Hope and Change

Via the WSJ, discussing the US's Siberian Gulag in the Caribbean:

The Obama administration on Monday announced plans for new Guantanamo Bay military trials and for the first time laid out its legal strategy to indefinitely detain prisoners who can't be tried but are too dangerous to be freed.

President Barack Obama issued an executive order to conduct periodic reviews of the cases of the nearly 50 detainees who will be detained indefinitely.

It used to be that people who had never been convicted of any crime but that certain people in the government considered dangerous were called "free men."


  1. Daublin:

    > It used to be that people who had never been convicted of any crime
    > but that certain people in the government considered dangerous were
    > called “free men.”


  2. Don:

    How can you know they are "too dangerous to be freed" and NOT know enough to convict them? Considering how much lower the evidential requirements are for military trials. And the requirements are even lower for World Court trials for "crimes against humanity" if such a case fits (e.g. Osama's driver/body guard).

  3. dwall:

    Why not just saw "what the hell" and let them all go home, where ever that is. Only about 70% of them will go back to jihad and we can kill them later. If they kill a few Americans or western folks before we get them, well that is the cost of the lib idea of social justice.

  4. Don:


    The "lib idea of social justice" as nothing to do with it. It is counter to our founding documents to hold people (no matter WHO they are) without due process. It comes down to the Declaration of Independence's statement of Natural Rights. If we now say those rights don't exist for these people, then our own founding is illegitimate and we should rightfully be part of the British Empire.

    BTW, the DoI _was_ a "liberal" idea, but "liberal" in this case has nothing to do with the progressives that have stolen that name or who espouse "social justice", which is a complete smoke screen to hide efforts to return us to what is essentially a feudal system. Basically, progressive want to progress _BACKWARDS_ by about 4 centuries.

    We cannot sustain a perpetual war with an ephemeral entity (our "War on Drugs" should have taught us that by now), so we cannot call them "Prisoners of War" for ever.

    As I said, no that we have legitimate governments in the countries where they were captured, it would be most appropriate that we allow those country's justice system to deal with them. After all, it was on their people that these folks perpetrated most of the damage.

    As I said, social justice has nothing to do with it.

  5. astonerii:


    They do have those rights, and just as United States of America Citizens have done, they need to create an entity that is able to ensure those rights for themselves. It is not our obligation to provide these rights to the entire world. These people hate us, have attacked our nation, and so long as the war is ongoing and there is not entity for us to negotiate with, then they are going to be left in limbo. They are not just some human being being unlawfully detained, as we have absolute power to detain enemy combatants, even if that enemy combatant is nothing more than a paper pusher secretary for some 2nd Lt. who just happened to be caught on the battle field.

    In times past, we would have another government to negotiate with to take these people back once hostilities were ended or they offered us an exchange for our prisoners. I do not see any such entity on the other side of the issue. I will only take offense at the use of this type of activity when it is a citizen or lawful resident or visitor of the United States of America. That should be the position of anyone. People make choices, there are consequences for those choices.

  6. Don:


    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    Were in there does it say "Except people we're mad at?"

    As I said, the countries where these people were captured now have appropriate authorities capable of performing the basic function of dealing with uninvited foreign fighters who committed atrocities against their populations. Why, then, if we will not prosecute these people, do we not give them to a court with the appropriate jurisdiction who will?

    You seem to think I'm concerned with their rights, I'm not. I have no doubt that they should (at minimum) spend much of the rest of their natural lives in prison, however, we as a people have agreed to live by a set of basic rules, the most basic of which I've quoted above, and with in the bounds of our country, it is unacceptable to violate this, no matter WHO we are doing that to.

    It's not them I'm worried about, it's US. Getting in the habit of making exceptions to our basic principals sets our feet on a path that we SHOULD NOT GO DOWN. Unfortunately, this fight has been fought since the founding, and is fought by every generation since. It's the difference between rule of law and rule by fiat.

  7. Gary:

    These detainees are neither criminals nor soldiers associated with a nation state. As such, neither our criminal justice system nor the Westphalian system of international relations seems adequate for determining their fate or protecting our national interests.

