before responding — the quote you cite means that the public dialog is not articulating or acknowledging the deep public fear and suspicion that some of the detainees may be exonerated if tried fairly and openly according to law. While such is the case with the public dialog, it is far from appropriate, in fact, it is appalling.)

Posted by adam | Report as abusive

Who will protect America from those who “protect” America?!

Posted by adam | Report as abusive

“Republican-bashing (which is contagious, kinda like fear – all the cool kids are doing it).”

We wouldn’t be doing it if they ran the country right in the first place now would we? I do place the blame squarely upon their shoulders. America has only had 2? TWO? democrats as presidents since Nixon was forced out of office? (What a great American that Nixon, SPYING on his fellow Americans(all for power), what exactly did he do in China? Now American Business is in bed with Communists? I thought Communist China was the enemy, the bad guy, someone you’re not supposed to be in bed with.)


Your last post is a lot of words, but it basically defends the right of this government to indefinitely hold a human being without accusing him of anything!
What is next? Americans being put into political prisons for disagreeing with the government? ANY Government that holds people in prison indefinitely with no proof of wrongdoing is Totalitarian, Authoritarian, a Dictatorship if you will.
Obama wants to rid America of this stigma, get Americas image to a level of pride.
But Republicans keep blocking this action. Why? Why do they wish to keep the image of the country in the gutter?
What do they gain from such actions?

The Constitution stands for Human Rights, Liberties, and Freedoms. Obama is trying to restore that, what are Republicans trying to do?

We either stand for the Constitution, the ideals of Liberty and Freedom.

Or we are no different that Communist China whose record on Human Rights is clear for the world to see.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive


Can you read?

I said the-rule-of-law-demands-the-process-of-t rial.

Like I said, please read the post before responding.

Posted by adam | Report as abusive

It all hinges on whether you truely believe in adherence to and observance of the principles of the constitution. The moment you promote an end as justifying putting it aside in order to utilise a means you declare not.

This dilema is not new and was considered by those that framed the constitution.

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

“Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged against provisions against danger, real or pretended from abroad.”

James Madison

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

A Man for All Seasons (1966)

Posted by John | Report as abusive

And are we not spitting on our Constitution by denying human beings that process.

Our hatred at a (Innocent until proven guilty) person, where did that come from? Honest Politicians (who have nothing to gain by enforcing an image of hate) telling us they are terrorists, but not showing PROOF!

HOW DARE we have pride in ourselves for allowing such a thing. PROOF i need PROOF, if it is not provided, it is not the fault of the INNOCENT MAN who for years have had no justice, but it is the FAULT of those who lied, falsely imprisoned humans being simply because it was convienent for them, these Politicians.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

This unhappy episode will stain the reputation of the USA for years to come.

Posted by mrjohn | Report as abusive

Ok, **sigh**

One more time…

1) The public dialog has fears underneath it that it won’t acknowledge.
2) The fear underneath the public dialog is that (some) Guantanamo detainees may be exonerated.
3) This is not good, because we shouldn’t fear the outcome of due process. It is our way of life.
4) Having this fear means that the public suspects that injustice may have been done and yet it is unwilling to acknowledge that this may be the case.
5) Having this fear is also not a just cause for policy.
6) People who appeal to these kinds of fears to justify unlawful kinds of detention are not following American law or values.
7) Even though the public may fear that some may be exonerated, we still need to follow due process.

8)The real issue is not about detention safety; it is about whether or not the public will recognize due process in spite of its fears.

Posted by adam | Report as abusive

If it comes about, that to satisfy men who have been unjustly imprisoned, it would satisfy my sense of justice for those responsible to go through the same situations the accused had been through. Arabia is known for harsh treatment of criminals. I am not saying death, no. Simply the same kind treatment, I think that would satisfy most men, if they could watch if they wished. No one else. It is not amusement.
Just justice.

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive

Due process most of these guys were picked up off of the battle field and according to the Geneva Convention can be held until the end of the conflict. Further more in the Geneva Conventions it also states that an organized fighting force can be tried as spies and executed, so I would say the US Government has handled this well the facilities while still a detention center are nice, the detainees are catered to and I might say treated better than our military guarding them and no one has been executed. The Arabs were in Afghanistan before 9/11, why were they there? They attended terrorist training camps, they fought against US forces or supported those that did, and they belong to organizations that wanted to over throw their own government. One group even went through two cities slaughtering everyone at night while they were asleep to include all new born babies.
The real threat of moving these people to the United States is the recruitment of individuals to do their bidding in the US and if they are released in the US well we just helped them reach the area they ultimately wanted to attack.
As far as trials well I do not remember the Germans going before US courts back during the World Wars while we had German POWs in the United States so why would we let the Taliban or Al Qaida go before US courts?
Thanks for your time.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

who says the Geneva Convention is right on everything? It is how old? And not this situation i doubt was conceived at the gathering of Nations that created the Geneva Convention.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

Our own constitution and related federal statues from the founding of the nation state clearly that international treaties take precedence over federal law (federal tariff laws were even rewritten to accommodate every new trade deal).

If one chooses to manipulate the Constitution for clearly illegal actions, you still can’t get around two basic points:

We signed the Geneva Convention.
We championed the Geneva Convention.

Throw in that I once took an oath to support and defend the Constitution…not a president, party, religion or current agenda…against all enemies, foreign…wait for it…AND DOMESTIC.

Everybody from the president down the local cop takes that same oath.

Read what our first several presidents had to say on the responsibility of the government to protect the Constitution, and their fellow citizens, under whose sufferance they were privileged to serve.

If the Constitution and our laws are useless if not followed and applied. Using the Constitution to guarantee one’s rights to speech, assembly and all the rest while using a manipulated version as a blunt weapobn against those who oppose is not good governance, and objectors are not unamerican.

I thought we had gotten past the McCarthy era before I was born…apparently not.

Posted by Brian Foulkrod | Report as abusive

Sorry, Bill-

No one has yet made public in trial precisely how these people were “picked-up” or under what circumstances or according to which accusations. That is exactly what they would have the right to challenge in U.S. or international courts.

If you don’t want them tried on U.S. soil (your German POW argument), then do what was done then, open it up to international trial with public testimony at an internationally neutral venue.

BTW, do you consider waterboarding someone 183 times “decent treatment?” Would you condone that such “decent treatment” should be performed on U.S. POW’s captured in war?

In the little information that has been released so far, it appears that the U.S. has “picked-up” these people in their homes and home countries based upon the word of informants.

We cannot simply declare entire countries as battlefields and “pick-up” whoever we wish, in any circumstance and claim that they are “combatants” disguised as civilians. Trial by law is what establishes these things.

Are we at war with Pakistan or Afghanistan? Are we at war with Saudi Arabia?

When does your “conflict” end? When no person anywhere in the world wishes the U.S. harm?

You claim a war with no rules that is not officially declared and that is conducted upon battlefields that are not defined, against any person of your choosing, civilian or not, for as long as you wish.

That, my friend, is the very definition of “terrorism.” If you wish for America to conduct itself as a terrorist organization then we have already lost the war on terror, for we become its object.

Posted by adam | Report as abusive

A trial and conviction vs detention rate of 700 to 2 is not very efficient so the purpose of abu ghraib and guantanamo was not convictions but window dressing for a very frightened country. Grabbing poor taxi drivers in other countries worked for a while .
Real islamic terrorists ARE scary- they treat women badly, they despise any other view,they bomb without any consideration of the innocent. Their stated aims and actions are incompatible with tolerance for any alternatve society.
How does a reasonable country interact with such people?
America. by contrast, dominates the world in much more subtle ways-through economic bullying,resource theft, and by aggressively imposing the system they call democracy as it is most easily manipulated from the outside. Democratically elected leaders who do not fit the USA mould are killed or marginalized or their countries sanctioned. Insidious organisations funded by the USA military industry like Libertas are introduced to attempt to hamper social-democratic unity as in Europe for example.
Guantanamo negatizes all the best things about america but closing it will not restore the idea of a secular power for good in the world that was envisaged by americas founders.
Until america starts to reduce its guzzling of the worlds resources, recognizes the legitimacy of other ways of living and respects the right to self determination of other nations it will continue to attract the attacks of 9/11 copycats

Posted by phrage frenta | Report as abusive

CD, you fail to address my point that Obama was wrong, and probably knew it, and didn’t think that was important during the campaign.

And your stat on Democratic presidents, I will let speak for itself. I’m glad you like Jimmy Carter-2.0, but I remember what happened the first time. Hence, the only Dems to get elected to the Oval Office since were the man who said “Big Gov’t is over” and the one who said “Change we can believe in”. Neither have happened. (By the way, I deplore the Republican party, too, but I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to believe in “The One” either).

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive

Why bring them to the US and give them constitutional rights they never had in their homelands? What will Obama do with the new prisoners he gathers up?

Posted by rfpzzzz | Report as abusive

It’s time to give Cuba back to the Cubans. People taken from Afganistan should be put back there. The US needs to start making friends, not interfering in other countries business – that’s what caused their current problems. Barak was democratically elected therefore the majority of US citizens support him.

Posted by J Breeds | Report as abusive

For all the constitutional scholars, please point out where due process applies to non citizens. Also have you read the Geneva convention, if so where non uniformed insurgents fall under it?
Our esteemed leader talks of a false choice between our security and our principles, sadly it’s not a false choice. You can’t have both, not in reality. All this concern about people who would behead you if given a chance, forgetting the loss of innocents on 9/11. That’s Unamerican, or should I say progressive or whatever liberals call themselves these days. Self loathing guilt ridden pointy headed liberals who never see America doing anything right, unless it’s begging Europeans for forgiveness for defending herself and the rest of the civilized world.
It’s okay, things will swing back once the emboldened terrorists attack on American soil again. Then the average American will remember we are at war and remember who the enemy is. The liberals will have to hide again, find a new name and wait until enough time passes for people to forget again. Then they can start the guilt cycle again and allow our enemies to flourish again.
Don’t think because you have others slapping your backs here and agreeing that it won’t happen again. The American people are wishy washy on these things. Don’t forget that Bush was once quite popular as was the war on terror. It was only once we started losing our resolve and forget about the attacks that the liberals popped their guilty bleeding hearts out. Thankfully these people don’t make policy for long, it just sucks innocents have to die when they do.
Deny it if you will, but Americans will choose security over principle every time they are truly threatened.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

“So your against the Constitution of the United States, which is the greatest document on human rights, liberties, and freedoms ever written by man.

You are no better than a terrorist, who of course hate our freedoms and liberties.”- Posted by C.D. Walker

Nope, I am all for the Constitution, and that’s one of the reasons why I oppose bringing these unlawful combatants to America.
Here in America we’d have to provide to them all the constitutional (and other) rights and protections even though they don’t deserve it – because the Constitution entitles them to these rights and protections. As long as we keep them away from the jurisdiction of the Constitution, they are not entitled to any of these.
And as for due process – that’s what is due to unlawful combatants:
“…an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals.” – quoted from Wikipedia.
For these guys who were caught not in uniform but armed, and with a clear intent to harm, there’s only one due process: military tribunal to establish the fact they are unlawful combatants, and then an immediate appointment with firing squad or hangman. A trip to Guantanamo was leniency in and of itself. However it’s not too late to conduct trials in military tribunals and give them what’s due.
Releasing these bad guys would be a great mistake. One of former Gitmo prisoners was arrested recently in Jordan where he organized al-Qaeda cell and was scouting Israeli targets with intent to commit acts of terror. Hope Jordanians, unlike us Westerners, will be less scrupulous about his liberties and give him his just desert.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Adam, that quote from A Man for All Seasons is perfect. It should be invoked frequently in the ongoing discussions of Bush & Cheney’s stupid, brutal policies.

Posted by Ralph Dratman | Report as abusive


“And as for due process – that’s what is due to unlawful combatants:
“…an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals.””

First off, “Unlawful Combatants” are still human beings, and under our Constitution (The greatest document on Human Freedom and Rights) ALL HUMAN BEINGS deserve due process.

“without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war”

You want to talk about “LINES” on a map, Those “Unlawful Combatants” when did they cross into America, secretly, for the purpose of waging war?

However, Cheney,(One of the 4 horseman of the Apocalypse)
sent how many of his people, secretly, without uniform(Blackwater, other mercenaries) across lines for the purpose of waging war.

