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[P]
Military Trials for Terrorists

By wiredog in News
Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 12:10:01 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

The President of the United States, having "determined that an extraordinary emergency exists" has signed an executive order which allows for secret trials, by military tribunals, of captured terrorists. The trials could be held in the US or abroad, and there is to be no judicial review of the convictions or sentences. The order was signed by President Bush in his capacity as the Commander in Chief.


The trials will not be required to follow the same rules of procedure or evidence that are common in trials in the US, on the grounds that it is not practical to do so. Apparently because following those procedures could endanger sources and methods of gathering intelligence.

Who is to be subjected to these tribunals under this order? Persons who are not US citizens, which means that legal residents could be tried under this order. People can be tried if there is evidence that they are, or were, a member of Al Quaeda and if they have carried out, or aided, terrorist acts that have caused harm to the "United States, its citizens, national security, foreign policy, or economy".

There is precedent for these sorts of trials. During World War II, President Roosevelt ordered a secret military trial for Nazi saboteurs and the Supreme Court later declared the trials constitutional. President Lincoln also allowed for these trials during the US Civil War.

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Military Trials for Terrorists | 126 comments (116 topical, 10 editorial, 1 hidden)
In the UK (4.50 / 6) (#4)
by craigtubby on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 09:13:00 AM EST

Very similar laws are now being proposed - except the wording is based on "Suspected Terrorists".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_1653000/1653724.stm


try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *

Security matters (4.50 / 8) (#7)
by jabber on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 10:01:16 AM EST

IIRC, one of the differences here is that a military tribunal will assure higher security during the proceedings. If bin Laden (or a high ranking Al Qaeda lieutenant) were to be caught and tried, a 'fair' trial by American standards would be impossible. Certainly a jury of 'peers' would be out of the question, while handing him over to the Hague would not give the same sense of closure to the people of the US. A military context is likely to keep the accused safe and sound until they are executed.

Another item is that military tribunals, again IIRC (I'd appreciate a military back-check on this), do not need to release information during proceedings, and are not subject to the 'public has a right to know' cry of opportunistic journalists.

The facts of any case/trial against bin Laden are likely to involve matters of national security (the man was trained by the CIA to fight Soviets after all - and may be apprehended/questioned by less than honorable means), and this is probably the reason this action was taken the the first place.. To keep the secrets secret and keep the government from getting embarassed by things they did in the past, that have now come back to bite the citizenry in the arse.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

This is why this is lunacy. (4.90 / 20) (#17)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 12:19:13 PM EST

A military context is likely to keep the accused safe and sound until they are executed.

If this is the mindset utilized, well, there is not much more to say.

When US citizens begin to be "judged" by similar tribunals for whatever reason, please, don't jump and complain.

Any US citizen that believes all the freedom, democracy and blah,blah,blah should be ashamed of this and fight it vigourously.

An International tribunal is what is required, the "closure" argument is ludicrous. There are people that don't get "closure" with most civil judicial systems, that does not mean they go rampaging ignoring all basic rules of common sense.

What will stop the US goverment to impose the same trials in suspected terrorists with US citizenship in the future? And then who will be safe of a MacCarthy style witch hunt against the "evil doers" most fashionable at any given moment?

Dear USians: you should really be making a big fuss about this, I will repeat as much as I can: when you protect the basic rights of others (a fair trial is one of them) then you protect your own rights and the ones of your children (and yes, lets protect the children, don't leave a mess for them to endure)


---
Sigintentionallysmalltosavebandwith.

[ Parent ]

You know (3.57 / 7) (#34)
by trhurler on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 05:33:16 PM EST

In principle I agree, but this has been done before without any real problems, and it is not entirely clear that an international tribunal would be willing to do the one thing we need done - kill these people. As long as they're alive, "the base" still exists, even from behind bars, and they'll lead it from their jail cells, just like organized crime bosses. They have to go, and their crimes easily justify killing them, unless you're one of those damned pain in the ass death penalty opposing people.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
efficacy (4.83 / 6) (#43)
by johnny on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 09:41:01 PM EST

In general I am one of those "damned pain in the ass death penalty opposing people." However, I am not entirely pie-in-the-sky, and I acknowledge the concept of the just war, and that sometimes the bad guys have to get made dead.

