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you seemed to be complaining about imposing rules onto warfare at all. my appologies if i misinterpreted.

 

No need for an appology but I was not saying there should be no rules at all. I was worrying that the particular rules we adopt in this low level "war" will not translate well should we ever fight a more traditional conflict.

 

but, iirc, terrorists aren't afforded protection under stuff like the geneva convention because they're considered naughty armed civillians, much like organised crime gangs (mafia, etc), as opposed to soldures.

 

If you want the protection of the geneva convention, wear a uniform. Spies have always been given the short end of the due process stick.

 

so, you can shoot terrorists with non-standard rounds, and you don't need to afford them POW status; but, by doing so, you're placing them definately in the 'civillian' camp, rather than the 'soldure' camp. civillians taken by the state -- even if taken from another state -- should be afforded a fair trial.

 

in a 'real' war, you'd afford the enemies POW status, not fair trials.

 

 

If a terrorist is in the US, I put him in the "spy" camp. If he is plotting against us in his home country, I'm not sure what camp that puts him in. Suppose, for example, with the help of the French resistence we had whisked away Himmler in WWII. Would we have given him a full trial or would we have put him in a camp some where and milked him dry of info?

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If you want the protection of the geneva convention, wear a uniform. Spies have always been given the short end of the due process stick.

 

indeed. i'm not saying that the terrorists need be covered by the geneva convention (which is worded such that it doesn't apply to them); just that something be in place to protect them.

 

dont forget, the principle of 'due process' et al is that innocents do get caught up in the process. someone like you or i could easily fall under suspicion of, say, murder, but that's ok because we'd be initially presumed innocent, given a fair trial, and a means to prove our innocence. we couldn't be mistaken for soldures of the kind that are covered by the geneva convention, 'cos they have to openly be soldures iirc. but, we could be mistaken for terrorists. then what? no trial, no presumption of innocence? what then?

 

If a terrorist is in the US, I put him in the "spy" camp. If he is plotting against us in his home country, I'm not sure what camp that puts him in.

 

a terrorist in the US is a terrorist. imo, they should be in the civillian criminal camp, along with the mafia (ie, armed non-military groups). in foreighn countries, they're still civvies. fair enough, capture them under suspicion of being terrorists, but then afford them a fair trial... otherwize you're capturing non-us civillians who might actually be innoncent and just locking them up...

 

Suppose, for example, with the help of the French resistence we had whisked away Himmler in WWII. Would we have given him a full trial or would we have put him in a camp some where and milked him dry of info?

 

Himmler was pretty openly a high-up officer of the german army/SS, so he's more soldure than anything else; a self-identifying member of the military is unquestionably 'guilty' of being an enemy soldure, so theres no need of a trial; he should get geneva protection tho, as a soldure.

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indeed. i'm not saying that the terrorists need be covered by the geneva convention (which is worded such that it doesn't apply to them); just that something be in place to protect them.

 

Agreed but this does not mean "fair trial."

 

dont forget, the principle of 'due process' et al is that innocents do get caught up in the process. someone like you or i could easily fall under suspicion of, say, murder, but that's ok because we'd be initially presumed innocent, given a fair trial, and a means to prove our innocence. we couldn't be mistaken for soldures of the kind that are covered by the geneva convention, 'cos they have to openly be soldures iirc. but, we could be mistaken for terrorists. then what? no trial, no presumption of innocence? what then?

 

a terrorist in the US is a terrorist. imo, they should be in the civillian criminal camp, along with the mafia (ie, armed non-military groups). in foreighn countries, they're still civvies. fair enough, capture them under suspicion of being terrorists, but then afford them a fair trial... otherwize you're capturing non-us civillians who might actually be innoncent and just locking them up...

 

Are there US citizens in Gitmo? To my knowledge, they were all plucked from Afghanistan, Iraq, etc?

 

In any event, the Supreme Court ruled last year that they are all entitled to a hearing to determine whether they are enemy combatants.

 

Himmler was pretty openly a high-up officer of the german army/SS, so he's more soldure than anything else; a self-identifying member of the military is unquestionably 'guilty' of being an enemy soldure, so theres no need of a trial; he should get geneva protection tho, as a soldure.

 

Pick another German who was not a military officer - Hans Frank, for example. If there was intel to be gleaned from this man and he was snatched in WWI, there would be no full "fair" trial. Trial could only be afforded to Frank after the war, at Nuremberg.