    Absent a new understanding regarding a distinctive legal framework for 'enemy combatants' (if that is even the correct term) this debate will be unresolvable.

  8. John Moore:

    These people you want to turn loose or try (in courts not designed for this) included the self admitted mastermind of 9-11 and his nephew, whose bomb murdered a passenger on an airliner as part of a trial run planned to kill thousands.

    But what the heck. Even if they and their associates want to kill us, and are actively working on biological and other weapons for that effect... well, if we can't try them according to some Libertarian ideal, let's just turn them loose to do their dirty work.

  9. Tim:

    John Moore:

    You say "These people you want to turn loose or try... included the self admitted mastermind of 9-11...." If that's true, then the government should step up and prove it. If they can't prove it; then they didn't do it.

    In fact, right now, every person held in Guantanamo Bay is not guilty of any crime. They have, in the eyes of The Law, done nothing wrong.

    And, to reply to dwall, at one time, this country was willing to make that trade-off. It was willing to let the not guilty go free; and even risk that they would commit crimes, in exchange for never unjustly inprisoning the innocent.

    And, frankly, I think the only reason that most of these people can't be tried is because there is no way a just and fair court would admit most of the evidence against them, because it was obtained unlawfully.

  10. Grant:

    Don is 100% right - this is a road that is best not traveled. Suddenly, whoever is in charge just has to declare someone dangerous, and they can be locked up forever? How long until that power is abused?

    Further, how do any of us know that the people in Gitmo are dangerous, if we can't see the evidence against them? How do we know there is any evidence at all? Because the government says so? I'm sure that the government has never led us down the primrose path before with this sort of thing, right?

    @ Gary, what does being associated with a nation state get you? What I mean is, it's either right or wrong to bear arms against US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Doing so while wearing a costume does not change that in any meaningful way that I can discern, so the assertion that we don't have a system for dealing with them doesn't seem correct. Try them as criminals, and if you don't get a conviction, let them go where you caught them. They may cause harm in the future, they may not, but you can't just lock up everyone who might do something bad. That's just crazy.

  11. mahtso:

    The detainees have had some of the best legal representation in the country and their status has been extensively litigated. So, for the people stating that the “rule of law’ renders the detention illegal, I am ready to be convinced: which cases support your respective positions?

    I’ll be candid: I don’t think there are any such cases and, the reality is that the Congress and Pres. Bush worked within the framework that the Courts said they were required to. That is, the rule of law was followed.

    With respect to: “It used to be that people who had never been convicted of any crime but that certain people in the government considered dangerous were called ‘free men.’” True for some perhaps, but what of prisoners of war and illegal combatants as defined by international and other law?

  12. drB:

    What part of international law defines "illegal combatants"? What part of international law allows waterboarding? If it was considered a war crime for Japanese (when they waterboarded American POW's), then why is it not a crime now?

    Basically the arguments for Bush/Obama policies with respect to these issues remind me of arguments that Soviets had for dissidents. they are evil and will undermine our socialist state..so lets lock them up..but at least then they had some sham trials with predestined outcomes.

  13. skh.pcola:

    And thus is provided yet more evidence of why big "L" Libertarians are nothing more than sycophants of a fringe ideology that has a facile worldview. Really, WTH is wrong with you people? Have you an inability to differentiate between the random "innocent" and a combatant captured on a field of battle? Pfft. Some of you claw towards sophisticated validation of your mental atrophy, but it ain't going to happen. Paulbots are idiots.

  14. chuck martel:

    Certainly the best course would be to return the Guantanamo detainees to the locales where they were captured, although authorities in those places may not welcome them with enthusiasm. In reality, they are not prisoners of war, as war is defined, and better fit the definition of pirates, ie. stateless combatants, traditionally fair game for anyone.

  15. drB:

    Some of the "combatants captured on the battlefield" were purchased from tribes in Afghanistan. See http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8049868/ns/world_news/. You (skh) provide no arguments besides name calling.