But speaking strictly in terms of

  • making my world safer, and
  • preserving my own civil liberties,
  • preserving the very concepts of justice and democray that makes me think the USA is a worthwhile concept in the first place,
  • I think we should tread very carefully here.

    Le't say we capture Bin Ladin, give him a perfunctory tribunal trial and string him up. Do you really think we will thereby decreased his "Robin Hood" appeal? I don't. I would rather see him be made impotent by languishing in a jail. I'll grant you that, were he to be imprisoned in a jail in Yemen, for example, he could run his band of thugs just fine from behind bars. But what if he were behind bars in Moscow, Tokyo, or South Georgia Island? Or Riker's Island Prison in New York City? I doubt it. (I know that Rikers isn't a federal prison, but you get my point. Find the federal prison closest to New York City and imprison him there. You're telling me he's going to run Al Quaida from some town in New Jersey that lost ~16 beloved citizens in S11? Coupez moi de slack, por favor.)

    Second, I cannot fail to notice that President Chenney's government is very indifferent to the civil liberties of USian citizens (including moi) in general. Forget OBL for a second, my own government is scaring ME. Why? because they're targeting people like me & passing laws to spy on us, scare us, isolate us, etc, etc, etc. I fear these people. Honest to God. Not K5 hyperbole. I am literally afraid of them. Ashcroft, Chenney, Bush. I don't like them, I don't trust them, I think they have dangerous agendas, I am afraid of them, I don't believe them.

    Third point. Everything we do to erode the notions of fairness, justice, openness; everything we do to promote the notion that the Government is an unaccountable Thing Unto Itself, every compromise with principle that we make because Great-White-Father-in-Washington-Who-Knows-Best says it's the "patriotic thing to do" takes us that much further from what our beloved Mr. Lincoln called "Government of the people, by the people, for the people." In other words, I am speaking at the next higher level of abstraction than I was in the paragraph immediately preceding. Forget the individuals. The principle-- that the government gets more and more power for deathmaking and secrecy--is bad in itself, because it is contrary to our very essence.

    In the recent election, have already seen the colossal contempt that Mr. Bush & his pals have for the basic notion that the people should get to elect their own President. Since Mr. Chenney and his sidekick Bush have taken office, we have seen that Mr. Bush is slow-witted and ignorant of much American history and the philosophical underpinnings of our republican form of government. Given all this, I am extremely concerned about this tribunal business. Not only do I think it may become an unnecessary propoganda disaster; I also do not trust the government to abide by the so-called rules. I fear our becoming a police state, a la Chile in the dark years. Don't think it could happen to us? Why not?

    yr frn,
    jrs
    Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices.
    [ Parent ]

    Read like a Manuel (3.00 / 2) (#60)
    by On Lawn on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 11:40:12 AM EST

    <i>I would rather see him be made impotent by languishing in a jail. </i>

    Impotent in jail like Nelson Mandela, or Manuel Noriega?

    A military trial like Walzheimer or the chief Nazi archetect guy they made a movie about?

    As far as trials go, this isn't about ObL, I don't think. If the military already convicted him, it'd be easier to bomb his entire mountain and let it fall on him.

    No, I think military tribunals are meant for a more fair representation than a killemall kangaroo court. Not as fair as a civil affair, but then again he did declare war on us. He did encourage a rain of planes to come down on America. I'd consider that a military matter more than civilian.

    [ Parent ]
    You may be right (3.00 / 2) (#61)
    by johnny on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 11:46:40 AM EST

    But I'm still very nervous. Given the context of all the other things this administration is all about.

    yr frn,
    jrs
    Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices.
    [ Parent ]
    Sceptical vs Suspicious (3.33 / 3) (#67)
    by On Lawn on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:03:10 PM EST


    As one who beleives in a healthy dose of resistance to accepting what people want me to conclude, I think there is an important guideline for being suspicious.