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All this talk of war puzzles me. What countries have declared war? Who's soldiers are we talking about?

Terrorist is just a label for someone doing something criminal; mass murder to make a political point is still mass murder and should be treated as such. Since there isn't a war these people should be treated as civilian criminal suspects and given a fair trial. Since the US government has already made up its mind about them it's difficult to see them getting a fair trial under US jurisdiction so they ought to be tried elsewhere; ironically China might be as good as anywhere.

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There is nothing wrong with "My country right or wrong". I live by it myself. However if you wish to live by a principle, do it honestly.

 

"My country right or wrong,

When right to be kept right,

When wrong to be put right."

 

This is not the principle of a zombie but that of a civilised person who cares about the direction their nation takes.

 

Abu Grahib may have damaged your reputation among nations who don't like you anyway but Gitmo makes your friends doubt your committment to civilised principles.

 

You've thrown out due process. You've allowed torture. You've destroyed the presumption of innocence. You've alowed secret prison camps. Exactly how is your legal system now any different from that of Stalinist Russia?

 

Haezed, you argue about whether "terrorists" or "enemy combattants" deserve due process. Most of the detainees in Gitmo have yet to recieve a hearing as to whether they even fall into those categories. They were detained by the US military on the sayso of the US military. Without evidence being presented or any form of due process.

 

To give an idea how low the reputation of the US has sunk amongst Aussies I know. ( Who BTW, are in the majority right wing leaning.)

 

Last week Kahlid Sheik Mohammed gave his confession to the Combattant Status Review Tribunal. After some 4 years of imprisonment, transport to secret camps and probable torture he's confessed to many things. The general view down here is " I wonder how long it will be before they get him to confess to being the shooter on the "Grassy Knoll" and sinking the Titanic."

 

Put bluntly, the reputation of the US has decended below farce to joke. Your handling of this is a joke. Your military is a joke. Your protestations of any sort of morals or desire for justice are the biggest jokes of all. If the US said the sky was blue, most of us would look up and check first.

 

None of the above is directed at any US citizen personally. I am speaking about the US government.

 

Unfortunately the US has maintained for decades that it's form of Republic means that the government represents the "Will of the people". So don't be surprised if others think that US citizens agree with the actions of their government and are therefore equally culpable.

 

An interesting lesson in how political rhetoric can come back and bite you in the arse.;)

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Haezed, you argue about whether "terrorists" or "enemy combattants" deserve due process. Most of the detainees in Gitmo have yet to recieve a hearing as to whether they even fall into those categories. They were detained by the US military on the sayso of the US military. Without evidence being presented or any form of due process.

I think all of the detainees have been through the Combatant Status Review Tribunal, a few dozen were released.

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There is nothing wrong with "My country right or wrong". I live by it myself. However if you wish to live by a principle, do it honestly.

 

"My country right or wrong,

When right to be kept right,

When wrong to be put right."

 

This is not the principle of a zombie but that of a civilised person who cares about the direction their nation takes.

 

Well said and I completely agree.

 

Abu Grahib may have damaged your reputation among nations who don't like you anyway but Gitmo makes your friends doubt your committment to civilised principles.

 

Our friends have some obligation to get the facts straight.

 

You've thrown out due process. You've allowed torture. You've destroyed the presumption of innocence. You've alowed secret prison camps. Exactly how is your legal system now any different from that of Stalinist Russia?

 

Hyperbole.

 

Haezed, you argue about whether "terrorists" or "enemy combattants" deserve due process. Most of the detainees in Gitmo have yet to recieve a hearing as to whether they even fall into those categories. They were detained by the US military on the sayso of the US military. Without evidence being presented or any form of due process.

 

As is noted below, they have had a procedure (as I understand it) to determine their status as enemy combatants. What rules did Australia apply to enemy combatants in its last wars?

 

To give an idea how low the reputation of the US has sunk amongst Aussies I know. ( Who BTW, are in the majority right wing leaning.)

 

Last week Kahlid Sheik Mohammed gave his confession to the Combattant Status Review Tribunal. After some 4 years of imprisonment, transport to secret camps and probable torture he's confessed to many things. The general view down here is " I wonder how long it will be before they get him to confess to being the shooter on the "Grassy Knoll" and sinking the Titanic."