Straight out of Rove’s Political book, Blame others for what you are doing,.

The four horseman of the Apocalypse

Rumsfeld- Famine and Pestilence (G. D. Searle)
Cheney- War
Rove- Lies, deceit
Gramm- Money, greed

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

If the prisoners in GTMO had just been interogated and executed on the battle field instead of a cell, would we be having this debate? I think that those people are still alive shows that the American government hasn’t completely abandoned its priciples.

GTMO may be violating the letter of US / international law, but is it violating the spirit of those laws? Sometimes you must act outside the law to shame its inadequacy. I think the poster “Frank Castle” would agree with that.

Posted by Drewbie | Report as abusive


“If the prisoners in GTMO had just been interogated and executed on the battle field instead of a cell, would we be having this debate”

If they were executed on the field, that would defy the Geneva Convention and the Spirit of the Constitution.
The fact you would even say something like you did, shows me you just want to start moving the focus of the conversation away from the people ACTUALLY being detained.

Start talking about what “Might have happened” or “Would we be having this debate” and i know your subverting.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

CD –

I completely affirm your point. These detainees have not crossed any lines into American territory – thus, the problem!

Ironically, the same people (like anonymous) who are claiming that detainees should be treated as combatants because they have supposedly crossed such lines are also arguing that detainees should NOT be crossed into American territory, which would afford due process of law!

Talk about “double-talk!”


“Sometimes you must act outside the law to shame its inadequacy.” Did you ACTUALLY endorse this view(!??!!)

If you act outside the law, or “shame its inadequacy” YOU ARE A CRIMINAL, regardless of self-appointed flag-wrapping and nationalistic rhetoric.

No one has the right to claim that their own understanding of lawlessness is somehow more lawful or honorable than the law itself. PERIOD.


Summary executions on battlefields of any captured person is prohibited by international and national law.

You may pride yourself on not having the capacity to be “guilt-ridden” or “wishy-washy” over committing war crimes, but the rest of humanity does not agree, neither does U.S. law.

Given the false choice between principles and safety, let us choose principles and live and die as true Americans, rather than as fear-tormented former patriots who sold-out their country’s honor and heritage for craven “safety.”

Absence of conscience is not noble defense. It’s sociopathology.

Posted by adam | Report as abusive

CD, I think you misunderstood the piont of my question. I wasn’t suggesting they should have been executed in the field. I was asking if people would be as upset about a few more faceless numbers in the death total as they are about prisoners held without trial.

I don’t think they would.

Posted by drewbie | Report as abusive


The part you quoted is from the movie “The Punisher” that came out in 2003, and I only included it because “Frank Castle” is the Punisher’s name. Sorry if that went over(under) your head.

And I didn’t mean it in any kind of nationalistic, flag-waving way. More of a “punish the guilty people when the law can’t” kind of way, a la the Punisher.

Posted by Drewbie | Report as abusive

There’s really not much live after you ignore security for principle. It’s mostly die, and despite what you may read on these forums most people don’t choose that option. Particularly when they have families and children to think about. Easy to act the tough guy and staand up for your principles when it’s just you to worry about. Don’t let all the bleeding hearts here, or amongst your friends let you think that the majority are going to allow their children to die for empty principles in an unprincipled world. You may forget the mood in this country after 9/11, I however don’t. I regret it will take another tragedy for people to remember we are at war and who we are at war with. All this talk of principle is fine when we have had years of security, once we are attacked again, at the invitation of our weak willed democratic socialist leadership, you liberals will go back into hiding and be fringe kooks again. I still have no answers as to how the US constitution protects foreign enemy combatants.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive


Whether or not it’s a quote fails to change the fact that it was endorsed by you.

The problem again is that you are assuming and presuming that one can establish guilt outside of the law AND act upon that presumption as a self-appointed punisher.

Such activity is still criminal. It has no moral higher ground or foundation, since it is itself guilty, morally AND legally.

Committing illegal actions to “get the bad guys” doesn’t exist. When you commit the illegal action, you ARE the “bad guy.”

Every criminal act of violence justifies itself as a “deserved” entitlement.

If “the law can’t find a way” then no just way exists to be found. There IS no way.

Espousing a position like this is fundamentally anti-American. We are not a vigilante state; we are a state founded upon the rule of law.

No one is a faceless battlefield number, regardless of allegiance; whether people notice or not is irrelevant.

Go to the Tomb of the Unknown; sit down and think.

Posted by adam | Report as abusive


“There’s really not much live after you ignore security for principle.”

Quite the opposite; animals live only for survival.

In reality there is nothing much left after you abandon principle for safety.

By your position, there is nothing of value in nation or family, either. The parents would care for their own safety at the cost of love or loyalty to their children.

Your position is, “Safety first! Principles are expendable! Every man for himself! Leave the morals behind! Push the Old ones and the children out of the way and grab the lifeboat yourself!”

You disgrace the memory of the victims of 9/11 when you justify war crimes in their names.

Posted by adam | Report as abusive

This made me laugh on a related note, the U.S. spy released from Iranian prisons.

Couple questions

Would the US have released an Iranian spy in the US so quickly?

Would the US have only interrogated with words like Iran or used waterboarding?

Would we have given an Iranian spy a chance to defend themselves or just thrown them in jail for an “undisclosed” period of time?

How any of you people have any faith in the Republican party, Democratic party or US gov’t in general absolutely stuns me.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

I think you’re confusing ‘moral’ with ‘legal.’ the two intersect often, but are not the same thing. Several immoral things are legal, and several moral things are not legislated.

Posted by drewbie | Report as abusive

“First off, “Unlawful Combatants” are still human beings, and under our Constitution (The greatest document on Human Freedom and Rights) ALL HUMAN BEINGS deserve due process.”- Posted by C.D. Walker
Looks like you failed to read my post in full. One of the points was that, as long as they are not on American soil, the Constitution does not apply to them. That’s the fact, and that’s how I’d rather keep it, instead of bringing them here and, as a consequence, needing to afford to them all the Constitutional rights.
Besides when necessary the Constitution and everything can be ignored. Remember the American citizens of Japanese descent being detained during WWII? Was due process applied to them, or California desert was not American soil? These guys at Gitmo are orders of magnitude more dangerous than Japanese American kids and housewives were. And if you say “Pearl Harbor” I say “9/11/01″.
Also you lost the fact that the kind of due process they deserve is the one that applies to unlawful combatants. Same with Adam. You both wrongly interpreted the phrase “comes secretly through the lines” as “crossed into America” whereas the right interpretation would be “crossed into combat zone”.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive


“Looks like you failed to read my post in full. One of the points was that, as long as they are not on American soil, the Constitution does not apply to them.”

So a person has to be on American soil to be a HUMAN BEING?

nice logic.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

Michael Ham,
Would the US grab Iranian journalist and try her for espionage, just to stick it up to their gov’t?
Do you really believe that poor girl having something to do with CIA?
Do you believe she admitted the charges because the Iranian jailers were exceptionally nice to her?
And finally, waterboarding and all the Abu Ghraib antics is torture only in the minds of Western liberals. The real torture, still practiced outside of the West, is not when you are made to fear for your life. The real torture is when you beg for death. That’s what was practiced in Abu Ghraib under Saddam.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

A little bit about how i was raised.

My first car was a 1972 Chevy Nova, Ford Cobalt Blue with small metalic flakes and 3 layers of clear coat. I will forever thank my Uncle(another machinist who got ripped off in the lawsuit) who sold my dad the “NOVA” for $1500.

My Uncle had a big block in it, but when he gave me the keys, he didn’t want me to kill myself. It came with a STOCK 2 barrel 305 our of a Monte Carlo.
I still wreck it within 2 months, slid on ice.

The 2nd time i wrecked her, All my fault. So my dad and i went back to the Midwest, where i was born, from Virginia, where i went to school, to my uncles place to search for a new front end(Doghouse)

Found one at a junk yard, brought it back to my uncles barn. He had every power tool imaginable. We set up the Doghouse on some horses, but my dad and uncle, to teach me a lesson, placed the Doghouse out in the HOT july sun.

No power tool for me. I was given a block of wood, some files for the nooks and crannies, and a package of Sandpaper. I spent a couple of days learning about responsibility. Never wrecked her again.

You know where my dad and uncle where? Sitting in the barns shade, drinking beer, laughing at me while i sweated and worked. Or they went fishing.

All we need people, my Americans, is to look at what we, yes WE, allowed to happen. We must learn from our mistakes, do the hard work, and fix what has become broken.

I have more ideas, more ways to better my America. All I had to do? Think of solutions without placing PROFITS, as the most important reason to do something. Keep integrity, morality, and ethics in mind as you work towards you goal, and you can do anything if you are just willing to work.

I started my “Verbal” revolution, my peaceful revolution, on “MEMORIAL DAY” because I am tired of seeing American Men and Women losing their lives and limbs for the PROFIT of other lost souls.

If I can get the money together, and stay alive, I want to be your next President of these United States of America. I have planned this for years. That strange day, December 21, 2012, will not be an ending.

If I am President, It will be a new BEGINNING!

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

Do you think American Constitution applies to every human being in every corner of the world? Even not being a legal scholar I can say that your legal opinion wouldn’t hold in the court – any court.
Even the Gitmo detainees will not agree with you. If it was up to them, the Constitution, and all other laws here in America and throughout the world would be thrown to the garbage heap and replaced with their Sharia.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

LOL, it never fails, when you can’t actually address what someone says it’s easier to warp what they say into something you can handle. I understand reality frustrates your theory so you choose to ignore reality. One important reality is human beings are animals, so I don’t see anything wrong with your assessment. More importantly all human history proves me correct. Even your own ideals would prove me correct, as anyone who would agree with you ideals would be extinct. You avoid the obvious part of my post where I mention people stop being so blindly self righteous when they have someone other than themselves to worry about. That’s when principles are sacrificed, when one needs to provide for or protect one’s loved ones, particularly children. You see if people are willing to sacrifice their children for principle, you’ll see who’s right.
Isn’t it rough when reality trumps your precious little theories and self righteousness. Gotta hurt a little huh? Don’t worry people will still give lip service to your ideals for the near future, until there’s another attack on US soil, then they’ll be all for waterboarding or whatever is needed. Reality trumps principle every time the rubber hits the road.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

“Michael Ham,
Would the US grab Iranian journalist and try her for espionage, just to stick it up to their gov’t?
Do you really believe that poor girl having something to do with CIA?
Do you believe she admitted the charges because the Iranian jailers were exceptionally nice to her?
And finally, waterboarding and all the Abu Ghraib antics is torture only in the minds of Western liberals. The real torture, still practiced outside of the West, is not when you are made to fear for your life. The real torture is when you beg for death. That’s what was practiced in Abu Ghraib under Saddam.”

Anonymous, this is just another example of you having faith in your government, again which stuns me. You believe whatever they tell you, being a party-line voting Republican sheep as you it doesn’t surprise me you’ll fall in line with whatever foreign policy lies are spit in your face.

Do I think we would take in someone we “suspect” of spying on behalf of Iran, hold indefinitely and waterboard? Yes, yes of course, why should I put anything past this trash government? We’ll kill 130,000 civilians because a country has kaleschnikov’s and WW2 soviet tanks (aka weapons of mass destruction lol).

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Sorry, Castle-

You’re still hiding behind principles that you won’t admit to, like family and societal survival.

Animals eat their young.

Either have the guts to own your principles and to live and die for them or have the guts to admit that you have no principles and you won’t live for anything but your own skin, without any kind of honor.

This is the real of truth that hurts, not hiding behind false, synthesized pragmatic “necessities.”

Posted by adam | Report as abusive

Why not reclassify them as Prisoners of War, and then keep them in a Prisoner of War prison, say for instance in Alaska, well guarded and a good distance from anything like roads, the coast etc to prevent escapes or rescues. That way it might even be possible to add more Prisoners of War as and when they get captured. If the war(s) ever end then they’d need to be released, but it would seem to be a war(s) designed not to have an end so that’s probably not an issue for the foreseeable future… and by then there will be a World Government and it won’t be America’s problem anyway.

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

Hello Bernd,

We all know that GTMO prisoners issue has nothing to do with security. All info they is worthless after 5 yrs in prison. If these guys posses any personal danger to US we can send them back. Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq or Afghanistan will execute them before plain lands. The problem that US wants high moral look after waging tribal war.