    I've seen this most succinctly in my mother, but more generally in myself in others. She has the habit of jumping from one "Things are gonna go wrong" theory to the next, without pausing to note when they were wrong. The next real fear has already arrived and there is no time to take stock of beliefs.

    I think this is fed becuase there is always meet for suspicion. Always alternative motives to ascribe to evidence and actions. One can easily subsist on suspicioun alone. For this cause I think its healthy to be "suspicious" of suspicion.

    I'm not saying you suffer from this, you didn't give me any reason to say you do. I only offer it becuase I think in general k5 could use a little measured self-check on its suspicion of government.

    For instance, an arguement shouldn't be based on the pattern...

    Look who is to gain from this...

    Look who is powerful enough to make it happen...

    Becuase both are really more plot points of fiction rather than a real assesment of information, IMHO.

    Anyway, thanks for the input.





    [ Parent ]
    Good, but (3.33 / 3) (#63)
    by trhurler on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 12:33:12 PM EST

    Le't say we capture Bin Ladin, give him a perfunctory tribunal trial and string him up.
    That's not actually how US military courts have ever worked. I suggest some research here, if you're interested. Politically embarassing your boss can be a bad thing, and guess who the ultimate boss is relative to a military judge?
    I would rather see him be made impotent by languishing in a jail. I'll grant you that, were he to be imprisoned in a jail in Yemen, for example, he could run his band of thugs just fine from behind bars. But what if he were behind bars in Moscow, Tokyo, or South Georgia Island? Or Riker's Island Prison in New York City? I doubt it.
    Our experience with cocaine cartels, mafia families, and so on seems more credible to me than your unsupported doubts. You can get anything in prison, and you can get information back out. That's all that is needed to run the show from your cell. Even when they single someone out and watch him while he sleeps and takes a dump, it doesn't help. It might be a bit harder due to inmate hatred, but then that raises another point. Namely, that we have no prison where we could reliably keep these terrorists alive without treating them inhumanely.
    Second, I cannot fail to notice that President Chenney's government is very indifferent to the civil liberties of USian citizens (including moi) in general.
    As opposed to what US government in your lifetime? Civil liberties haven't been the subject of more than lip service since before the world wars.
    everything we do to promote the notion that the Government is an unaccountable Thing Unto Itself
    The notion? In case you haven't noticed, government IS an unaccountable "Thing Unto Itself" whether any of us likes it or not.
    Mr. Lincoln called "Government of the people, by the people, for the people."
    You mean the same Mr. Lincoln who arrested people who voted against "his" candidates during the Civil War, who suspended habeas corpus arbitrarily in cases of political dissent, and who was allegedly the very first to threaten to stuff the Supreme Court if it went against him? Yeah, he was a hell of a guy. With principles like his, you too could be a member of the Bush family.
    In the recent election, have already seen the colossal contempt that Mr. Bush & his pals have for the basic notion that the people should get to elect their own President.
    Whereas Gore conducted himself in impeccable fashion as a candidate for office in a representative democracy. Oh, wait, no he didn't. When things went against him, he tried to use the courts to get his way, didn't he? Yes, yes he did. How people can blame Bush for that, I do not understand.
    Since Mr. Chenney and his sidekick Bush have taken office, we have seen that Mr. Bush is slow-witted and ignorant of much American history and the philosophical underpinnings of our republican form of government.
    Where have we seen that? I must have missed that part. If youd' said "contemptuous of," maybe you'd have some point, but I don't think "ignorant" describes him, and "slow witted" certainly doesn't.
    I also do not trust the government to abide by the so-called rules.
    Then why do you trust government at all, ever? It has all the power, and you have none. If it won't abide by the rules, you're fucked anyway. Why would anyone else's government abide by the rules, given that there are no consequences for not doing so? (Hint: the real problem is a balance of power issue, and it has not primarily been those eee-vile Republicans, historically speaking, who have caused it - although at present, they're working full tilt at maintaining and enlarging it.)
    I fear our becoming a police state, a la Chile in the dark years.
    We already are. You thought otherwise because CNN didn't say so?