 

Given that KSM was bragging about 9/11 before he was captured in public tapes, this is kind of silly.

 

Put bluntly, the reputation of the US has decended below farce to joke. Your handling of this is a joke. Your military is a joke. Your protestations of any sort of morals or desire for justice are the biggest jokes of all. If the US said the sky was blue, most of us would look up and check first.

 

None of the above is directed at any US citizen personally. I am speaking about the US government.

 

More silly hyperbole. Let me know when you want to stop emoting and have a discussion.

 

Unfortunately the US has maintained for decades that it's form of Republic means that the government represents the "Will of the people". So don't be surprised if others think that US citizens agree with the actions of their government and are therefore equally culpable.

 

An interesting lesson in how political rhetoric can come back and bite you in the arse.;)

 

Our political system doesn't turn on a dime (and any that does is likely to be despotic). The Supreme Court overruled Bush last June as I recall and required additional due process. The mid term elections were a disaster for Bush and it remains to be seen what standards will be applied at Gitmo after 2008.

 

I'm not saying I agree with all that has been done; however, I also see the issues as far more complex than you do given that they will be applied to future wars and future spies in a time of war. No government should accept torture as a matter of policy but if you think the Allies didn't engage in it, including your beloved Aussies, in WWII, you are delusional. There was simply a more sympathetic press at the time.

 

Short answer: the US has not turned into Stalin's Russia overnight and the suggestion that it has speaks to a significant problem with educational systems of other countries.

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In other words, I can agree with you or be a mindless "my country, right or wrong" zombie. You have certainly simplified the situation in your own mind.
So educate me. In this context what are the alternatives to either defending principles, or defending dogma?

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So educate me. In this context what are the alternatives to either defending principles, or defending dogma?

 

 

The alternative, if you really care about this issue so deeply, is to educate yourself about the precedents that have been applied in the present and to read with an open mind the administration's argument for its positions.

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Dismissing

"Quote:

You've thrown out due process. You've allowed torture. You've destroyed the presumption of innocence. You've alowed secret prison camps. Exactly how is your legal system now any different from that of Stalinist Russia? "

As

"Hyperbole."

doen't actually answer the question. Why should I (living in England) have any respect for a government that does those things?

 

Similarly deriding the idea that some Austrailians might be waiting for the Gitmo detainees to "confess" under torture to things they simply didn't do as "kind of silly" avoids facing up to the real possibillity that they will do so. That's why civilised countries do not condone torture (except possibly during wartime, and I remind you that this is not a war).

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Dismissing

"Quote:

You've thrown out due process. You've allowed torture. You've destroyed the presumption of innocence. You've alowed secret prison camps. Exactly how is your legal system now any different from that of Stalinist Russia? "

As

"Hyperbole."

doen't actually answer the question. Why should I (living in England) have any respect for a government that does those things?

 

Why should I, living in America, have any respect for another country IF your thinking is common in that country and and it is commonly believed America has no due process and has a legal system no different from Stalinist Russia wherein 20 million or so were murdered.

 

If that is conventional wisdom in Australia it says more about your own press and educational system than it does about reality in America.

 

Respect is a two way street my friend.

 

Similarly deriding the idea that some Austrailians might be waiting for the Gitmo detainees to "confess" under torture to things they simply didn't do as "kind of silly" avoids facing up to the real possibillity that they will do so. That's why civilised countries do not condone torture (except possibly during wartime, and I remind you that this is not a war).

 

You ignore my point that the guy publically admitted/bragged about 9/11 before he was captured. There is no question that he is an enemy combatant. Most intel talking heads I've seen do believe he had some konwledge about the various plots to which he confessed but it was more tangential than stated. In effect, the guy was showing off knowing that he's going to be justly executed one day soon.

 

You can remind me that this is not a war all day long but that does not make it so. Ted Koppel, no Bush lackey, calls this our "Children's Children's war." I think this sums it up nicely and explains why some wires have been crossed in thinking about what can and cannot be done in this "war." Even after your tirade, you seem to allow for torture during war which is more than I would do. (My only point was that it is common place, not that it should be accepted as public policy (not that this has happened)).

 

No country has yet come to grips with how age old precedents should be applied in an asymetrical war where the combatant would take out one of our cities given a chance.

 

Incidentally, if you think things are bad now, let the war on terror be brought to a hault by trial lawyers and wait until there is another attack of a greater magnitude than 9/11.