  16. drB:


    captured pirates are nowadays tried (there was a recent case in news where a guy from Somalia was sentenced for 30+ years). If they would try the Guantanamo inmates in normal courts everything would be OK. Sending them back also would be OK, even though as you say they will not be welcome with enthusiasm. But then it stops being US problem.

  17. mahtso:

    Turning the detainees over to authorities in the countries from which they came is likely to be a violation of law or considered a violation of human rights (illegal rendition).

    As to the claims that some detainees were “purchased from tribes in Afghanistan:” That may well be true and it is likely that others also were improperly seized. The question is: which of these people are still detained? Do you know? (I do not know, but as I wrote before: the detainees have had some of the best legal representation in the country and, given that a majority of the detainees have been released, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I assume that there are none with valid claims of improper seizure remaining in custody.)

  18. drB:


    ISN 522 Ismail, Yasin supposedly was sold to American troops and still is in Guantanamo. Also, I do not know of any definition of "illegal combatants" under international law.
    Also, quite interestingly, Congress removed the Geneva Conventions’ requirement not to imprison medics when passing the Military Commissions Act in 2006, which stated, “No person may invoke the Geneva Conventions … in any habeas corpus proceeding … as a source of rights in any court of the United States.” So the wounded should not be treated apparently.

  19. Don:

    Ick! I have projection all over me!

    Will the geniuses that have said I've advocated for turning these creatures loose, please point to where I said they should be freed? I said they SHOULD BE TRIED in a court of law with appropriate jurisdiction. That would be one of the following:

    - US Military Tribunal -and/or-
    - US Criminal Court (if, and ONLY if they are part of a plot which attacked American civilians or military personnel prior to the outbreak of formal hostilities .. e.g. 9/11, USS Cole).
    - World Court for Crimes Against Humanity (a la Neurumburg).
    - Iraq or Afghanistan (as appropriate for where they were captured).
    - Country of Origin (as we do with our own citizens who become mercenaries in foreign wars without consent of the DOD and State Dept.).

    Out of that list (and EACH of those is appropriate), do you really think these guys will see the light of day again? One (if not all) of them WILL exercise their right to prosecute and get a conviction.

    Hell even the Nazi's got a trial, and they killed millions with no hint of remorse.

    It's not about what's fair to THEM, it's about not losing our collective soul as a Nation to get the result we want. Ends DO NOT justify the means, that way lies tyranny.

  20. perlhaqr:

    Don't be silly, Warren, these guys were found in a country we had invaded. Clearly, they're terrorists.

  21. Don:

    >Turning the detainees over to authorities in the countries from which they came is likely to be a violation of law or considered a violation of human rights (illegal rendition).

    Uh, we do it all the time, it's called "extradition," and if they did not want to be subject to the laws of the country in which they were captured, they shouldn't have violated the law there. Rendition is charging and convicting a prisoner in one jurisdiction for crimes committed in another jurisdiction. As I said, these people committed crimes in multiple jurisdictions, and we have no need to charge them in Saudi Arabia for crimes committed in Iraq, when they almost certainly have committed crimes against the Saudi state and Iraq can perform it's own prosecution. Same as a murder that commits murder in several States in the US or crossing into Canada to continue his crime spree.

    As for "human rights", bull shit. If I go to Turkey and sell hash, I'm subject to Turkish law. If I escape to the US, I will be sent back to stand trial and do my time, regardless of how bad the prisons are there.

    We have normalized relations with these countries, these are not political prisoners, and there is no justification for not allowing these countries to exercise their rights as sovereign nations to try and convict criminals. Period.

  22. mahtso:


    “Defined” was probably a poor choice of words.

    Admittedly, I am no expert, but as I understand it, the terms illegal combatant and unlawful combatant are commonly used in Int’l Law, which is a nebulous thing, and have been for decades (according to some sources.) These terms are “defined” by reference to “legal combatants,” which is defined in various treaties/conventions. If you do not meet the definition of legal combatant, but engage in acts of warfare, you are an illegal or unlawful combatant. (But I suspect you knew that and I suspect you know far more about this than I do, but want to win a debate rather than provide illumination to the rest of us.)