    Yes, some of what I have just written is worst case pessimism. The point is simple, though: you sound just like all the other "oh God, not a conservative" lummoxes out there, and the truth is, the "liberals" aren't any better, and neither are the "moderates." The "Greens" are just more "liberals" with less tact, or maybe Socialists with more tact, and so on. There is nobody in the political spectrum of the United States save a few liberty freaks who gives a rat fuck about the rights you claim are so important. The only two major political figures who care are Ron Paul(sort of) and Harry Browne, and the latter has never held an elected office; he's famous(insofar as he is famous at all,) only for trying to win one. If you think the last election mattered one bit, you're wrong. The choice was between statist oppressor A and statist oppressor B, because even though people like yourself whine about statist oppression, you go out and vote for it anyway.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    Clarifications. . . (4.80 / 5) (#70)
    by johnny on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:59:29 PM EST

    Some military courts have been remarkably one-sided affairs. Citations if I feel like it, which I probably won't. In any event, if accused, I certainly would prefer to be judged by a jury of my peers. I think they're likely to be more fair. Which is not to say that a military tribunal is inherently unfair. . .

    Gotti has been effectively cut off from control of his crime family. In many, many many cases, imprisoning a kingpin does exactly what one hopes it would do. Of course, sometimes it don't work out that way. So there is risk, of course.

    I think the anti-terrorism and "patriot" acts represent further erosion of my civil liberties. As you say, they've been under attack for some while. But that doesn't mean that thinks cannot get worse.

    Lincoln can make his own defense. I do like his Gettysburg Address, however. I like the ideas contained therein. How much he may have violated those tenets is another matter.

    I said nothing about Gore. I think he's as corporate and anti-democratic as bush. I loathe the two of them, but I fear Bush more because he hangs around with a more authoritarian crowd.

    Bush seems slow-witted and ignorant to me. But maybe I'm just being unfair, and maybe I don't have enough data to go on, since I always change the channel when he comes on.

    "Government" is not a monolithic thing. You and I probably will not agree on this. I believe that "government of the people, by the people, for the people" is an ideal to strive for. I don't think it's obtainable, but I don't think it's hollow platitude neither. I would like to be able to trust government to do some things. The more government insists that it needs more power and more secrecy, the less easy it becomes for me to trust it.

    Republicans and Democrats have worked together to assualt democratic rights and process. Republicans, over the last 50 years, have a more odious record when it comes to racism, xenophobia, jingoism, "the military industrial complex" and defense of the entrenched powers & status quo. However, that doesn't mean the Democrats are much better, in general.

    Were you to read my posts here at k5 I think you would see that I distrust big powerful entities. I distrust big business, big labor, big government, big meta-government (WTO, IMF, eg). I favor democracy. I favor government as a check on big business.

    Like Eisenhower, I don't see much of a difference between big business and big government. It's all one "complex" that enriches and empowers the already rich and powerful. I voted for Nader. I seriously read Browne's stuff and I agree with about 70% of it. I agree with about 80% of Nader's stuff. To the extent that Nader is a statist, I part company with him. To the extent that Browne is willing to change the nameplate on the oppressor and tell me I'm free, I part company with him. In other words, why the fuck should I care whether the prison in which I'm confined for a victimless "crime" is a federally-run prison or an "outsourced, market-efficient" prison?

    I found the last election profoundly depressing, and I have written elsewhere on k5 on several on several occaisons that the suppression of non-corporate voices (explicitly including Browne) made me think of Belgrade.

    yr frn,
    jrs
    Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices.
    [ Parent ]

    Gotti and Browne (3.75 / 4) (#71)
    by trhurler on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 05:45:55 PM EST

    Has Gotti really lost power? I mean, he pretty much handpicked someone to run the show in his absence, and I bet he gets visits quite regularly. Maybe he's not the day to day boss, but I doubt his wishes are ever ignored.