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Respect can go any way it likes. If your country, even in a single instance, decides to suspend the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial then anyone else from any other country is able to judge your country on the basis of that decision. GWB and co decided to go that way and at that point I decided that they ought not to be in government. I doubt I'm the only one. For what it's worth, current opinion poles here are running about 2:1 that we should not have invaded Iraq.

 

I'm not certain, but I think more people have been killed by terrorist and related acts since the "War on terror" started than were being killed before; perhaps having it stalled by the lawyers might be an improvement.

 

You say "There is no question that he is an enemy combatant." I say no, he's just a terrorist and there's no need to make up new names for it. More importantly of course is the fact that, while there is clear evidence to arrest him and bring him to trial (and there was, as you say, before anyone tortured anyone, that video footage) that's a poor argument for detaining all the others without trial.

 

"No country has yet come to grips with how age old precedents should be applied in an asymetrical war where the combatant would take out one of our cities given a chance."

Which side is which here?

As far as I'm aware, the ony comabatant involved who has the miliitary strength to take out a city is the USA. What the other side would do if it could isn't important since they simply don't have the power.

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The alternative, if you really care about this issue so deeply, is to educate yourself about the precedents that have been applied in the present and to read with an open mind the administration's argument for its positions.
You are actually serious. That is what is so disturbing. These actions are improper. I care not a jot about how many precedents a gaggle of lawyers can dream up. I am opposed to the actions on two grounds:

1) If any person can be detained in this way, then I can be detained in this way. I will not impose on others what I am not prepared to accept for myself.

2) It is dumb. Mind blowlingly, irredeemably stupid. It increases the risk for everyone in the Western world because it is so obviously wrong that it will ebncourage many to become terrorists, others to give support to terrorists, and yet others to provide tacit support to terrorists. This increases the risks for me, for my children and for my grandchildren. That means these dumb acts are a direct assault on my safety and that of my offspring. How do you suggest I react to that?

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Agreed but this does not mean "fair trial."

 

no, but it means something should be there.

 

what assurances do we have that these aren't innocent people being held indefinately and tortuered?

 

or, to view it more selfishly: what assuranses do we have that we, as people innocent of the crime of terrorism, can't be held indefinately and tortured? anyone can fall under suspicion.

 

Are there US citizens in Gitmo? To my knowledge, they were all plucked from Afghanistan, Iraq, etc?

 

the fact that they were taken from a foreighn country, if anything, makes it worse.

 

mistreating your own people is one thing; mistreating the people of other countries is another; and from a practicle pov, mistreating the members of the countries from which terrorists mainly recruit is just dumb. you're kinda lending credence to what i assume the terrorists recruiting propoganda will be. 'look at the evil americans, lets go blow them up' etc.

 

In any event, the Supreme Court ruled last year that they are all entitled to a hearing to determine whether they are enemy combatants.

 

and will it really be a fair one, all things considered? if you were on trial, would you be happy with a closed military tribunal, where you being found innocent would be disasterous for the country, and your gilt was to be determined by people trained not in law, but in defending their country?

 

Pick another German who was not a military officer - Hans Frank, for example. If there was intel to be gleaned from this man and he was snatched in WWI, there would be no full "fair" trial. Trial could only be afforded to Frank after the war, at Nuremberg.

 

if he's not a soldure, then he should be afforded basic human rights -- as i would like to be if ever captured by a hostile foreighn nation -- which includes no torture and, yeah, a fair trial. otherwize it's just 'lets grab this foreighner and stick him in jail'.

 

i understand that in war there can be complications; a fair trial might include disclosing intel that it would be anywhere from inpracticle to disasterous to disclose... but, if that's the case, then there should be other safeguards in place, custom designed to take these problems into account. if not, then you have unregulated taking of civillians into indefinate captivity. which is bad.

 

and other nations will likely treat you as you have treated them. if, say, an american 'tourist' gets captured in china under 'suspicion' of being a criminal, and thrown in jail without trial, do you really have the right to complain anymore?

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and other nations will likely treat you as you have treated them. if, say, an american 'tourist' gets captured in china under 'suspicion' of being a criminal, and thrown in jail without trial, do you really have the right to complain anymore?

 

You actually think that example is anything near similar?