    As to “ISN 522 Ismail, Yasin” kudos for having the info, but “supposedly” sold, that is a far cry from “sold,” and perhaps this just shows that some of those who were obtained by other than outright capture on the battlefield are not entitled to protection as lawful combatants.

  23. mahtso:

    Don, to some extent our comments are axiomatic: extradition is legal, but illegal rendition is not (both by definition.)

    Maybe I was wrong (I have no problem admitting it), but it is my understanding that many of the detainees cannot be returned to their counties of origin or capture because they would face torture or death. Like it or not, assuming I am right for argument’s sake, sending them there would be illegal and a violation of human rights. (And, I am willing to conjecture that the same law firms that are defending detainees would be willing to sue the US for those human rights violations.)

    The 17 Chinese Uighurs who finally ended up in Bermuda is a good example: they were not captured in China, they could not be returned to China (because the belief was that they would be killed), and Afghanistan did not want them.

  24. Dan:

    With regard to what an illegal combatant is - see Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention. It clearly delineates that there are responsibilities that one must adhere to in order to be accorded the status of Prisoner of War under the conventions. Among these are the wearing of a distinct mark or uniform, separating one's self from the civilian population, and being responsible to a constituted chain of command. In previous conflicts, those who did not meet these requirements were routinely subject to summary execution as bandits, brigands, or partisans.

    This is a clear, to me at least, case of events outrunning law. There is just no clear precedent for how to treat large numbers of people captured on the batlefield but who do not otherwise qualify under the Geneva Conventions.

  25. Don:


    The Uighurs should have been deported to China unless they applied for asylum, in which case we'd have to decide if they were safe enough to grant the request (doubtful!). I don't like it, but that's the proper way to have handled that. I'm not familiar with the Bermuda deal, but I'm assuming Bermuda granted them asylum so we didn't have to (and I'm sure money changed hands some where to make that happen, again something I cannot condone). I'm admittedly light on details on that deal.

    As for "human rights", they have the right to a trial of their peers, and that would be their own citizens (the country of origin) and the country in which they illegally engaged in combat (which they entered of their own free will, there by subjugating themselves to that country's laws). It's a non-issue, regardless of what their lawyers say.

    All the hand waving over "illegal combatant" is also bull. It was legal maneuvering by their defense team and CYA by the DOD and Executive branch. In the end, the Courts gave Bush what he wanted, which was essentially a free reign to lock these folks up and throw away the key. That shouldn't have happened, constitutionally, but it's certainly not the first time (or the last I fear) that SCotUS will cave to the PotUS on a hard question like this.

    Look, I'm not for these guys getting off either, but at some point you gotta decide, does our Constitution MEAN what it says, or not? International law and human rights be damned, the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence is the supreme law of the land, and everything is subservient to those within our boarders (including Gitmo). The rules are simple, and easy to read. If we have jurisdiction we try them, if we don't, we send them to the place(s) that do and let THEM try them. Doing otherwise violates our Constitution and endangers our Citizens when dealing with other countries (where we already have instances of US Citizens being dropped in deep, dark wholes without trials).

    I'm as dead set against these guys being hauled to NYC for some sort of glorified show-trial as you are UNLESS it is the appropriate venue for charges. Since they were captured on the battlefield, it likely isn't, and if we screwed up our own evidence (via torture or some other misstep) then we cannot prosecute them, period. Doesn't mean they cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed elsewhere. They should be and the faster we realize this and get it done, the faster we can get them out of hair. As long as we delay their justice, we endanger ourselves.

  26. Don:

    Dan, I think "brigand" is likely an apt description. And I don't think events outran the law here, I think that the Afghan government should try them as they would any other murdering thug they caught killing civilians or attempting to overthrow the legitimate government

    Yes, I know, we did that too, but we followed the rules of the GC and, as our President so eloquently put it "[We] won."

    The government that is in power now is legitimate, is not perpetrating war on another country (or supporting somebody doing the same) and should be ready to stand up on basic matters of justice, including trying and convicting murders (because that's what they are if they are not "legal combatants", run of the mill mass murders).