These people belong to tribal age so send them back. Don’t impose our value on society that 200 yrs away.
US attempts to seed democracy among tribes only lead to bloody wars.
Nothing wrong that politicians will study historical patterns before impose own vision on other counties.

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive

see this is what i mean.

Is that ALL you got now?

Republicans(Neo-Cons) the only thing, the ONLY THING the can say negatively about the “Latino Women” is criticize “ONE SENTENCE” in the entirety of her comments?

I bet the would pray to GOD if they could only have ONE sentence in their political career with which they could be criticized by.
Can find any acts, no deeds that can be found to criticize her,

How many republicans have skeletons in their closets?
Follow the Money, watch the rats jump ship.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

Oh? Money? nice try.

You don’t think i’m serious? Here is an idea to that will, within 2 weeks, help every State in this Union.

7 things humanity needs, in order: Air, water, food, shelter, heat, structure


I love you. If we were to take all those Empty factories across every State of the Union, and put inside equipment with which to grow our food locally? How can that help my sister and brother?

How to pay? Follow the Money, rats don’t need to spend money, but it can be used to pay back the people and country they stole.

How many Homes surround those factories? Are they depressed? My, we could roll up our sleeves, get to work, and either tear down, or rebuild those homes, modernize them, eco-friendly like.

That factory has how big a roof? How many solar panels? There are wind catchers that can be placed upon the edges of those factories to catch the updraft.

How much water can be collected on that flat roof during a rain storm? The just purified urine into water in space, we can purify rain. (Time is nothing, Timing is everything)

I got more love and ideas

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive

Foreign Policy?

India has a company with a technology that will take human waste, capture it, and turn it into Gas that can be used for Hot water heater, maybe cooking. I believe they have sizes large enough for schools. I would trade solar panels and wind generators, food.

America through her Allies in NATO need to cut ourselves from ties to counties we do not need to deal with.
NATO countries and Allies have enough souls without work.
NATO and Allies need to take care of our own needs, not rely on others.

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive

Free Tibet

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive

Think about this,

If Knowledge is Power, where did i get this tid-bit

When baseball, the “Game of Numbers” became corrupt

what on earth would cause that “Human Program” to go bad

Greed for Profit obviously

If it touched “The Game”

It was in every aspect of life.

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive

I Envision an America connected to each other in a New way.
I see a Train connecting Chicago to New Orleans. I see a Magnetic train. A 180 mph Magnetic train connecting all State Capitals, Universities, Casinos, and as many towns we think we need connected.

I see Solar panels on these Magnetic trains, capturing their own energy along with Windcatchers to use the Trains passing wind to help power it along. Maintainence would be minimal since it is a Magnetic train that works by using the “Opposite Force” in Magnets to keep the train afloat.

Ever try to get two magnets to touch?

Make it cheap to travel, see YOUR COUNTRY in all its glory. The small businesses in towns would thrive.
I want corner butchers again. I want specialty shops, and fine dining, great food at prices that will make the Food Stand Out, instead of the price. Small scale food production. No More of this One Giant DIRTY factory making peanut butter as cheaply as possible, while endangering the lives of our children.

The smaller plant can be better monitored by a better FDA. A funded FDA. I want to make our food safe.

This world does not need to run my greed.

It can run just fine of work, dedication, and a little love.

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive

Well it’s good to know that you’re just a dreamer and really have nothing concrete or realistic to offer. You keep on dreaming, the rest of us will keep on living and looking for realistic alternatives instead of fantasies. the great part about fantasies and normative ideals is you never have to really apply them in actual fact. You can talk a good game, but when you ask people to follow see how many will walk the walk. Talk is cheap. Try not to be disappointed when none of your pie in the sky ideas goes anywhere. I guess the internet is good for that, allows a release for people like this and makes them feel good. Tell me about the rabbits CD…

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

Why are you here?

Your existence most certainly is not to be a slave to your own people, yet how enslaved are you to small groups of humans in Banks and Multinationals?

Why does all your hard work go to benefit a small group of people? People who sit behind a desk shuffling paper. They make decisions, but what direction have their decisions taken your Country, let alone the world?

Almost every decision made is made to profit someone. Their want and needs. Their definition of “Profit” does not better the world as a whole, just “Their” lives.

Maybe it does, because now we see what that type of world, a world based on “Profit” leads to. Selfishness. Greed. War. Ruin. A world full of people who only want and take. Who gives love, or even help, in this world?
Very few.

I give. I love. My ideas could have been conceived and pitched in a way to make money for myself. I don’t want money. I want a better America. A better world. And not just for me, but for you, and our children.

I don’t wish for anyone to die, or lose a limb trying to force a way of life upon someone. You want someone to change? Show them a better way, you can’t force them into a better way.

If we create a better Country in America first, if we make a place where everyone can have “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”, if we can show the world what Americans can do; that example can be taken by the people of the world and THEY can rise up against their own tyrannical governments, and use our example, our Constitution.

American men and women need not die trying to force our ideals of Freedom and Liberty upon others. We get it right here first, in this country, and others will follow a good example.

And if I am a dreamer? At least I dream of LOVE. A love I’m just trying to use to save the world i love, the people i love, the humanity i love.
What do you dream?

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

Here is another idea to help “Unify” my beloved America.

Gun rights vs. Gun control is always a polarizing issue.

To keep intact the 2nd amendment AND add control and responsibility – lets be smart.

If you own a gun legally (I don’t care if it is a .22 pistol/rifle all the up to a assault rifle) Let us use Technology to improve our lives.

How about the AFT set up a program where they will go across this country, city halls to police departments, where they will meet people who legally own guns.

Place an RFD on the gun to keep track of the “weapon”, fire the weapon to have it’s ballistics on record, and re-register the owner. You can have all the guns you want, any type.

This instills responsibility because if the weapon is used in a crime, it can be tracked to the place(through RFD/GPS) and ballistics will match. Responsible people do not shoot other people.

By allowing Gun owners, enthusiast, and second amendment followers the ability to own any gun they wish responsibly, we can then crack down on the “IRRESPONSIBLE” who wish to own guns, those who try to own illegally.

Freedom thru Responsibility – How American is that?

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

You sadly misunderstand the 2nd amendment. The whole idea of the 2nd amendment is that people are supposed to be afraid of the government, the government is supposed to be afraid of the people. The best way to do that is an armed citizenry, and trusting the government with that kind of info is crazy. Particularly the type of government we’ve had of late. Your faith in technology is truly frightening.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

I am amazed how far off-topic some of this has gone, from Guantanamo prisoners to magnetic trains, Indian technology to turn human waste into gas, the 2nd amendment…

Posted by BDebusmann | Report as abusive

Ain’t the internet grand BD?

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

“The whole idea of the 2nd amendment is that people are supposed to be afraid of the government”

Why would you be afraid of your government when it ALLOWS, nay, by LAW gives its people the right to own weapons!

How many other governments around the world allow its people to so freely own weapons? China? even England is stricter on guns.

I am more afraid of “Banks” and “Big Business”(who’ve been ripping us off, dodging their taxes, and now are getting Bailouts off of OUR MONEY!) than I am of the Government.

And if you really think about it, what is the government of America? A bunch of self serving Politicians? OR the People of America, Including the Armed Forces, who vote as well.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

Frank: grand indeed. Endless space, endless topics

Posted by BDebusmann | Report as abusive

The problem with Gitmo is that it is an International Law nightmare for the USA. The question is… what is Al Qaeda? A terrorist organisation? Or a guerrilla organisation?

Why is it important? If they are terrorists (the view held by a succession of US governments), then they are criminals and should be treated as such when captured. That implies Habeas Corpus and all that jazz.

But if they are guerrillas, they become Prisoners of War (POW’s) upon capture, and their treatments and confinements are regulated by the Third Geneva Convention (GC III ratified by the USA). Very important to bear in mind… there is no criminal case here the be heard. A POW is not tried in a court of law. He is held in confinement to prevent his return to the field of combat. And critically, once hostilities cease, the POW’s should be repatriated. There are international conventions and bodies to deal with the prosecution of war criminals, (rendering the US military Tribunals illegal in terms of International Law) but apart from combatants accused of war crimes, the rest have to be sent home.

Now… what happens at Gitmo? The US government official stance regarding Al Qaeda is that it is a terrorist organisation. But during military operations, the Coalition also captured Taleban combatants – and they were members of the regular Afghanistani Army, accountable to the recognised government of Afghanistan at the time. So, rather than differentiating between these two categories, (essentially criminals and POW’s) the American government chose to group them. But in doing so, the policies, practices and procedures followed the ‘worst of both worlds’. POW’s are not tried in court, whereas captured terrorists are subject to Habeas Corpus… so these inmates all slip under the legal system. But on the other hand, the GC III details very specifically how POW’s should be treated. And for the purpose of this, the US government chose to treat the inmates as dangerous criminals.

Now… there will be those that will choose to rely on good ole American muscle to reason the why’s and wherefore’s and no doubt that will range from reasonably eloquent to downright masochistic arguments. But consider this carefully. During WWII, Nazi Germany treated their Allied POW’s in general accordance to GC III. So where is the moral high ground now? It would appear that the USA has failed in a basic comparison to Nazi Germany. So much for Leader of the Free World then – Mene, Mene, Tekel

Posted by Raven | Report as abusive

Yet another debate which is hijacked and steered off course. The problem is some particular user(s), with the following problem.

1. He sees himself as some kind of social prophet.

2. He remembers “what it was like in the good old days when things were better”.

3. Because he can’t practically apply his ideas to reality, his solution in debate is to repeat his ideas.
and over.
and over again.

The beauty of a forum is the diversity of views, and the ability to debate and contrast your point of view with other ideas.

But if all you are going to do is repeat yourself, convinced in your own infallibility…do yourself a favor and stop wasting forum space.

The sure sign of stupidity is a man who makes his point, but can’t stop repeating it.

Posted by Youknowwho | Report as abusive

“If they are terrorists (the view held by a succession of US governments), then they are criminals and should be treated as such when captured. That implies Habeas Corpus and all that jazz.

But if they are guerrillas, they become Prisoners of War (POW’s) upon capture, and their treatments and confinements are regulated by the Third Geneva Convention (GC III ratified by the USA).” – Posted by Raven

These guys are neither. Well, the Taleban might have been then-legitimate “members of the regular Afghanistani Army, accountable to the recognised government of Afghanistan at the time”, though that’s disputable. They didn’t wear uniform, unless you count the beards, turbans, and AK-47s as such. The government was recognized as legit only by the Saudis and Chechen government-in-exile. But let’s consider them POW as an intellectual exercise. Since the hostilities with Afghan government are over, they are subject to return to Afghanistan. But, given a choice between staying put at Gitmo and given to the custody of Karzai government, many would prefer to stay put. If we send the Taleban captives to Kabul, the gov’t would most likely behead or hang them all on their own volition, and do that for sure if we just make a hint that we’d like it to happen.
As for al-Qaeda fighters, they are nothing more or less than unlawful combatants. Neither civilian process (“Habeas Corpus and all that jazz”) nor POW status applies. For them due process is a military tribunal. And, as soon as the tribunal rules they were in fact arrested in combat zone armed and out of uniform, i.e. they are in fact unlawful combatants acting in violation of laws and customs of war, they are eligible to be executed. And the argument that Taleban better fit to definition of unlawful combatants rather than that of POW looks to me more correct than not.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Thank you for your response Anonymous. There are however a number of issues with your argument, so let’s cover off the obvious one:

The International Conventions relating to warfare does not cover ‘neither’… personnel within the theatre are either civilians (do not bear arms and do not act directly to influence the course of events within the theatre), or they are combatants (bear arms and execute military operations against their foe). Regular, irregular, and special forces, agents, raiding parties, partisans and guerrillas are all classified as the latter.

Let’s ignore Internal Wars (Guerrilla, Revolutionary, Liberation, Insurgency, Armed Insurrections, etc) for the moment to isolate the basic tenet (we’ll return to those wars in a minute)… and concentrate on Conventional War. A War is fought between two or more sovereign states. Yes, like so many other terms, the media had hijacked this one and we now have Wars on Obesity, Smut, Drugs, etc. But that aside, wars are fought between two or more sovereign states. Let’s cover sovereignty… this is primarily a state status conferred from within – not without. A war is in fact a challenge to the sovereignty of a state by another sovereign state. I like the Wikipedia definition of this term – it refers to “be answerable to no higher authority”. This means that being recognised by other countries as a legitimate state is not a prerequisite for sovereignty. By declaring war on an international political entity, a sovereign state recognises the fact that such an international political entity is sovereign, and sets out to change that status (the war against Nazi Germany being a case in point).

So let’s cover Internal Warfare… (but bear in mind that there are volumes written by this, so it is not possible to cover all the angles in the limited space). Internal Wars are special instances of War fought between the Sovereign State and an international or regional political entity that claims sovereignty within the same regional space. And it is here where the distinction between regular and non-regular forces are made (though there are examples of irregular forces within a Conventional War – i.a. Partisans, Special Forces, Raiding Parties). But with Internal War, the emphasis shifts… and the Regular Force is the force of the incumbent government – the Irregular Force is the force of the political entity challenging that sovereignty. And this is where the question of whether this force is a Guerrilla or a Terrorist force becomes a legal question.

Through the years, we’ve developed an Acid Test to answer that question.

a. A Guerrilla wears a uniform that makes him recognisable as a Guerrilla. This may not be the Western definition of a uniform, but it is a uniform nevertheless. Consider the Viet Cong. You and I may snigger at the black pyjamas and rice hat… but the bottom line is that they wore that as their uniform and it made them instantly recognisable as enemy… in fact, it became a bit of a brand for the Viet Cong.
b. A Guerrilla bears arms openly unless op-sec dictates otherwise. This means that the measures a Guerrilla may take to conceal his weapon should be restricted to obscuring the nature of the weapon, not the fact that he is armed. This may not be a weapon that you and I would choose to use on a battlefield (e.g. bows and arrows)… but a weapon nevertheless.
c. A Guerrilla operates within a command structure. This may not be a nice shiny command structure with lots of Staff Officers and humming computers as we know it. But it means that the Guerrilla reports to a commander and accepts missions from that commander. The show of initiative aside, the Guerrilla executes orders, and then reports back on that execution.
d. A Guerrilla concentrates his actions against legitimate military targets and conducts those actions largely within the bounds of morality (e.g. the non-execution of POW’s, treatment of wounded, etc.).

a. A Terrorist does not wear a uniform (and to add to the confusion, neither does a military agent – but that aside for the moment)
b. A Terrorist does not bear arms openly and goes to great trouble to conceal the fact that he is armed.
c. A Terrorist does not operate within a command structure. He operates with a great deal of autonomy, often only within a loosely defined directive.
d. A Terrorist does not restrict his operations against legitimate military targets alone, and will not adhere to any convention or acceptable conduct of Warfare.

Now, there are a couple of things that complicate the issue here: First of all, no modern irregular force had ever been able to have this acid test applied to it without contention. Next, the classification of an irregular force is an emotive process, and that often clouds judgement. And finally, due to the flow of a war, an organisation may be a Terrorist organisation today, but a Guerrilla organisation tomorrow.

That complexity aside, when dealing with a captured member of the foe within a legal context, we *have* to do the following:

a. Answer the question: “Is he a Civilian or a Combatant?” If the answer is that he is a Civilian, he has to be treated either as a Refugee (queue the raft of International Conventions relating to Refugees), or we have to let him go about his business (queue the raft of International Conventions relating to Civilians in combat zones).
b. If the answer is that he is a Combatant, we have to ask the following question: “Is he Regular or an Irregular?” If the answer is that he is a Regular, we have to treat him as a POW (queue GC III).
c. If the answer is that he is Irregular, we have to ask the following question: “Is he a Guerrilla, or a Terrorist?” If the answer is that he is a Guerrilla, we have to treat him as a POW (queue CG III). If the answer is that he is a Terrorist, we have to treat his as a criminal (queue Habeas Corpus).

No matter which way you want to skin this cat… that is the moral process.

The beef that I have with Gitmo, is that the US government did nothing of the sort. The inmates at Gitmo are not treated as Refugees, Civilians in a combat zone, Regulars, Guerrillas or Terrorists. They have no legal status at all – except within the minds of a few, as they attempt to legitimise the illegal and defend the indefensible. To aggravate this situation, the USA holds itself as the champion of democratic virtues. Such as Equality, Freedom, Rule of Law. But when morality asked a simple question of them – “what legal status do you confer upon your prisoners”, they failed to provide the correct answer time and time again… not just Gitmo, what about Abu Ghraib and water-boarding.

Americans may not see it this way, but given what I know about the American way of conduct in War, if I was an enemy commander? My first directive to my troops would’ve been: “do not allow yourself to be captured.”

Posted by Raven | Report as abusive

Oh yes, before I forget… an “unlawful combatant”? You mean like the Nazis described the Partisans during WWII? With the same treatment of those when captured – execution? I though we prosecuted people who’d done exactly that as war criminals at the Nuremberg Trials?

A consideration… an unlawful combatant implies a combatant that operates outside of the bounds of law. Which country’s law are we referring to? Afghanistan? Or America? Surely not American. Can you even begin to imagine the chaos that would ensue if all sovereign nations had to adopt that as acceptable war-time practice? Or is it a matter of “all states are sovereign, but America is more sovereign than the others?”

Posted by Raven | Report as abusive

To Bernd Dubsmann.

My complements on your very thought provoking editorial.

This is something that both the layman and intellectual of the law in this Country already know, even though they don’t wish to discuss or contemplate it nearly enough, and that is the lawmakers in Washington don’t want these individuals in our Federal penitentiaries because it’s an open invitation to give them ‘habeas corpus’ rights -and the ability to appeal there incarceration and challenge there accusers. And if they are successful in there challenge -some day who knows?…

Maybe the U.S. lawmaker(s)who lobbied for the illegal war(s) and occupations that put them in our detention facilities perhaps one day may wind up in jail for unlawfully incarcerating all those so-called “enemy combatants”?

By the way, has anyone also noticed how POW seems to be popping up these days in the lexicon of the mainstream media given the fact that this Nation is and always has been a signatory to the Geneva Convention’s regardless of the term having to do with non-uniformed individuals on the field of battle? Tell that to the special forces and mercenaries working in Baghdad and Kabul that NEVER where standard issue military combat fatigues so that they can mix with the locals and blend into the scenery where they work doing jobs the American people will never know about?…

The President’s magnanimous gesture this week at releasing the 17 Uighurs along with the other 250 POWs never charged with a crime after more than 6 years are now set free to go no questions asked –but of course, not in the Land of the Free. There next punishment is to find some other Nation State who will take them in.

And our President along with Congress is attempting to search for new fangled ways to alter both foreign and domestic legal boundaries in the twisted legal language of “preventive detention” which essentially is the way our Government will attempt to get around legal appeals and war reparations for tortured, dead and dying.

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive

You know Raven, you have typed alot of words, giving examples of this and that, but are you really saying it is O.K. that we lose what makes us human as we treat others humans horribly?

if people are trying to kill us, why don’t we fix the reason Why they are after us, instead of just continuing the downward spiral into hell both sides seem to be falling into, all to “Win”? Win what? the first to land in hell?

I’d like to lose that contest.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Having no time to search for a better definition, let’s resort to Wikipedia:
“…an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals.”
So… let’s play that make-believe military tribunal (admittedly I am not an armed force officer to have the right to conduct such a tribunal for real. Are you?)
– Captured in combat zone? Check.
– Armed? Not wearing a uniform or any insignia distinguishing him as a legit belligerent? Check, check.
– Intent to cause harm? No doubt here whatsoever. Check.
Hello hangman, get your noose ready!

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Raven said: “Oh yes, before I forget… an “unlawful combatant”? You mean like the Nazis described the Partisans during WWII? With the same treatment of those when captured – execution? I though we prosecuted people who’d done exactly that as war criminals at the Nuremberg Trials?”
I remember the history of WW2, including the Partisan movement on Germany-occupied territories. Some of Partisan unit commanders, mostly Red Army officers who, for whatever reason, ended up behind enemy lines, often refused to admit civilians to the unit. They’d say “put on the uniform, get yourself a gun, then you can come back”. It seemed to me very unreasonable. Well, maybe a gun is necessary to join, but why the uniform? And only after coming to USA and starting to read about these events in English I understood the logic. The officers intended to save the necks of their men, and their own necks, too, from the gallows. The uniform was making, or at least supposed to make, the difference between POW treatment and immediate execution in case of capture – not that POWs were afforded a much better treatment by the Nazis. The Stalags and even Oflags were only a step above extermination KZ – but at least not immediate execution.
Later, when the disparate autonomous Partizan units were brought under centralized Stavka control, the uniform requirement was largely dropped. Moreover, the Partisans would often use German-organized local police insignia to disguize themselves – not too difficult to counterfeit since the insignia usually was just a white armband with black “Schutzpolizei” lettering, worn over civilian cloths or even Red Army uniform. According to the customs of war, wearing insignia you are not entitled to is a war crime subject to military tribunal trial and punishable in war time by execution. But the Soviet military leadership has never been known for too much care about safety and well-being of their servicemen. For them, anything goes to get the mission done, and the cost is no object, even if paid in human lives.
As Russians say, “победителей не судят” (winners are not subject to trials). If Germans won, there still would be war crime trials in which the German would have tried their enemies. For instance, the allied commanders who ordered Dresden bombardment. The Partisan commanders would end up on the defendant bench, too. But, thank God, Germans lost.

Posted by Immigrant from USSR | Report as abusive

Illegal combatants should be punished. The requirement for combatants to be clearly uniformed exists for a reason. For the protection of civilians.

Imagine if a nation had their entire army disguised as civilians. That army is used in combat against an attacking enemy. Do you think the result will be:

1. The enemy army simply stands there and waits to be shot, so they can figure out which civilans are shooting at them.

2. The enemy army turns around and goes home, or

3. The enemy army tells all civilians to leave the area, and starts shooting everyone who moves.

International laws are a luxury. Used by nations who can afford to be civilised, and fight with one hand behind their back to satisfy their civilian’s sense of moral superiority.

But rest assured. In any third world nation where an army hides behind civilian appearence, the result is that civilians are killed in masses.

An illegal combatant must be imprisoned or punished. To such an extent that people think twice before conducting war in civilian clothing. This protects civilians in the long term.

For a nation who can afford it, that will be long term imprisonment in guantanamo. For other nations who do not have the resources to play nice, it will probably be execution.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive

“Oh yes, before I forget… an “unlawful combatant”? You mean like the Nazis described the Partisans during WWII? With the same treatment of those when captured – execution? I though we prosecuted people who’d done exactly that as war criminals at the Nuremberg Trials?” – Posted by Raven
Throwing the accusation of somebody being like Nazi is a serious thing. You better back it by facts. And since you raised the issue the burden of proof is on you.
As far as I know, the Nuremberg Trials did not mention expressly the (mis)treatment of any Resistance members in particular or even in general. They were concerned with much more global issues such as war crimes or crimes against humanity, not particular actions of some field level officers, who made such decisions on the spot.
If there was something truly despicable in Nazi actions, it was making innocents suffer for Partisan actions. Taking locals hostage and then executing them in response to Resistance actions was common. Sometimes whole villages were burned down and whole population thereof killed for actions of Resistance in the vicinity. These reprisals were beyond any doubt war crimes, and if any perpetrators were caught they were tried and punished. But these reprisals had little, if anything, to do with (mis)treatment of captive Partisan.
I am not suggesting killing off the whole village in Afghanistan when an al-Qaeda terrorist is caught nearby. It’s only that particular individual who is subject to unlawful combatant treatment. Now, if al-Qaeda, Taleban, Hamas, or whoever else established a rocket launching position inside the village, I see no problem to call for air strike and level it with both combatants and civilians alike buried in the rubble. The responsible side is the one who turned a civilian object into a legitimate target, not the one that hit it.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

In WW2 it was also common for non-uniformed enemy soldiers found behind enemy lines to be executed as a spy.

The allies did their fair share of that, too. Not just the Germans.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Not at all, Anon… I am the one saying that the treatment of the inmates at Gitmo contravenes International Conventions.

I am the one saying that the USA should confer a recognised legal status to these combatants – not “no status” or some status dreamt up by Dick Cheney.

I’m the one saying that if you had to treat your dog like the US treats it’s prisoners, you’d be reported to Animal Welfare by your neigbours.