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You are actually serious. That is what is so disturbing. These actions are improper. I care not a jot about how many precedents a gaggle of lawyers can dream up. I am opposed to the actions on two grounds:

1) If any person can be detained in this way, then I can be detained in this way. I will not impose on others what I am not prepared to accept for myself.

2) It is dumb. Mind blowlingly, irredeemably stupid. It increases the risk for everyone in the Western world because it is so obviously wrong that it will ebncourage many to become terrorists, others to give support to terrorists, and yet others to provide tacit support to terrorists. This increases the risks for me, for my children and for my grandchildren. That means these dumb acts are a direct assault on my safety and that of my offspring. How do you suggest I react to that?

 

 

How can you care so deeply about this issue and not know what the Supreme Court held in June of last year on this issue? Boggling. This wasn't just a "gaggle of lawyers" but was a significant rewrite of the President's wartime powers. This is not a simple issue and before a traditional ally of the United States writes off an entire history of alliance and friendship, you would think they would first understand what actually has happened.

 

The United States is not just one man, even the President. It has a built in systems of checks and balances which are operating in this instance.

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no, but it means something should be there.

 

what assurances do we have that these aren't innocent people being held indefinately and tortuered?

 

I don't know all of the current wrinkles but I do know that this discussion hasn't really taken into account the Bush/McCain anti-torture bill or the Hamden decision last June.

 

or, to view it more selfishly: what assuranses do we have that we, as people innocent of the crime of terrorism, can't be held indefinately and tortured? anyone can fall under suspicion.

 

Again, if you have a criticism of the Bush/McCain bill, then I think we can discuss that. Our democracy faced an abrupt shock on 9/11 and has been dealing not only with that event but the reaction of a President who understandably has said, "not again on my watch." All of the checks and balances have come into play on this one, including the sometimes emotive reaction of the international community. These are not simple issues.

 

 

the fact that they were taken from a foreighn country, if anything, makes it worse.

 

mistreating your own people is one thing; mistreating the people of other countries is another; and from a practicle pov, mistreating the members of the countries from which terrorists mainly recruit is just dumb. you're kinda lending credence to what i assume the terrorists recruiting propoganda will be. 'look at the evil americans, lets go blow them up' etc.

 

I agree we shouldn't be stupid about any such operation. OTOH, many times there's going to have to a snatch and grab if we are going to catch terrorists in the countries where they reside.

 

and will it really be a fair one, all things considered? if you were on trial, would you be happy with a closed military tribunal, where you being found innocent would be disasterous for the country, and your gilt was to be determined by people trained not in law, but in defending their country?

 

So what is it you propose? Full and open trials in federal district court?

 

if he's not a soldure, then he should be afforded basic human rights -- as i would like to be if ever captured by a hostile foreighn nation -- which includes no torture and, yeah, a fair trial. otherwize it's just 'lets grab this foreighner and stick him in jail'.

 

First, I'm guessing you do concede that it would have been appropriate to go into Germany or occupied Poland to snatch Frank? The man, while an SS official, was an administrator not a soldier. He was known as "Hitler's lawyer" and later came to be the governor of occupied Poland.

 

Ideally, we could fake Frank's death, capture him and bring him back to America or in some other secret location to drain him dry of information. Under this scenario, Frank would have gotten his trial after the war.

 

The problem here is that this really may be our Children's Children's War and there may be no "after the war" for such men.

 

i understand that in war there can be complications; a fair trial might include disclosing intel that it would be anywhere from inpracticle to disasterous to disclose... but, if that's the case, then there should be other safeguards in place, custom designed to take these problems into account. if not, then you have unregulated taking of civillians into indefinate captivity. which is bad.

 

In Frank's example, it entirly would have depended on the length of the war. Alternatively, we might have given him a trial after we'd drained all of the intel out of him, kind of like we will do with with KSM.

 

and other nations will likely treat you as you have treated them. if, say, an american 'tourist' gets captured in china under 'suspicion' of being a criminal, and thrown in jail without trial, do you really have the right to complain anymore?

 

We aren't at war with China. We are discussing wartime rules and powers.

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Finland in WWII:

 

During World War II some 500 persons were executed [in Finland], half of them condemned spies. The usual causes for death penalty for Finnish citizens were treason and high treason (and to a lesser extent cowardice and disobedience, applicable for military personnel). Almost all cases of capital punishment were carried out by court martial.