  27. Grant:

    I'm waiting for an explanation as to why what outfit you wear when you shoot at someone makes the slightest bit of difference with respect to how right or wrong your actions are.

  28. Dan:

    @Grant - The uniform rule is to attempt to make it obvious to all who is a civilian, and who is a legitimate military target. The purpose of it is expressly to avoid the "Kill 'em all and let God Sort 'em out" approach to warfare. It was decided by those negotiating the conventions that one of the hallmarks of a professional soldier was not to unduly jeopardize the civilian population.

    Other hallmarks were that a professional soldier would be responsible to the orders of a superior officer, and subject to discipline for infractions against the regulations, laws, and customs of both his own country and the accepted laws of warfare. Another hallmark was that you would respect the life and rights under the conventions of an enemy soldier, and treat them with the same dignity with which you would expect to be treated.

  29. Dan:

    @drB - Ther is nothing in the Geneva Conventions that states that medics cannot be captured or imprisoned. They do, however, along with chaplains, enjoy a few extra rights by virtue of their standing. In the case of medics, they are to be allowed to continue to treat their wounded to the extnet that supplies and facilities are avialable, and be provided with such supplies and facilities as can be made available to them to continue to care for other prisoners during their period of detention. Chaplains are to be allowed to continue to minister to other prisoners, and be accorded with the supplies and facilities needed to conduct services and otherwise practice their religion.

  30. markm:

    John, yes, and they also include a bunch that we really don't know anything about, except that their tribal enemy sold them to us for a bounty.

  31. astonerii:

    however, we as a people have agreed to live by a set of basic rules, the most basic of which I’ve quoted above, and with in the bounds of our country,

    You make my argument for me. They are not a part of "we as a people", they have not "agreed to live by a set of basic rules", they wish to destroy our way of life "the most basic of which" you have quoted above, and they are not with in the bounds of our country, they are captured outside our country and detained outside our country. End of story.

  32. Dr. T:

    "It used to be that people who had never been convicted of any crime but that certain people in the government considered dangerous were called “free men.”"

    Do you really believe that our soldiers in Afghanistan just walk into villages, grab innocent men at random, and ship them to Guantanamo Bay? The incarcerated men had been captured while fighting against our soldiers. We are warring on terrorists in Afghanistan, not on the Afghanistan government, so the captured men were not in uniform. They don't get prisoner-of-war status. They don't get Geneva Convention protections. Based on current international law, our soldiers can shoot them dead even after capturing and disarming them. (Similar to the international laws on piracy.) Incarcerating them in a relatively cushy prison in Cuba is a better fate than they deserve and is a much better fate than what befalls captured US soldiers in Afghanistan (who usually are mutilated and tortured to death). Despite opposing our policy on captured Afghanis prior to the election, Obama fully adopted the policy soon after taking office. I guess the policy wasn't as horrific once the responsibility fell into his lap.

  33. Don:

    astornerii> ... and they are not with in the bounds of our country, they are captured outside our country and detained outside our country.

    Uh, this is where you are wrong. Gitmo, like all US military bases worldwide, IS American soil and the Constitution applies. Period. If they didn't want those laws applied, they should have shot them in the field. Once they bring them into the US or a US territory, our laws apply. The better solution would have been to stuff them into local prisons, act as their guards until the new legitimate government takes over, then hand them over. We didn't do that, so now we're stuck.

    Dr. T,
    I don't think anybody has said anything about American troops doing any such thing, and it's damned insulting of you to say so. Don't mistake the insistence on following our own laws with an attempt to give aid or comfort to the enemy. Personally I wouldn't be the least bit upset to see these guys lined up along a wall and shot. But, FIRST they must have their day in court for the reasons listed above. The best solution would have been hold them in the countries where they were captured and hand them over to the new governments when they took over, but that ship has already sailed.

  34. Darin Johnson:

    I'd feel better about being outraged at Guantanamo if the people who ARE outraged would at least acknowledge that there's a trade-off to be made.

    "Siberian Gulag in the Caribbean"? Seriously? That choice of terms is so inapt as to be insulting. Is there a Godwin's Law for communists?