I am the one pointing out that you reap what you sow.

Read my posts again. I know they are not particularly eloquent, but they are clear enough.

Posted by Raven | Report as abusive

Throughout the last fifty years, there has been a series of binding documents.

Documents that allow you to execute a man. Or imprison him for ten years. Or shoot him. Or drop a bomb on him, even if it means killing civilians in the process.

And those documents are called the Geneva Conventions, and the Rome Statute.

Consider the following. Are you allowed to lock a dog up in a small cage? Are you allowed to shoot it dead? Are you allowed to keep it restrained?

The answer is yes, as long as it is provided by law.

So too with international law. You can kill civilians, and imprison people, or even execute them. As long as it is done legally. The conventions only prevent illegal punishments.

I agree that the immates deserve a legal status, and not a ‘non-status’. They are either prisoners of war, or they are international criminals. So give them one of those labels.

And then hit them with a suitable punishment to go with the label. A couple of years in jail should suffice.

Then America can do exactly what it was doing before. But this time it can turn to the critics and say “We did it by the book”.

Posted by Haha. | Report as abusive

Oh noes! America will reap what it sows? How will Guantanamo affect America?

Does that mean that the Arab world will start hating America? Or that certain nations will start funding, training and providing weapons to terror groups? Or that America itself might come under attack from terrorists?

If you bothered to check the news in the last decade, these things were happening already. Guantanamo was the effect, not the cause.

And last time I checked, you can treat your dog however you like, as long as it is legal. And legal means proper process, not freedom.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive

Well if the treatment is so bad let the equivalent of the Animal Welfare, the UN do something about it. They can issue a strongly worded reprimand, backed up with threat of an even stronger reprimand should we ignore it as most regimes do.
This concern for those who would attack and destroy America is interesting, but again that’s what happens when people forget we are at war. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that some people want to simplify an extremely complex issue.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

Let me list all the ideas

Turn as many Empty Factories in Every State of the Union into Greenhouses that catch as much water, sun, and energy
to be as self sufficient as possible. They can be oasis’s of Food, Heat, Shelter with Structure as Homes around these Depressed areas are Rebuilt. Plus, We would not be so dependent on food being shipped, less gas used, less pollutants.

By placing just One Solar Panel and One Wind Generator with a new Battery (A large one they will use in Electric cars) The Jobs created to make the Panels, Generators, and Batteries will be an Immediate help to our economy. The Instillation will create Jobs.
Homes that can Produce their Own energy will Lessen OUR need for Fossil Fuels across this country. This will put less pollutants in the air, as well as lessening the demand for MORE power-plants. Our National security as well as Security for the Population will increase since homes can produce their own Energy in Emergencies.

Creating a Magnetic Train system(Like Europe, but MUCH better) will lessen the amount of OIL needed for air travel since the train,Using Solar panels ALL ALONG the tracks, with wind catchers to catch the trains passing wind and mother nature, should help power itself, making it cheaper to operate, making it cheaper to travel! If we connect ALL State Capitals, Major Cities, Universities, and Casino’s how easy would it be to see OUR COUNTRY in all her Glory?
Small Business thrives on tourists!

Casino’s have always been hubs of underworld activities like Prostitution, Drugs, and Money Laundering. Why should we let Gambling make Millionaires and Billionaires out of Mafia Types, who wish to make money on our vices, when we can take that money and create a Free Health Care System. How much can we save when we CUT OUT ALL HEALTH INSURERS, who don’t care about your health, only THEIR PROFIT! Doctors pay would not be affected since Skill and Ability in that field always rise to the top. Malpractice would be rethought, since Insurers are not involved. How much better could Health Care in general be when we take out the PROFIT motive, and focus on Healing and Caring for the Ill, not making as much as possible off of them.

Where is all the State Lotto money going? I thought it was supposed to go towards Schools? YET School budgets get slashed every year while the money spent on Lotto’s keep going UP? This needs to be looked into, this discrepancy in BUDGETS.

Where is could the money come from to start these projects? How much has been spent to bailout “BANKS” and those who have been ripping us off? These people made how many BILLIONS off of the Public, you and me, NOW they get more BILLIONS to rescue them from THEIR MISTAKES, and HAVE YET to start letting the “CREDIT” flow?

Big Oil has been “Speculating”, “Price Fixing”, and engaged in “Anti-Competition” practices for HOW LONG? When was the last time you saw a “Gas Price War” from your Local Gas Stations? I’m not saying Nationalize, but why don’t we Freeze some of the Accounts of Leaders, go through these Oil Company Patents and see if they have BOUGHT technology that would improve Gas Mileage. Remember, Big Oil makes money PER GALLON, so the lower MPG your car gets, the better for them, and they have how many BILLIONS to LOBBY Congress? No wonder America’s MPG Standard is the Lowest in the World.

It is only a subtle shift in Thinking. Instead of PROFIT and CONTROL being the Focus of our Economy, we need to Make our Economy Strong, Steady, and Reliable by Building it to be that way. We just need to change LEADERSHIP at some places atop these TOO LARGE MULTINATIONALS, who do not care about the individual, region, or Nation, they only care about them, theirs, and their Bottom Line.

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

You gotta love Wikipedia. This is the opening paragraph of what you get when you search for unlawful combatant:

The Geneva Conventions apply in wars between two or more states. Article 5 of the GCIII states that the status of a detainee may be determined by a “competent tribunal.” Until such time, he is to be treated as a prisoner of war. After a “competent tribunal” has determined his status, the “Detaining Power” may choose to accord the detained unlawful combatant the rights and privileges of a POW, as described in the Third Geneva Convention, but is not required to do so. An unlawful combatant who is not a national of a neutral State, and who is not a national of a co-belligerent State, retains rights and privileges under the Fourth Geneva Convention so that he must be “treated with humanity and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial.”

So that means that unlawful combatants that are *not* from Afghanistan retain rights and privileges under GC IV and are entitled to be treated “with humanity” and not be deprived of a fair trial… thanks for the link Anonymous – most insightful.

And Anonymous… this is a debate. I asked a question (which I thought you answered well). But try and retain your awareness of where we are and what we’re doing in the process. I did not allege that you are a Nazi or that you are like a Nazi or that you wish to be a Nazi or that you will be a Nazi one day. Nor did I allege that you took part in anti-partisan operations during WWII or that you execute Gitmo prisoners… ok? It is a discussion. By the way, if you do feel that you need to take this further… I live in the UK.

Posted by Raven | Report as abusive

Dear Haha,

I agree… do it by the book.

I’m not so sure about water-boarding the family pooch though, it certainly won’t go down well in my neighbourhood. But hey… if it is legal in the USA then so be it. Is this only in your town or is it acceptable across the US?

Please keep those snippets coming. I’m learning so much about your culture :).

Posted by Raven | Report as abusive

CD. This article is about guantanamo. Not the economy.

Now lets go through your little rant (too much detail, try to make your paragraphs shorter).

1. You don’t own those empty factories. So they arn’t yours to commandeer. And even if you could, if they did become greenhouses, they wouldn’t be self sufficient. Because you should know that all farms survive by being profitable or at least breaking even. And no, they wouldn’t.

2. Solar power might be good for a hot shower. But there is no way a mini wind turbine is going to power your house in a crisis. Not unless you count the hour it takes to drain whatever ‘wunderbattery’ is storing the juice. And at the moment, people are not going to fork out the money for installation anyway.

3. Once we built a railway. Now it’s done. A glorious rebuilding project is for recovery years, not recession. Why would we fork out billions for a mag rail system? If we are going to burn a hole in our pocket just to keep people working on an unprofitable project, they might as well go onto welfare.

4. Casinos are not yours. So you have no right to their money. So commandeering it is out of the question. And private healthcare exists for one reason. It allows you a better coverage then the government can afford. So calling for it to be removed is silly.

5. In my honest opinion, it is unlikely that there is an evil lotto plot. More likely you just don’t understand how the money is assigned.

6. If those banks are not bailed out, then tens of thousands will be out of work in months, and the recession will spiral out of control. Oppose the bailout, by all means. Just don’t expect the government to listen.

7. The oil is not yours to do as you please. Nor are the oil companies. So talking about roughing up the CEOs is silly. If you don’t want their oil, don’t buy it and walk.

8. Profit runs the economy. Always has, always will. But don’t take my word for it. Pick up a textbook called ‘fundamentals of economics’ and have a read.

Now rather then respond to my posts by repeating your views, please post in a forum about economic matters.

Posted by YouKnowWho | Report as abusive

Waterboarding is a bit of an iffy subject. Odds are a prisoner could get worse treatment for getting a parking ticket in Tehran. Especially if he comes from the wrong family.

I myself find waterboarding distasteful. And of dubious use. More information could be gotten by three months of sensory isolation, or a shot of truth juice. I am against torture as a whole. But my personal views are not relevent to practical realities.

If anything, I hope you will begin to understand that the legality of something depends on the law. Not what you might think is morally correct.

If the International Court makes a ruling on waterboarding being torture, then it is torture by definition. If there is no ruling, then it isn’t. Note the absence of morality involved.

PS. I don’t live in America. Never try to guess the identity of a person on a cyberforum. It just looks bad.

Posted by HaHa | Report as abusive

BD, as my final broadcast on this sorry affair… Ever since first learning of the atrocities of WWII, I’ve been trying to understand “the evil that men do”. I’ve researched this topic for nearly 3 decades and have sadly learnt only the following:

a. Disappointingly, I will never fully understand this… a disappointment only because of the effort spent.
b. I fear no man, but I’m afraid of mankind. I’d much rather deal with dumb beasts than intelligent ones.
c. Reality has a nasty habit of asking of us only to make easy moral choices. Allow me to explain:

“I only built a couple of dormitories.”
“I only erected a fence.”
“All I did, was build some showers.”
“Me? I only drove a train. That’s all I did.”
“They wanted large ovens, so I supplied them with some.”

None of these actions are wrong, are they? But so the war-time German society stumbled so far past its own value system that by the time it woke up, it had no idea where it was or how it had gotten there. I’m not talking about EinsatzGruppen members here… just normal everyday people – that *knew*, yet did nothing or even assisted.

How does Gitmo fit into all of this. Am I implying that the USA is on it’s way to a fascist dictatorship? Not at all… thankfully, sanity seems to be burning through (at long last) and the democratic values that form the foundations of that nation, will win the day. Much of this discussion is therefore after the fact, and should be categorised as “lessons learnt”.

But with that, a word of caution to those that will take council. Reality will always be there to ask you to make small moral choices. It is to your conscience as rust is to a steel shield. You need to choose well. Every time.

That’s it from me, until the next interesting topic.

Posted by Raven | Report as abusive

Here is just another way the Communist FED and its supporting “Banks” and “Big Business” screw the economy, and you and me. What is Inflation? Inflation is simply an easy way for the Rich to get Richer while keeping me and you POOR.

If you have, like these “International Banks” and “Multinationals” 1 Billion dollars in assets. An increase in Inflation by as little as 1% increases the “Bank” or “Business” assets by 100,000 dollars. However, when you DO NOT HAVE Billions of dollars(Like you and me), Inflation raises the cost of living, the cost of “DOING BUSINESS”, the cost of resources, the cost of retail space, and the cost of Private Property.

If you look at the whole “Economy” from “Big Business” point of view, Who does “Business” loss “Market Share” too? Small Business of course. Can’t have that, can’t have quality products made on a small scale.

So the FED and its supporting “Banks” and “Businesses” have raised the “PRICE” of Everything (With Inflation) to keep Small Business as minimal as possible. We all have heard the saying “It takes money to make money”, well, this Economic System of Debt the FED, its “Banks” and “Creditors” have created over the last 40 years makes sure it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to start a Small Business unless your Family has money. Who does this benefit? Seems like “Big Business” over me and you.

How much does it cost to Run for OFFICE? How many Millions? How can this Country be “For the People, By the People” when the POOR have no one in office? Who really has the INTEREST of the POOR in mind when only the RICH are in office? No wonder the LAW of the LAND, as well as the Economy are slanted in favor of the RICH.

Another example of how “Business” screws us, on purpose. Wal-Mart’s business model is based on Cheap Prices. What do we get for a Cheap price? A Cheap Product from Communist China. Here is the Subtlety of this Communist Economic Trap. Like a sad cycle, people shop at Wal-mart because it is the only place they can afford to shop, but the product they buy breaks, forcing a person to buy the same Cheap Communist China Product over and over. Can’t Afford a Good Quality product that lasts because “Business” in general won’t pay enough, so it’s off to Communist China Made Wal-mart again to buy cheap stuff(It’s all we can afford) sending money back to China, who uses it to buy our Debt, Banks, and Politicians. The Cycle repeats.

I’m telling you Folks, it is an Economic War China is waging with us. Our Media has been bought, if you don’t believe me, why does Robert Murdock alone(ONE MAN!) own almost 65% of America Media and 45% of the Worlds?

Do you think a “Businessman” is going to ALLOW his own Media Company to say anything BAD about him, his Republican party, or Business in General? If you Don’t think “Big Business” doesn’t wish to control you and all aspects of your life, then why does only ONE Multinational own MTV, VH1, and CMT? HHmmm, if i wanted to influence the Minds and Lives of Children and Young Adults, what better way than through their Music and TV. Who wants to dare tell me that MTV doesn’t influence a child’s life. You don’t think it is planned that way? What happened to PROTEST SONGS? Never allowed. What about Protests in Papers? NOT ALLOWED unless they were Democrats. Begin to see? Didn’t Germany Own the Media? Instead of a Government, a Small Group of Men (Republicans Mostly) are following Hitlers lead.

Why do school budgets keep getting slashed? Our children are our MOST important resource! What does it say about our LEADERSHIP in this country when Education is of the Least Importance? DUMB people are easily TRICKED by these Harvard and Yale taught “Multinational Business Executives”!

China has been at it for 40 years people. Can you not see the slow, but every so steady, downfall of America and her way of life since the 70’s? LOOK AT THE SYSTEM! Any system is put in place. What kind of SYSTEM have these Self Serving “Politicians” have put in place with the LAWS they have written?

Posted by C.D. Walker | Report as abusive

Raven: Very thoughtful “final broadcast.” Thanks.


Posted by Bernd Debusmann | Report as abusive

Bernd you should know that Guantanamo is not about US security.

IS it about US claim on Universal High moral and Ethic?

Here are details:

After over 5 yrs in prison these prisoners poses no threat.

USA steps into the same trap twice – imposing US legal system on people who don’t belong to US legal system.

Guantanamo is perfect example that we can protect our Law but we cannot impose our Law outside US. We end up with something like triangle with 5 corners.

Legally speaking, who are these prisoners in Guantanamo?

1. They were captured by US Army and our ‘allies’ all over Afghanistan and Iraq. Nobody followed ‘proper arrest procedure’ like Miranda Law :). US court will throw away their cases on technicalities.

2. Geneva Conventions also doesn’t work here. It was written as result of European wars XIX and intended to protect POWs. Latest clarifications from International Tribunal made it very narrow putting militia/terrorist into the same category as civilians and subject to civil courts (see n.1). To expose Guantanamo prisoners to Military courts US run into trap for the first time coin stillborn term ‘enemy combatants’. That we don’t like anymore.

3. Now US want them back to main stream legal system. In US courts they will walk away see n.1. But humane Geneva Conventions that intended to protect everybody even militant and terrorists also fails. Because once war is over all displaced must return back to their home countries. Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen etc will happy to charge them with brutal anti-mercenary laws and don’t care about technicalities. Now US end-up protecting enemies from US allies.

‘Ethic’ US don’t force US law on Amazonian cannibals and 100’s other cases.

US Law is not pure mathematical axiom. US law based on Constitution (That itself based on our (Christian/Jewish) and XX/XXI very liberal interpretation.

It simply doesn’t work for people who put Religion over State, mass armies in no-man lands and bring battles to civilians all other the world.

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive

you’re ridiculous.
Just another terrorist sympathizing armchair Liberal that’s pandering to the appeasement crowd!
What you don’t realize is that, once the Gitmo detainees are on American soil, Supermax or not, it will increase the threat level of ALL Americans throughout the world, especially in vacation/resort areas overseas…not to exclude our neighbor, Mexico!

Anyone that has studied terrorist tactics knows that hostage taking for prisoner release is a foremost ploy of terrorists.
In fact, today’s headlines announced the execution of a British hostage by Mali terrorists as a result of the Brit govt refusing to release an Al Qaeda leader from jail.

Once the Gitmo detainees step foot on US soil, the hostage taking will begin. You can count on it.
Then again, you’d rather see them in solitary, windowless confinement at any price, wouldn’t you?

Posted by josephb | Report as abusive

Calm down Joe, I’m sure that was more an opportunity for you to insult and attack those who aren’t party-line republicans but this is where you’re supposed to further debate. Why would terrorists prefer to have their friends in Cuba than in the US? What’s the difference to them? The only argument I’ve heard that I can take seriously is the cost argument, that since it’s already built it’d be more expensive to build more prisons or provide pricey accomodations at current prisons. However prisons are a profit business, we can rest assured a warden or prison owner would be happy to have them if their income went up.

Bernd this may be unusual but if I could make a request for a future blog, the issue being the hypocrisy of modern nations and nuclear weapons. The way we freak out about other countries trying to obtain them when the countries who start the most wars are the ones with all the nukes.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive


some things about those naive and uninformed people who cry about Gitmo:

1. the people detained there have no rights under Geneva convention, which is only applicable to UNIFORMED combatants. you fight without being uniformed in an army, you aren’t covered.

2. The people at Gitmo are not people that the Geneva convention was designed to protect, specifically normal citizens of a country who were drafted into a national army to fight a war for their country. These scumbags have come from far away countries to blow up kids and chop aid workers heads off. There is no chapter in the Geneva convention to cover that.

3. those who whine about how those lovely little men in Gitmo just want to go home and sip tea are insane. The guys still at Gitmo are hardcore killers, and the supposed “reformed” guys we have released are already been caught back on the battlefield. Anyone who doesn’t have access to the classified files tracking these guys should know that they have no idea what they are talking about. There is no “debate” about what will happen next. We already know what these guys do when they get out. They go right back to the battlefield and kill more innocent people. In case you’ve been asleep the last 20 years, there is a huge militia spread out in the world that just wants to kill everyone who is not a conservative extremist Muslim. And fortunately we now have them on the run and hiding instead of taking flying lessons in Miami.

Posted by g trails | Report as abusive

To josephb,
I hardly fit into ‘terrorist sympathizing armchair Liberal’. But I don’t see how Gitmo prisoners on US soil will increase risk.

Al-Queda bend on attacking US and will strike at very fist opportunity. Gitmo prisoners cannot contribute more to Al-Quesda determination.

I also don’t want them around, just to send them back to their homelands and local security will be deal with them according to their customs.

Posted by Serey | Report as abusive

An excellent article !
As a domestic “Liberal” and a Foreign policy and Military “Hawk”, I have long followed the, (and pondered over ), debate about Guantanamo and it’s remaining detainees.
My opinion is: (1)The tribunals for these terrorists should be held in Guantanamo, with their sentences to be served in the SuperMax prisons. (2)Those who will not cooperate, or will not contribute to their own defense, should be sent to Saudi Arabia for trial and execution.(3)’Gitmo’ should remain active while the “War on Terror” continues, as it will be even more difficult to find another place to house future detainees, and we have already seen our alleged “Allies” reluctance to accept any of these prisoners.(4) Now that President Obama has met with the realities vs his campaign promises, and seen the resistance to importing these prisoners, he surely has the “Political Capital” to expend by reversing his position, and stating that Gitmo is the best solution for dealing with these enemy combatants not covered by any Geneva Convention protocols.

Posted by Herman G. Morgan III | Report as abusive

Really? In a country that can’t convict OJ of murder and can convict the guys that arrested the knucklehead in Birmingham, you would like to bring folks that are intent upon killing thousands of Americans???

They don’t all have to get away, or sway someone to their cause. Just one will do.

And that one will prove you wrong.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

Guantanamo is the proxy argument for both President Bush, the United States Congress & Senate and now the administration of President Obama to gloss over the domestic problems from improperly administered domestic intelligence gathering aparatus.

We will hear about Waterboarding but will never hear about Waterside Plaza-ing. The public is never going to know the scope of abuse of domestic surveillance programs, the destruction of US Families, the enormous costs and the sacrifice of American’s Core Values right here in the United States.

We just give them one more soundbite on guantanamo and Nero goes out for hamburgers, while a multitude of domestic cases leave the victims wallowing uncertain if the country they were raised in, still in reality exists.

The hard truth about Guantanamo is that the same ‘at all costs’ mentality that prevailed within the CIA, was used on a select group of domestic American Citizens.

They might not have Waterboarded, but they certainly used a host of other methods of threats, intimidation and inappropriate conduct unbecoming to any US Agency.

The shame becomes we watch in fear the fire breathing 90 lbs men in Guantanamo and ignore the normal middle class American Family that was accidentally/on purpose anhiliated by inappropriate and unregulated security action in Newburgh, NY.

Nero is now dancing with the stars in Egypt, when he should put his Burger Bag down and be honest with the people of the United States about just how far they went to silience my family because of a stupid government mistake.

Having a Father-in-law who is a famous Nuclear Scientist did not make my family dangerous terrorists.

President Obama, be a President, put down the violin and tell the truth to the People of the United States.

It gets worse every day you do not.

Posted by James Reginald Harris, jr. | Report as abusive

There is no reason to bring these bad guys to America. We, the people, overwhelmingly don’t wish to have them here. We, the ordinary people, also don’t give much about the PC elites of Europe. The people of Europe also don’t wish to have these guys in their backyards. The detainees should be handed to the governments of countries they are citizens of. We should request a guarantee from these governments that they will not set them free to continue to engage in terrorist activities. The welfare of these detainees is not our concern. They don’t belong in a civilized society.

Posted by James | Report as abusive

You know what’s so great about all this? the fact it will be a nice lesson to all those people who voted for change. How much change have we gotten? Is gitmo closed? No, an order to close it was signed, but it’s no closer to being closed than when Shrub was in charge. Is the Iraq war over? No, suppossedly there’s a plan to get the troops out, we’ll see about that. No more military tribunals right.. what’s that oh we got tribunals with “enhanced” due process… awesome, is that like enhanced interogation techniques… Economy still in the crapper, domestic spying still going on . Where’s the change I was promised?
See I never fell for that line of bull, some people are going to be real disappointed, but hey live and learn. I’m actually kinda digging this whole fake change, the rest of the world seems to be buying it. Oh and of course all those young people who got out the vote for our “new” administration.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

I think Mr Debusmann’s point is not that we should eagerly welcome these terrorist suspects in our backyard. It’s simply that having foreign-born terrorists on our turf is no more risky than, say, domestically imprisoning an American-born convicted rapist-serial killer. Most of us sleep plenty sound every night with America’s most dangerous men looked a mere hour or so away. Seriously. Prison Break was just a TV show.

Furthermore, if all this fear and unease is real and legit (not staged and/or irrational), where was the fear for all those innocent Cuban communities in and around Guantanomo Bay? And for crying out loud, can we correctly refer to these “terrorist scumbags” as detained suspects? That small verbal gesture of decency and accuracy won’t compromise our national security, but it will add a certain level humanity and credibility to our cause.

Posted by caleb | Report as abusive

Caleb raises a great point. Why are terrorists more scary than children-rapists or serial murderers or those who are a combination? If you guys are worried about our due process then why aren’t you griping about those type of monsters going through it? If you think america is unsafe with terrorists on our soil why is america safe with so many of the world’s most monstrous criminals already in our prisons?

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Thanks, Caleb. Exactly my point.



Posted by BDebusmann | Report as abusive

Has it occurred to anybody in this ridiculous debate that transferring these inmates to a federal prison will place them in a much more onerous environment. Surely Guantamano has a soiled reputation because of waterboarding, etc., but can’t we just eliminate the abuses. Why must we throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Posted by bennett harris | Report as abusive

Any of these scum at Gitmo who shot at our troops or planted bombs while cowardly masquerading as civilians should be tried as spies and executed.

Posted by Sir Vivor | Report as abusive

I am going to seriously question the intelligence of anyone who does not see a differance between a rapist/serial killer and a terrorist. How many rapists or serial murderers target groups of civilians for death using i.e.d.’s? Rapists and serial killers target specific victims. Terrorists target large groups of people for maximum damage. If even one convict who has been converted to Islam and trained in terror tactics while in prison by one of these dogs is released after serving his sentence goes out and murders a bunch of people who do we hold responsible? I say Obama and all the people who backed him in closing Gitmo. Sleep on that.

