Opinion

The Great Debate

Fearing the supermen of Guantanamo

By Bernd Debusmann
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.”

OBAMA TRIPPED UP

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.

Comments
140 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Anon-

“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.
forgivable.

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
 

CD,
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

Love

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.
over.
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.

 

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.

BD

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
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •