Constitution-Free Detainment

that this military detainment issue was a dangerous one, first in Gitmo, and now with Bradley Manning.   I understand the administration and the Army are pissed at the guy for embarrassing them and potentially giving away secrets to hostile parties, but the guy has not been tried or convicted of anything.  Hell, even if he had been convicted of something, I can't believe he would be sentenced to the punishments he is enduring in what is essentially pre-trial detention.   We are all pissed at Jared Loughner but we haven't treated him this way in detention.

The military is NOT doing anything to improve their case that they should be allowed to handle indefinite detentions, such as at Gitmo, through their procedures rather than civil ones.

The Left seems upset and surprised that Obama would allow such a thing, given his rhetoric on the campaign trail.  I was never surprised -- I wrote on inauguration day that candidates who want more transparency in politics and reductions in Presidential arbitrary authority generally change their tune once in office.  As I wrote then, "It seems that creeping executive power is a lot more worrisome when someone else is in power."  And if that wasn't enough, the Administration's about face on closing Gitmo was another reminder.


  1. Noah:

    Bradley Manning has been charged under the UCMJ so the analog to Guantanamo Bay is totally without foundation. Per the New York Times, March 2, 2011, a evaluation of his “mental capacity” is being done at the defense’s request -

  2. scott huminski:

    U.S.A. State Sponsored Terror (rock music video) Released

    Anti U.S. Police State Musician/activist releases his 5th rock video.

    Television interview at:

  3. astonerii:

    Sorry, I am trying to see the constitution free part on this one. He is a military asset who signed on to be under the Universal Code of Military Conduct rights and responsibilities. The UCMJ is most assuredly a constitutionally valid document. I do agree however that unless they place him on suicide watch, that this is prejudicial and seems immoral. I have not been in the military for many years, so I am not up to speed with the current UCMJ regulations about this, but if it is not a part of that, then they can and should be disciplined and brought back to with in their boundaries.

    On the other hand, Only Citizens and invited guests of the country have constitutional rights, illegal enemy combatants are not and should never be granted constitutional rights and privileges. Those in power though are limited in their powers through the constitution, and fighting a war and keeping enemy combatants falls well within that power.

  4. Stan:

    Astonerii, I thought the Constitution said men have rights, not specific classes such as guests or citizens. I think, if any human is under our jurisdiction, he should be guaranteed at least the enumerated rights. If they're not rights for some, then they're ipso facto not rights for anyone.

  5. Brian Dunbar:

    military detainment

    You are right to be concerned about the military detaining people. Bradley Manning is a soldier, the rules are different.

  6. iron308:

    Stan, the U.S. Constitution can and should only apply to U.S. citizens. It only has meaning and power by the consent of the governed. All men may be created free, but they need to establish that with their own government.

  7. astonerii:

    March 5, 2011, 4:25 pm

    You first say men have rights, then go on to say how military men have less.
    As for the constitution, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    As you can see, the Constitution of the United States of America is very very explicit in that it is only to secure these rights for ourselves and our future generations. If in fact the constitution says what you claim it says, then it would be actually declaring that we have an obligation to go from country to country, society to society and force down their throats our constitution.

    Now, what you are referring to is the Declaration of Independence, in which the United States declared that in order to secure these rights, man creates government. I can understand how you can come to this conclusion, as our educational system sucks, to the point that almost no one considers the United States of America a republic, but only a Democracy.

  8. astonerii:

    Oops, sorry stan, I actually attributed to you the next poster's statement, Sorry for that.

  9. Stan:

    I know the Constitution is rather explicit and limits guarantees of liberty to citizens, and the DoI is more of an aspirational document regarding the ideas expressed. I was thinking more on what a right is, and if we consider ourselves a liberal democracy (more accurately a constitutional democratic republic), that strives for justice, we should respect the rights of man wherever we find him. I have come to believe due process and humane treatment are some of these fundamental rights.

  10. Rich:

    Military members don't necessarily have less rights than other citizens, what they have is a different set of responsibilities. Those responsibilities are to support and defend the constitution and (for enlisted personnel) to obey the orders of the President and those Officers appointed over them. As an example, the military member still has free speech but that freedom is tempered by the UCMJ in order to preserve good order and discipline. You would not want an army in which anybody could speak out against the Commander in Chief or worse, disobey orders simply because he does not agree with them.

    Bradly Manning violated his oath as well as numerous laws and UCMJ regulations. He should spend a very long time in jail thinking about that.

  11. ParatrooperJJ:

    His treatment is clearly lawful under UCMJ. You should also consider that if he was put into general population he would very shortly encounter a violent death.

  12. perlhaqr:

    They're sort of in a double bind here, too.

    If he really is under suicide watch, and they give him back all of his stuff and stop checking on him, and he kills himself, who the hell is going to believe it?

  13. John Moore:

    Coyote apparently has never served in the military. The treatment Manning is receiving, per the above link, is nothing compared to everyone goes through in boot camp. And, since the justification is prevention of suicide, this does not appear to be pre-trial punishment.

    The guy a hell of a lot more than an embarrassment - he is almost certainly a traitor during a war. He will be lucky to escape with his worthless life.

    It is not wise to judge the military if you don't understand it.

  14. Brian Dunbar:

    The treatment Manning is receiving, per the above link, is nothing compared to everyone goes through in boot camp.

    We shouldn't compare legal confinement to boot camp and say 'well, it's no worse, so what is he complaining about.' People volunteer - crazy as it sounds - to be mis-treated and brainwashed in recruit training. People don't volunteer for confinement.

    It is not wise to judge the military if you don’t understand it.

    And yet we put up with having people in charge of the military who don't understand it. Perhaps we should put the generals in charge of the military since they understand it.

  15. Sam L.:

    I'm against all those guys at Gitmo. According to the Geneva Conventions, they are/were irregular, not uniformed forces. And thereby, can be shot. (I could be wrong; it's been 40 years since being taught the GCs.)

  16. Flyfish:

    The UCMJ has jurisdiction in the Manning case, civilian sensibilities don't really apply.

    As far as Gitmo goes there are three points to be made:

    1. Military tribunals have legal precedence - See Nuremberg
    2. Under the Geneva conventions (as Sam L mentions) non-uniformed combatants are considered 'brigands' or 'spies' and can be shot after a field tribunal convened by the senior officer present. Not wearing a uniform, hiding in the civilian populace, using the civilian populace as human shields are all war crimes. I'm not saying this applies to every detainee, but it applies to a good number of them.
    3. No detainee at Gitmo captured outside the US should be given US constitutional rights. The US Constitution doesn't apply to other countries.