 

FDR did it this way:

 

By June 27, 1942, all eight saboteurs had been arrested without having accomplished one act of destruction. Tried before a Military Commission, they were found guilty. One was sentenced to life imprisonment, another to thirty years, and six received the death penalty, which was carried out within a few days. . . . So shaken was the German intelligence service that no similar sabotage attempt was ever again made. The German naval high command did not again allow a valuable submarine to be risked for a sabotage mission

 

A brief chronology:

 

June 13, 1942-On June 13, 1942 a Coast Guardsman from a station in Amagansett, New York noticed Colonel Dasch and three others posing as fisherman off the coast of Long Island with a raft. When the soldier investigated, he found that the men were armed and that the men offered him $260.00 to keep the information of their whereabouts undisclosed. A massive manhunt ensues.

 

July 8, 1942 - Dasch, Ernst Peter Burger, and six others - Edward John Kerling, Heinrich Harm Heinck, Richard Quirin, Werner Thiel, Hermann Otto Neubauer, and Herbert Hans Haupt (who had landed in Florida to meet with Dasch and Burger), - were tried by a military commission appointed by President Roosevelt and convicted of sabotage and sentenced to death

 

August 8, 1942 - At the request of Hoover, President Roosevelt commuted the sentence to life imprisonment for Burger, and thirty years for Dasch. The others were executed in the electric chair in Washington D.C Jail.

 

That was WWII justice - less than two months between capture to execution with the entire proceeding held within the military. Was this a blight on America's history?

 

What should FDR have done with these men?

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Our friends have some obligation to get the facts straight.

Unfortunately little things like the presumption of innocence and due process are what separate civilised nations from non-civilised nations. If looks like a duck and quacks like a duck......

Quote:

You've thrown out due process. You've allowed torture. You've destroyed the presumption of innocence. You've alowed secret prison camps. Exactly how is your legal system now any different from that of Stalinist Russia?

 

Hyperbole.

You could try answering the question. My point was simply that any person in any nation can now be "arrested" by the US military taken to another nation, tortured and then sent to Gitmo as a "terrorist". Can't you see this is wrong?

More silly hyperbole. Let me know when you want to stop emoting and have a discussion.

Great. I'm trying to tell you that because of the actions of your government even your friends have trouble trusting you any more and I'm "emoting". Sheesh.

 

Now, okay, maybe I intended to shock you. I'm asking you to see things from the POV of a foreign national. In the days of Soviet Russia if I was picked up by the cops I would have had very lttle hope of a fair trial or an open and honest due process. True? Now I ask you, what hope of a fair trial or due process would I have if picked up by the US military in Egypt? Bugger all.

 

That's the similarity I'm asking you to see. The US civil legal system is intact, nobody is saying it isn't. It's sometimes been said that in the civil system it's better for 10 guilty men to go free than 1 innocent be punished. The civil system goes to great lengths to preserve the presumption of innocence.

 

The thing with Gitmo is that it's arse about. The principle seems to be that it's better to keep 10 innocents in jail indefinately than to let 1 terrorist go free. Of course they aren't all innocent, probably most of them aren't, but you can't hold people for years without charge while you make laws to create new crimes and then try to create a court system to try them behind closed doors.

 

If I was arrested by the NYPD, how long can I be held without charge? Get it?

 

Which goes back to my original statement. In your view, should your country be "kept right" or "put right"?

So what is it you propose? Full and open trials in federal district court?

Yes. Or do you something against full and open trials?

I don't know all of the current wrinkles but I do know that this discussion hasn't really taken into account the Bush/McCain anti-torture bill or the Hamden decision last June.

Well, since it A) isn't law and B) Bush has said he will veto it I can't see why we should.

You can remind me that this is not a war all day long but that does not make it so. Ted Koppel, no Bush lackey, calls this our "Children's Children's war." I think this sums it up nicely and explains why some wires have been crossed in thinking about what can and cannot be done in this "war.
We aren't at war with China. We are discussing wartime rules and powers.

Who are you fighting?

How will you identify them?

How will you know it's over?

Who will sign the Armistice?

 

The example of Col. Dasch and the others is nothing but a strawman. They were serving officers in the national military of a nation formally at war with the US. They were operating on orders from their recognised superior officers, without their uniforms and were therefore spies. Duh.