Posted by Sir Vivor | Report as abusive

I think one thing that the author forgot to mention or overlook is the possibility of holding US at ransom by any terror organisation, if the terrorists are in US which will complicate the matter. Better to keep them away from US soil.

Posted by al | Report as abusive

You ignore the larger issue: if Gitmo is closed it is a victory in the propaganda war between terrorists and the US. It will be interperted by the Muslim world as another sign of weakness and vacillation, not as a gesture of reconciliation. And as Liberals used to say about gun control: if even one person loses their life as a result of these actions it will be too much. You know some of them are going back to terrorism when they are realeased and will again try to kill Americans. Apparently you don’t care.

Posted by 7HEAVENS | Report as abusive

Article misses the point. Once these terrorists are in the US, lawyers from the ACLU and other ultra-left groups will be doing everything that can be done to get them out of solitary, out of ultra-max, into general populations where they can prosletize and out of jail and on our streets. It is not a coincidence that none of our European “allies” will take these guys. Even the “less dangerous” ones we have released to various programs have a high rate of serious recidivism. These are bad guys who should be kept isolated from the US until Al Queda and the other Islamofascist groups are annihilated. Bush and Cheney got it right and successfully prevented any attacks on the US after 9/11 – even while the Europeans were getting hit. Obama is dismantling the Bush/Cheney protective mechanisms. If no attacks occur on his watch he can make a case it was a good policy. If any successful attacks occur he will clearly have failed in his duties and should be impeached. If we lose a city then his name will go down in infamy as the man whose ideologically driven decisions stupidly cost us a city.

Posted by student1776 | Report as abusive

Wow, this is a real own goal this whole Guantanamo issue, well done!

8 years on you guys still don’t get this terrorism thing.
I landed in London 30 minutes before the bombs went off on the 7/7 attacks here. I was getting all sorts of phone calls from SC worried that I had been caught up in them. People back in SC were still pettrified from the aftermath of 9/11, even though that was 1,000 miles away, the equivalent of me panicing over a bomb going off in Moscow!
Although I was in London at the time of the 7/7 attacks, I was no where near, it had been closer before!
In the early 80’s I walked past the Knightsbridge Barracks 20 minutes before it was blown apart by an IRA bomb. Not long after that I had just left a burger joint when it was blown apart by a bomb from the same IRA cell.
The funding for this group came directly from donations to the IRA in America, “for the orphans of British atrocities” they would say as they rattled their collection tins in your bars!

So 9/11 comes and you guys finally wake up to what Terrorism means. Yet still I dont see you dealing with it.
Please explain this “war on Terror”.
I was under the immpression that all terrorist groups would be targetted, seems I was mistaken.

To terrorise, the act of one group against another of inflicting terror and fear.

I am neither Black nor racist, but it seems the very American KKK remain untouched by this war on terror. Yet I suspect a Blackman would feel real fear in their presence.

What about the pro life groups that condone the murder of a doctor, Terrorists?

Eight years on and you guys have still got a lot to learn. The prisoners of gitmo are not to be feared, the ones to be feared are those that replaced them and havent been caught yet and the seemingly endless supply of money and equipment that still finds its way into their hands.
Are they doing whip rounds for their orphans in your bars?

Posted by Britannia | Report as abusive

Someone in the comments section wrote “Even the “less dangerous” ones we have released to various programs have a high rate of serious recidivism.” This has beem proven to be a propaganda myth by Faux News.

The difficulty with the argumentand debate – and that which Obama is trying to straddle, is that no one in Guantanamo Camp or any of the other shadow internment camps the US uses, are Terrorists or Criminals, unless a court can rule that they are… They do not fit any category under the Geneva Conventions and therefor are not enemy combatants – and at present the US Administration are ripping through the principles of Habeas Corpus, constitutionality and due process of the law. The Obama administration need to get their act together and either let those their predecessors have kidnapped and flown to GITMO go, or charge them with an offence. The Bush Administration, created this legal black hole in the first place, by prosecuting an illegal war and kidnapping civilians off the streets of foreign countries. If the new President could find 90 spare spines to insert into the Senators who failed to support him and who are running scared of the Fox News/Chaney/Talk Radio diatribe it might produce a more lasting result.

Posted by David Knopfler | Report as abusive

Why is it that some argue that we are holding innocent people in Gitmo and then turn around and say we should just put them in SUPERMAX for the rest of their lives? So which is it? They are innocent or they are dangerous guys who need to stay away from all of us. If SUPERMAX is fine with you, why not just leave them in GITMO? After all nobody has ever escaped GITMO>
If fear that if these guys come here, some lawyer will get some of them off the hook and after they are free, who will take them? where will they go? what will they do?

Posted by Cali | Report as abusive

I have a theory that should work. Someone needs to be given a clearing to go down to Gitmo and do a documentary and show how harmless these people are. They are just people who were innocently rounded up for purposes to show Dick had a reason for being in Afganistan. This was about 1 single person: consequently 2 countries have been destroyed? Wake up, get busy, this is a set up America. Work it out you have been had. There is no reason to invade a country just because it harbers a so called ’terrorist’ otherwise the War Crimes Tribunal would be saying someone one get the harboured Nazis and Military Juntas in the US out for an airing but more importantly a hearing…..No one has the might of the US. The only real use of WMDs that have been used in an attrocious way of any significance are from the US……
These people are innocent – they need to be set free or given a new home. Stop treating them like criminals American where is your sense of fairness. Be dignified and stop being so paranoid. Get a grip. Cat from Nuclear Free New Zealand

Posted by Cato | Report as abusive

Let’s all take a breath here, and get less emotional and more logical. Obama’s plan will likely be a combination of detainee assessment followed by conviction or release – conviction of the hardcore nutjobs, and release of the innocents that are being held at Gitmo. The convicted get life without parole in SuperMax isolation and a free supply of suicide pills. End Of Story. I’d be proud to have them locked up in the SuperMax closest to my house. BushCo created the mother of all black holes in this ridiculous mess called Gitmo, and it will take time for Obama to get us out of it. But Obama has already changed the government’s policy stance on this issue, already announced the eventual closing of Gitmo, already started the process for detainee assessment. This is part of the change he promised, and he is delivering – patience, people, patience. You don’t clean up BushCo messes like this overnight, especially with the hardcore nutjobs on Faux Noise and bloated entertainers like Limbaugh aiding the terrorists in their ratings-grabbing negative commentary on Obama.

Posted by Roc1 | Report as abusive

Exactly, let’s wait I don’t know let’s take a round figure like 4 years for Obama to clean up this mess. Then he can still claim if there’s no resolution or any ongoing crisis that’s it’s still Bush’s fault. Patience people, the messiah needs time. Let’s not hold him up to any standards other than what he says. Action speak loud, unless you are a great speaker who does nothing. Then words and intentions are all that matters. I say we just let him do nothing and keep making these great speeches. Talk is cheap, why demand any action. It’s funny how almost everything that people like is to Obama’s credit, but everything he does ( or fails to do) is Bush’s fault.
Not that I in anyway defend the previous administration, but please folks get over the fact that the man isn’t Bush ( which was his main attribute on the campaign trail)and actually judge him on what he does or fails to do. Saying he’s better than Bush is damning with faint praise.
It’s a sad state of affairs when the man gets credit for signing an order to close Gitmo, with no plan on how to actually do it. He’s now going to continue the military tribunals he argued against, now with “enhanced” due process, what a crock is that like “enhanced” interrogation techniques? He’s also let off the telecoms, continues the war in Iraq … what ever I’ll leave it to the corps of defenders to argue what he’s accomplished. The rest of us are still awaiting our promised change.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

No supermax prison can withstand the stroke of a judge’s pen. Unlike the convicted terrorists that are already held there, these are terrorists that have not been convicted in the American civilian judicial or military judicial systems. One must assume that there will be no judicial appeal to their capitivity without trial for the rest of their natural lives. I’m not willing to bet on that outcome – too many trial lawyers looking to make a name for themselves famously or infamously.

Posted by Cowboy60 | Report as abusive

“what ever I’ll leave it to the corps of defenders to argue what he’s accomplished. The rest of us are still awaiting our promised change.” – frank

First off, you didn’t vote for him so obviously your not interested in the change he would hope to accomplish. But the commentator is right, Obama under-estimated closing Gitmo … and he got caught with a republican right cross.

But once again, the GOP has successfully destroyed any merits in their core beliefs by setting fire to it because it was Obama’s policy and stoking that fire with emotional reactions void of any real facts.

In the midst of economic turmoil, the GOP impishly works to ensure that things goto hell in a hand basket regardless of the cost to America. Thats almost as vile as the ultra-liberals who gleefully watched the body count of the Iraq war as it fueled their oppositional stance to it. It’s all sick and makes me hate the far right as much as i disdain the far left. Now add to this the fact that what i once thought was the far right is turning out to just be the ‘right’ wing.

One of the many things you right-wingers fail to acknowledge is that Bush/Cheney worked pretty hard to receive the animosity they got. I didn’t hate Bush right when he took office and i even rallied around him during 9-11. He had friends. We wanted him to succeed against the Taliban and terrorist. We wanted the bush era to work. Then came Cheney and the neo-cons (not Republicans) and all the abuses of power followed by secrecy.

Obama has been a moderate. Despite all predictions he’s shown that he is not ideological … he’s practical. He’s dissappointed the far left as much as any. He is a great speaker and he is great at getting the best of the best to work on his team regardless of their political affiliation. He’s got more republicans in high ranking positions then any other president. However, he is the iron hand behind the velvet glove … and if you don’t start to come up with some ideas instead of setting fire to ours … he and the rest of us are going to knock your teeth out!

Posted by Juls | Report as abusive

This is fun stuff, Gitmo was the answer and in all likely hood, is going to remain the answer to the question of what to do with foreign terrorist who are picked up on the battle field by our military or by members of our intelligence agencies around the world. The reason why we are detaining these individuals in a prison in Cuba is because we are unable to prosecute them in a US court, because the evidence against them is either less then perfect because it was gathered on a battlefield or was obtained through the possible use of enhanced interrogation, which was legal but now is not so legal due to the current political winds. Also there is no real standard that defines what a terrorist is or what an act of terrorism entail in the law, me and you will both recognize if we saw it on TV but the law is a bit different.
The goal of counter-terrorism is preventative and not reactionary, which is a key difference between it and how our judicial proceedings here at home. A crime is committed, there is a trail of evidence leading back to back to the individual who committed the crime, and thus a case can be brought against said individual, but if you are trying to prevent a terrorist attack you would be doing everyone a great disservice by waiting around for an attack to occur and then go about prosecuting the ones responsible.
Also the argument but out there by the President that Gitmo has recruited more terrorist then it ever detained, is fundamental a misrepresentation of the purpose Gitmo has serves in our War against Terror. Gitmo serves, as a crucial part in our intelligence gathering activities, the prisoners there are Terrorist or Enemy Combatants, and through interrogation we have gained valuable intelligence, which has helped us prevent attack here at home and abroad. Now for a statement of fact, the biggest recruiting tools used by terrorist and their affiliates is not the bad PR the US might generate, it is successful attacks against the US/Allies and its interest. In this understanding, if Gitmo has played a crucial role in preventing these attacks then it has already more than payed for itself in the number of terrorist recruits it has prevented from being recruited by stopping successful attacks from occurring.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

Cowboy60 the rule of law and it’s fair application is what separates us from them. It’s why we are the good guys and they are not. The fact that they get a fair trial IS what our troops have fought for since WWII to these modern wars. If a government can declare a person abroad an enemy combatant and hold them indefinitely with no trial … then its not a very far leap to declare a person here at home an enemy of the state and hold them with no trial. The fact we give a fair trial to terrorists makes us morally SUPERIOR to them. I am willing to risk a guilty man gone free is far less troublesome then the rounding up of innocent people.