  35. Grant:

    "Do you really believe that our soldiers in Afghanistan just walk into villages, grab innocent men at random, and ship them to Guantanamo Bay?"

    I speak from experience when I say US soldiers in Iraq do sometimes go into villages in cordon and searches, and round up all military age males, and ship them off to who the hell knows where. Some come back, some don't.

    And while I understand that all of the welfare/warfare great powers got together and devised rules that make war easier for them (uniforms and such) I am failing to grasp why it is ok for me to shoot a person if I'm wearing a costume, but as soon as I put on another outfit, shooting at them is wrong. People can sit down and hammer out whatever convention they want, it has no bearing on the morality of an individual act. Rubber stamping something is not the same as making it OK. I want to know why what I'm wearing changes the morality of shooting people, and so far nobody has convinced me it has any bearing.

    If you don't have enough evidence to book them, in a public trial, then I have no reason to take anyone's word on the fact that they are actually dangerous. Government says they are dangerous, and they can't explain themselves for my own protection? Smells like BS to me.

  36. mahtso:


    I think you are missing the point (perhaps deliberately): the uniform or costume does not change the morality of the act. But, by the agreement(s) of various nations, it does change how the actor may be treated by those who have entered the agreement(s). Those nations or actors who are not signatories to the agreements are under no obligation to comply. But many people believe that these non-signatories also should not obtain the benefits of the agreements.

    Similar to what others have pointed out, it is all part of what appears to be an oxymoron: civilized warfare.

    I am curious: Are you of the opinion that prisoners of war should be given trials?

  37. Goober:

    I will never understand the problem here. Ever. If they are criminals, try them in whatever court has jurisdiction, be it civilian or military or what have you. How is that hard? How is the "right to a speedy and fair trial" somehow so foreign to these people?

    If you don't have enough evidence to try them and convict them, then how do you have enough evidence to prove that they should be detained? This is the part that scares me - the continued claims that they can't convict because they don'thave enough evidence. Yet, somehow, they assure us, they just know that these people are dangerous (without having any evidence to prove it) and that should be enough to satisfy us all that they should be detained.
    I'll bet they think TJIC is dangerous, too. Should he be detained forever?

  38. NL:

    If they aren't guilty, why are they Muslim?


  39. Gary:

    There are a number of people commenting here that don't seem to acknowledge the difference between a criminal act to be judged in a criminal court and the activities of a soldier on a battlefield which in a civilian context would be crimes but in the context of war are not.

    Even that binary distinction is insufficient as there are crimes that can be committed by soldiers and 'soldiering' that can be done by non-soldiers. Other variables include the location of the activity and the nationality of the participants.

    Pretending that these complexities don't exist and insisting that the detainees should be 'tried for their crimes' or released is a serious misunderstanding and simplification of the situation.

    The biggest misunderstanding seems to be that combatants can only be detained if they have commited crimes, which is simply not in accord with 'rules of war'.

  40. Grant:

    I feel like for what I'm saying to make sense I'd really have to start at the beginning of my moral philosophy (I own my body, because nobody else owns it, therefore I own my actions and their consequences, and the product of my labor, etc, etc, etc. all the way up to why bailing out GM is wrong). Whenever I do that, most people see that my views are at least consistent and grounded in core principles that make a lot of sense.

    Basically, if you are in support of a collective entity, through the use of force, sending other people you don't know with guns over to yet another person's property and killing them, then I'm afraid we are going to have trouble finding common ground.

    With respect to prisoners of war, I hesitate to give the appearance of my consent by applying rules to the behavior after the fact. I reject wholly the notion of an armed force stealing my money and using it to fight other people who have stolen other people's money, and giving them suggestions as to how to do that reeks too much of giving them moral sanction. By the same token, I refused to play the life boat game in school or cast my vote in elections.

    That being said, as a former professional soldier I often found I had more in common with enemy and allied soldiers at my level than I did with my own leadership or civilian population. I would want prisoners of war treated with respect. That's a concept most first graders can grasp so I don't feel the need to give further details.

    However, since we are not at war, and those who chose to prosecute said non-war have failed to give anything other than vague nonsense about what the goals are or what victory might look like, I am inclined to err on the side of giving the government less power.

    As has been constantly brought up, these are poor muslims caught somewhere far away, who may or may not be evil, terrible, no good very bad people. However, once you set the precedent (and this is the point of the original blog post) it's only a matter of time before it's abused and turned against you. This is why you have to be very careful and thoughtful of statements meant to whip us up into an emotional frenzy (They are terrorists! They hate America! They want you to convert or die!) and grant the political class more power.

  41. Tom Nally:

    We captured and held many German tank commanders and foot soldiers during WWII. Few of them were ever accused of criminal activity. Holding them keeps them off the battlefield until the cessation of hostilities.

    In the case of captured terrorists, I recommend that we hold them until the cessation of hostilities. When the hostilities end is completely up to the maniacs who actively support the killing of Westerners as a matter of obedience to religious dogma.

    If that time period lasts another 100 years, so be it. It doesn't have to be that way. It's up to them.

    But whether it is 1 year or 100 years, keep captured enemy combatants -- whether legal or illegal combatants -- off the battlefield.

    ---Tom Nally, New Orleans

  42. skh.pcola:

    Grant sounds more like a weekend paintball soldier than anybody that I ever served with in the first Persian Gulf War. He really had more in common with the enemy than with his own countrymen? Absolutely pitiful, and he bears all of the hallmarks of a lunatic Libertarian who is liberal enough to blame the US for all of the world's ills. "Poor Muslims," "we are not at war," etc. reveals the ruse...

  43. Gil:

    I pretty much agree what Gary wrote. However this article explains the situation:


  44. Grant:

    "Grant sounds more like a weekend paintball soldier than anybody that I ever served with in the first Persian Gulf War. He really had more in common with the enemy than with his own countrymen? Absolutely pitiful, and he bears all of the hallmarks of a lunatic Libertarian who is liberal enough to blame the US for all of the world’s ills. “Poor Muslims,” “we are not at war,” etc. reveals the ruse…"

    Your attacks on my service record are wildly inappropriate, rude, and uncalled for. Silly and ignorant come to mind as well.

    If you'd had the opportunity, as I had, to interact with soldiers who served under Saddam you would see that soldiers, across time and culture, often have much in common. That's why you can read books written by German or British soldiers or about the Civil War and glean something.

    If you'd come home on leave to witness Democrats trying to ensure the war goes poorly, and Republicans refusing to admit that anything at all was wrong, while entertaining stupid statements from civilians like "Do the Iraqis like us? Is it hot over there? Where is Iraq at? I don't support the war, but I support the troops. I don't support the war OR the troops," then you probably wouldn't feel like you had a lot in common with your "countrymen".

    As for who I blame for the world's ills, I typically blame the state, whatever that looks like. Because they are the ones using force and coercion to achieve ends that benefit the politically connected.

    "In the case of captured terrorists, I recommend that we hold them until the cessation of hostilities. When the hostilities end is completely up to the maniacs who actively support the killing of Westerners as a matter of obedience to religious dogma."

    I disagree wholeheartedly with the idea of indefinite detention of individuals who may or may not be connected with other individuals who you have lumped together. Should all armed robbers be kept in jail until armed robbery is completely stamped out? That seems silly, not to mention expensive.

    I believe, above all, in liberty. If an individual or institution believes in restricting liberty (beyond the principle of nonaggression), then they are dangerous. Once you start using violence to accomplish your goals, and you build a machine capable of inflicting that violence, it's only a matter of time before it consumes you as well.

    What the hell am I talking about, though? I mean, it's not like there is a long, well documented history of this ever working out badly. Clearly, we're all A-Ok to go spending trillions of confiscated or newly-printed dollars wrecking other people's countries, since they are brown and thus not entitled to not having bombs dropped on them in the middle of the night.

  45. astonerii:

    "Clearly, we’re all A-Ok to go spending trillions of confiscated or newly-printed dollars wrecking other people’s countries, since they are brown and thus not entitled to not having bombs dropped on them in the middle of the night."

    And there goes any credibility you may have had up to that point.