 

Since those in Gitmo were not arrested on US soil, can I therefore assume that your definition of "spy" or "terrorist" is "A person who may or may not be a serving military officer or enlisted man with any national military not in a formally declared conflict with the US who is present in any nation on Earth including the US"? I hope you've got big jails, 'cause there's about 7 billion of us.;):D

 

And get off the 9/11 horse will you? Anyone would think it was the only terrorist attack in history. The poms tried to tell you for years that all those fund raisers in New York for the IRA was getting people killed but no-one wanted to listen. Mate, you've made comments about the education of foreigners try a little yourself.

 

America and Australia have been extremely lucky in the past, but what the rest of the world has been copping has caught up with both of us.

A list of international terrorist organizations considered by the U.S. State Department to be active during the last five years.

Wikipedia List of terrorist organisations

 

Other nations went through not one attack but decades of attacks without the extreme measures the US government seems to think is acceptable. Why? Are they dumber than you?

 

As you say, it's not a simple issue.

 

I suppose the big question is "If you sacrifice your principles in this "war", then what do you have left to fight for?"

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Unfortunately little things like the presumption of innocence and due process are what separate civilised nations from non-civilised nations. If looks like a duck and quacks like a duck......

 

Let's try to zoom in from the perspective of flying ducks and start talking about what actually is US law. Hamden v. Rumsfeld? What criticism do you have of this decision?

 

 

Great. I'm trying to tell you that because of the actions of your government even your friends have trouble trusting you any more and I'm "emoting". Sheesh.

 

That's not all you said. You made sweeping statements about American due process.

 

Now, okay, maybe I intended to shock you. I'm asking you to see things from the POV of a foreign national. In the days of Soviet Russia if I was picked up by the cops I would have had very lttle hope of a fair trial or an open and honest due process. True? Now I ask you, what hope of a fair trial or due process would I have if picked up by the US military in Egypt? Bugger all.

 

I don't need to be shocked. I need to be educated and the starting place is to understand the state of US law.

 

That's the similarity I'm asking you to see. The US civil legal system is intact, nobody is saying it isn't. It's sometimes been said that in the civil system it's better for 10 guilty men to go free than 1 innocent be punished. The civil system goes to great lengths to preserve the presumption of innocence.

 

Actually, you did say it wasn't, but we'll get past that now. Enemy combatants have never been presumed innocent.

 

The thing with Gitmo is that it's arse about. The principle seems to be that it's better to keep 10 innocents in jail indefinately than to let 1 terrorist go free. Of course they aren't all innocent, probably most of them aren't, but you can't hold people for years without charge while you make laws to create new crimes and then try to create a court system to try them behind closed doors.

 

Hamden?

 

If I was arrested by the NYPD, how long can I be held without charge? Get it?

 

Yes, I get that you do not understand that we are trying to figure out the differences in due process that will be applied between US citizens and suspected enemies in the war on terror. I see a highly difficult difference which requires some sorting out. You seem to see no difference at all. I think my position is more reasonable.

 

Which goes back to my original statement. In your view, should your country be "kept right" or "put right"?

 

I always like things put right.

 

Yes. Or do you something against full and open trials?

 

For enemy combatants, yes. I bet your own government does as well.

 

Well, since it A) isn't law and B) Bush has said he will veto it I can't see why we should.

 

Ummm:

 

became the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 as Title X of the Department of Defense Authorization bill. The amendment prohibits inhumane treatment of prisoners, including prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, by confining interrogations to the techniques in FM 34-52 Intelligence Interrogation.

 

Hamden?

 

Who are you fighting?

How will you identify them?

How will you know it's over?

Who will sign the Armistice?

 

This is the complex issue of our day. We have an ill defined enemy who does consider himself to be at war with the US and others. The President has determined that applying full civilian rights to such individuals will not be effective and I tend to agree. The US Supreme Court has weighed in and afforded the rights as evidenced by Hamden and I also tend to agree with that decision primarily because of your last three questions. This is not a typical war but I also tend to think it is more war than a criminal justice exericse.

 

 

The example of Col. Dasch and the others is nothing but a strawman. They were serving officers in the national military of a nation formally at war with the US. They were operating on orders from their recognised superior officers, without their uniforms and were therefore spies. Duh.