Posted by Juls | Report as abusive

On cue, the defenders are ready. No i didn’t vote for him, I voted for Ron Paul! I wanted change too, but real change not talk about change. You can blame whoever you want, he said he would close Gitmo, and it’s really not the GOP that’s thrown the wrench in the works. It’s his buddies in Europe who wanted it closed but don’t want to do anything to help. Pretty much what you always get from the EU, they’re always there when they need you! Funny how socialists apparently lost out in the latest elections there while they’ve won here. You can spin nationalizing industries, socialized medicine and tax and spend policies as moderate to fools, smart people know what we’ve got and it ain’t moderate on economics. He hasn’t been as lefty on gitmo or the wars because he knew he couldn’t change the unfortunate momentum, he simply lied on the campaign trail and people eager to be done with Bush and his cronies ate it up. Now they will try to defend him and blame the GOP (who aren’t helping anything). Truth is he knew he couldn’t just close Gitmo, knows he will leave troops in Iraq for probably as long as we have had troops in Korea, but that wouldn’t sell during the elections. I don’t blame him so much for the practicalities he faces, I blame the fools who believed him. Seems the only change we’re going to get is to spread some of my wealth to those who would rather collect government dole than work. I don’t think that’s the change most people wanted, but oh well that’s what you get for believing any politician.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

I always get a kick out of columnists who sit on the beach pontificating about how to solve major issues when none of them; including your president, have so much as run a hot dog stand.Dick Cheney; I know ,the evil white devil conservative, seems to know a thing or two about national defense issues.He recently remarked that the wrong result in a criminal trial held in the U.S. could result in these choir boys being released here.By why confuse the argument of the fascists with the facts. After reading this buffons column this quote seems appropriate. “Complex problems have easy solutions….and there always wrong.”

Posted by dbor21 | Report as abusive

Our Justice Department here in Burnet TX occasionally has some difficulty in holding an inebriated driver overnight, especially if there is a wrongful death involved…I suppose we can always use a few more terrorists cleaning up trash on the highways.

Posted by Dangerous Dave | Report as abusive

There’s the risk that they’ll be released. That’s a big one. And frankly, I’m slightly less concerned about them wandering the streets with the average person than I am about them being in prisons and converting hardened and violent criminals to their way of thinking. If each terrorist winds up converting several other prisoners (and there is data to support this concern), we could rapidly multiply our problem by locking them up. Is anyone promising they won’t have that opportunity? Not that I’ve heard.

Posted by Pat | Report as abusive

I’m always confused by neocons and their love of Dick Cheney. How could a 5 time Vietnam-war draft dodger be such a military hero to these people?

Also no one seems to know what the word “suspect” means. You guys sure know what “terror” means but you see no difference in terrorists and terror suspect. Also what about the hundreds of Guantanamo detainees that were released on Bush’s watch, why is it so frightening to potentially have one or a couple released under Obama’s watch? What’s the difference?

I always wonder how neocons are able to walk around outside, from what it sounds like when you talk to them you’d think they run and hide everytime a loud bang happens. Who knows it could be a released Guantanamo Bay detainee doing a suicide bombing or a North Korean missile touching down! Lookout!!

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Unable to deal with actual opposition arguments, this columnist sets up strawmen to be knocked down. While it’s true that convicted felons rarely escape, that is not where the debate lies. The first question is whether these folks deserve the same protections afforded citizens. The next is whether a winnable criminal case can be presented, given much of the evidence is either classified or inadmissible under our justice system. Finally, it’s certainly true that the Bush administration released hundreds of detainees while retaining two basic groups: the worst of the worst who should never be released, and those who face persecution or execution should they be returned to their countries. Rather than give credit where credit is due, the obvious effort by the previous administration to avoid holding non-terrorists is either ignored or given as evidence that the remainder should also be released.

No attention should be paid to columnists that do not start with the facts, but rather with unlikely and exaggerated scenarios. This columnist further exaggerates the perception of bias by ignoring the fact that the current administration has revived military tribunals.

Posted by Len Johnson | Report as abusive

I look out across the Political landscape of our Country and I see America being slowly ripped off of her foundations by Democrats and Republicans both, with the help of Lobbyists and others of course. America has lost her direction. We, all of us, are responsible. We listened, we voted, we were persuaded by very eloquently words towards ideas that contradict with the Ideals of Liberty, Freedom, and Property promised in our Constitution, the Document our Country freed itself with and based itself upon.

Both political parties over the years have divided and polarized this Countries issues to the point that both parties have lost the Political Direction America needs to take. Democrats have shown their fiscal irresponsibility and socialist ideals rather clearly with President Obama. Over the years Republicans have fallen deeper into the arms of “Big Business” and the Dogma of Religion. Both Parties have drifted away from the Constitution, separation of Church and State, personal freedom, liberty and “Free Market Capitalism”

Big Business destroys the Free Market because of its size, it is simply too hard to compete with a Multinationals deep pockets when you are a small businessman, or a family business that can not get a line of credit large enough. The same reasoning can be applied to the Democrats gaining control of GM and AIG, with which they could undermine Insurers and other car makers in America with their size and Government backing. Both parties have been pulled, used, and manipulated by the FED, International Banks, Wall St. insiders, Industry and Business contacts, Lobbyists, large campaign contributors and Self Serving Interests.

Carved into the Thomas Jefferson Monument in Washington D.C., where I have stood in awe several times when I lived in Northern Virginia, are words I have based everything I have done on, and everything I plan to do. Those words
“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man”.
If you read the words Thomas Jefferson left for us, you will see he warned us against this very situation we now find ourselves facing.

This is why I propose that America needs a new direction, a new purpose. We need new ideas that will help us find our way back to our roots, back to the Liberty and Freedom America was famous for. I want to create a new Force in politics based on what made America the Greatest Free Country in the world. We need to take all ideas, talk to each other, listen to each other, compromise like Ladies and Gentleman, like Americans, and implement those idea without the arguing and bickering and back talking both political parties are known for.

Here is an example of what I mean. This Healthcare issue. Both sides have good points and ideas, along with bad ideas. Both sides are also being influenced by Lobbyists, Health Insurers, and others. We need health care, better health care. We spend the most on that care, but we are not even in the top 20, or even the top 40. Where is all that money going? Republicans do not want a single public player for fear of a Monopoly, as they should. Democrats say that a single public plan is the only way to provide the coverage needed by the poor and uninsured.

Let us be smart. Instead of a single Government plan, why don’t we break it up, public health insurance plans, by State? The Constitution clearly states whatever power not given to the Federal Government is regulated to the States. Each State has health programs already in place, I simply want to take Medicare, Medicaid, and all other Federal health programs and roll them into a superfund that will be split and divided amongst the State programs by population.
Americans already pay for healthcare with Medicare. I wish to increase Taxes on Casino profits and funnel those taxes into each States health program. What you lose at a casino is your money already, why should we let a vice like gambling continue to profit a few Mafia types when it can be used to better our lives? Why raise taxes on US if we do not have to?

Imagine the Job increase on two fronts. How many of us would go to Casino’s more knowing that even if we lose, we really are not losing. With more people traveling to Casinos (On a Train System I have in mind) the more chance small business along the way will grow from tourists. Jobs that support casinos should increase like dealers, servers, cleaners, security, cooks, along with jobs that go with Spa’s, Golf courses, and delivery services to those hot spots. Think of the relief families will have, financial and other, when they do not have to pay extraordinary prices for health coverage? Each State should have plenty of money to pay for the projected increase in work force needed for the health care of our elderly.

By placing the control of these funds in State hands, it places the control of these funds closer to you, the voting public, the Real Government of America. That is the spirit of America. That is the direction I know in my heart America needs to take. Of course details will need to be hammered out, but that is were you, the People, can be heard in your State, where you will not be drowned out by the other 49 States who think Healthcare should be this way, or that way.

We can even add the Militaries Budget for healthcare into the fund we split to ensure our Vets get the same care every American deserves. I have seen some of these VA hospitals and we need to do better, we can do better, we will do better. If we implement the Democrat plan to digitalize all health records, which should save Billions, the State run programs should make Private health care insurers become more competitive, or, Private Insurers can provide extra coverage, supplemental coverage for those who wish to have the best doctors since doctors need to be able to distinguish themselves by their ability, and deserve to be paid for that hard earned skill.

You see what can be done when we look at a situation from both sides, take what works from both, but make it work for all Americans and America. I want to create a Political Party based on this political idea of Americans and America first, not Business, Bankers, Lobbyists, and Special Interests who have Globalization as a goal. Thomas Jefferson created the Democratic-Republican party. I wish to do the same to bring America back to her roots, back to what made her great, the Greatest Free Country in the world. Like Yellow surrounds some of our American flags, almost as a protector, I suggest Yellow be our color with the every ready, and vigilante MinuteMan as our Mascot to remind us when action needs to be taken.

I have no money, no contacts in Business, or Wall St., or Washington to influence me to their way of “Playing Politics”. I am not here to play. I am here to restore America to her glory, but I can not do it alone. We, as citizens, need to stand up, like the Minutemen of old, and fight for what is right, for what we want, for the Ideals America represents. And if Republicans and Democrats continue not to listen to the People, we need to become Democratic-Republicans and show these Politicians the Error of their ways and restore America, remake her, rebuild her better and stronger than ever.

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive

I do not think that we will be able to set anyone free from Gitmo. If they were not terrorists going in, they will almost assuradly be terrorists coming out. I do not think that there is a good way out of Gitmo. The one thing that we cannot do is keep Gitmo open until the last one dies. At some point it will have to be closed.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

guys, get real:
Obama does not need to court us in Europe, we already liked him when he made his speech to the Democratic Convention in Boston;
since Guantanamo started how many prisoners were prosecuted and found guilty (I mean in the proper internationally approved way) and how many high security prisoners escaped from US prisons?;
what is the matter with Cheney, is he living in cloud cuckoo land, or just worried about being made accountable?;
I don’t think for one minute we need to fear those who are still at Guantanamo, there are plenty roaming the streets of New York, Paris, Berlin, London and Tehran, just to mention a few, and they are free, and our great intelligence systems know nothing about them.
God bless you all

Posted by Rudi Konrath | Report as abusive

The problem with moving the “detainees” into the States is that they would then become subject to the jurisdiction of local US courts – and that could end up putting them literally “on the streets and in the neighborhoods.”

These people were caught in the act of making war illegally. According to the Geneva Conventions they should have been either handed or shot on the spot of their capture.

Remember Nathan Hale? He was a 20 year old American who removed his uniform and deliberately violated the Rules of War to gain some espionage on the British. When the brits caught up with him they hanged him on the spot.

The fact that these Guantanamo prisoners are even alive speaks volumes about the mercy and tenderness of the US military; or of its weakness. You decide, but it’s a lie to say the US has been cruel in any way in this case.

Posted by zed | Report as abusive

Nathan Hale (June 6, 1755 – September 22, 1776) are you serious? its 2009 if you didn’t notice!

If there is evidence then they should be tried and given the appropriate punishment, if not let them go!

Posted by bert | Report as abusive

Bringing these foreigners to be judged under American law for their alleged crimes against the US is the right thing to do. Think of it as simple “forced” extradition of criminals. If they are found guilty they go to a supermax and there is no chance they could ever escape. In fact, the chance of a foreign terrorist successfully crossing our border to do harm is MUCH higher. If they are found not guilty, they ARE NOT “free to go” to our neighborhoods, simply because they lack a US immigrant visa to do so. They would never be the same as US citizens or resident aliens because they would not be legally allowed to stay in the US. No foreigner has the right to roam free in the US without a visa. Illegals do it because the state does not “fully” enforce the law by catching and deporting all of them. But these cases are different and that’s where I think most of the confusion lies. Without a US visa, as soon as they are found not guilty they can be lawfully held by USCIS at the court door, to be immediately deported to their country of origin or anywhere else in the world.

Posted by Juan | Report as abusive

I think all those who can’t be charged with a crime under the US system should simply be returned to the wonderful law abiding, human rights respecting regimes that they come from. Then all the bleeding hearts can go protest for their freedom there. Of course they will most likely simply be executed and if not the regimes will ignore any protests anyway. But then again who protests anyone but the US ( of and of course Israel) because no other nation violates international law, abuses prisoners, denies due process or human rights. Well at least that’s the image you get if you listen to the leftists here and in Europe.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

i would like to know the working of obama’s mind in closing gitmo. why does he have an affinity for muslims
explaining his comments “we are no longer a christian
nation . then includes muslim in our population. his attitude in europe by calling the american “arrogant, what president puts down his country.
that is tatamount to treason. making us vulnerable

Posted by peter dattilo | Report as abusive