 

So because Al Qaeda does not operate as a nation state we cannot respond to them as if we are in a war? That's so 20th century of you. ;)

 

Since those in Gitmo were not arrested on US soil, can I therefore assume that your definition of "spy" or "terrorist" is "A person who may or may not be a serving military officer or enlisted man with any national military not in a formally declared conflict with the US who is present in any nation on Earth including the US"? I hope you've got big jails, 'cause there's about 7 billion of us.;):D

 

You are missing my point. In wartime the "presumption of innocence" and issues of due process are short circuitted. In Hamden, the Supreme Court stepped in and said "not so fast." It's a complex issue and the US should not be pilloried for struggling with this issue.

 

And get off the 9/11 horse will you? Anyone would think it was the only terrorist attack in history. The poms tried to tell you for years that all those fund raisers in New York for the IRA was getting people killed but no-one wanted to listen. Mate, you've made comments about the education of foreigners try a little yourself.

 

My comment about foreign education was conditioned upon an assumption about what you were saying. Please reread my actual comment.

 

It's not merely the loss of life in 9/11 that produced the reaction. They attacked the symbols of US economic, military and, if all had gone "well" for them, political power. We might now have a rebuilt capitol or white house. Moreover, who is to say what might happen next.

 

What should we have done with the fundraisers in NY? Shouldn't they be afforded a presumption of innocence?

 

Other nations went through not one attack but decades of attacks without the extreme measures the US government seems to think is acceptable. Why? Are they dumber than you?

 

Time will tell.

 

I suppose the big question is "If you sacrifice your principles in this "war", then what do you have left to fight for?"

 

The executive branch always over extends itself in war. Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus but these rights were restored by the US Supreme Court. We are witnessing a complex reaction of a brilliantly designed system to the unprecedented confluence of enemy organizations acting behind the shield of nation states but gathering the power to destroy not just buildings but, eventually, cities. There is very little support for the international communities' chicken little view about American due process.

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We are witnessing a complex reaction of a brilliantly designed system to the unprecedented confluence of enemy organizations acting behind the shield of nation states but gathering the power to destroy not just buildings but, eventually, cities. There is very little support for the international communities' chicken little view about American due process.

 

Why is it that people don't get this? Most of the animosity comes from POV's that seem to pretend this is NOT the case. As if we just woke up one day and decided to unleash our military on some poor middle eastern nations for the fun of it.

 

My question to JohnB would be what is the alternative? How do we handle this unprecedented enemy / nation state scenario where:

 

1) The terrorist don't get pissed and ramp up recruitment efforts...

2) All the nations of the world love us deeply...including the ones shielding the enemy combatants...

3) That doesn't require any additional laws of any kind whatsoever - because our structure prior to 9/11 was perfect huh?? Why change a thing?

4) That both democrats and republicans firmly agree on...

 

Most of all, I'd like to know why it is that we can't disagree without fury thrown in the mix. Ok, so maybe GWB has made decisions on an enemy that NO NATION ON THE PLANET has defeated, using all the various schemes and approaches - from baking brownies to all out war. So why all the pretention at America's approach?

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I think everybody misunderstood what I was trying to say way back in post #14. The primary arguments in this thread seem to be going right past each other without noticing. One side says the U.S. governments actions are contrary to the spirit of a liberal democracy. The other side says they're a necessary pragmatism under the circumstances. I don't see why both statements can't be accurate. Being a global superpower and staying that way comes with a hefty price.

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Does anyone have any substantive criticisms of the evolving rules of the Military Commissions Act:

 

Under the evolving rules of the Military Commissions Act passed by Congress in September, the defense and prosecution can cut a plea bargain as in a civilian court and recommend a negotiated sentence to the tribunal members, who act as both judge and jury in meting out punishment.

 

Out of curiosity, , what was Aussie David Hicks doing in Afghanistan? I'm not being confrontational in this; for all I know he worked for a humanitarian agency or had relatives in Kabul. Here he is training for this humanitarian work in Albania.

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There's a theory that every powerful nation must at some point make a choice between its principles and its empire. It would seem that the United States is currently in the era in which it must make this choice.

 

True, I did not understand this post.

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Out of curiosity, , what was Aussie David Hicks doing in Afghanistan? I'm not being confrontational in this; for all I know he worked for a humanitarian agency or had relatives in Kabul. Here he is training for this humanitarian work in Albania.
It really doesn't matter what he was doing in Afghanistan, he should have had the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. If he was guilty of some offence against the USA, he should have been tried in a timely manner, not held in limbo for five years without being charged, or without the possibility of an even remotely fair trial.

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