    As for Browne, seeing as he would eliminate enforcement of, and eventually statutes embodying, victimless crimes, and free those currently imprisoned because of them - I fail to understand how you could be imprisoned under his leadership for any such crime. Remember, these guys want to legalize drugs, prostitution, obscenity, and most everything else that doesn't involve threats or damage to people or their property. You might argue that he's a bit too corporate, but I think he's probably more pro-business than pro-corporation, if you see what I mean.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    Bush vs. ? (1.25 / 4) (#94)
    by Lenny on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 06:52:16 PM EST

    Your insults of Bush are protected under the constitution. Slam away. But dont forget who put him there. He won the election and EVERY recount, even those done by liberal newspapers. If Bush is what you say he is, then everyone else in the running is worse than Bush. If you dont like Bush, dont vote for him. If you dont like the results, move to a country that doesnt have free elections.
    "Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
    -Me
    [ Parent ]
    Pain in the ass... (3.25 / 4) (#54)
    by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:53:01 AM EST

    Yes, I am one of those. Sorry to dissapoint you.

    But I will not initite a new flame war here about death penality.
    ---
    Sigintentionallysmalltosavebandwith.

    [ Parent ]
    Ok (2.40 / 5) (#62)
    by trhurler on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 12:06:30 PM EST

    Well, if you don't want to discuss it, that's your business; when you can justify letting these people go on to kill a few thousand more people just because you don't want to kill a few admitted(and convicted) terrorists who've already killed thousands more though, I'd be really, really interested to know how. (Perhaps you're one of those people who thinks they'll "pay their debt to society" or be "reformed" in prison? :)

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    How much "leading" is necessary? (3.33 / 3) (#87)
    by roystgnr on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 10:27:41 PM EST

    Perhaps I'm still bitter about not being let in on the evidence linking bin Laden to the terrorism, but I just don't see how necessary a figure he is. His public orders all seem to be along the lines of "Kill all the Americans you can." If he's jailed, are his underlings going to become confused and only kill half of the Americans they can? A nice level of organization was needed to pull off September 11, but no special strategic genius. I'd be surprised if bin Laden didn't have a line of political succession set up for his own death/capture to make sure that his orgnization didn't fragment.

    [ Parent ]
    heh.. (2.50 / 4) (#48)
    by spectra72 on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 10:50:19 PM EST

    This is going to sound so trollish, but what the hell.

    If you want to declare a US citizen a terrorist and decide to try that person in a military court, by all means go ahead. Have at it I say.

    I'd just love to see you come to the US and try to get him.

    Hehe, that'd be rich.

    [ Parent ]

    Not trollish at all, you are supporting my point. (3.80 / 5) (#53)
    by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:50:05 AM EST

    We are not dealing with justice any more when setting up these closed military "tribunals". We are dealing with brute force and who has more arms to "judge" its enemies.

    If the US are happy with that, fine, but please I hope the US save us the embarrasing "I don't know why they hate US" when an agraviated fanatic strikes again in the future.
    ---
    Sigintentionallysmalltosavebandwith.

    [ Parent ]
    Treason (3.00 / 5) (#52)
    by jabber on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:45:03 AM EST

    What will stop the US goverment to impose the same trials in suspected terrorists with US citizenship in the future?

    IMHO, a citizen who is suspected of terrorism against their nation is accused of treason, and a military tribunal seems more than appropriate in that case.

    If this is the mindset utilized...

    When will the HTML spec include 'sarcasm' tags? I wonder..

    [TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
    [ Parent ]

    The really scary thing is... (4.50 / 2) (#98)
    by DavidTC on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:07:47 PM EST

    ...that the Constitution doesn't mention 'citizens' anywhere in the bill of rights, or at least in the parts promising fair trials. It mentions 'people', which means citizens, non-citizens, illegal aliens, and very recently dead corpses. (Wait, scratch that last one.)

    And, thus, if this order is legal, there is no logical reason the exact same order could come out of the president's mouth, with the words 'non-citizens' removed.

    And, of course, this is completely and blatently unconstitional anyway. The civilian court system cannot be overridden by the military as long as the civilian system is functional. (Of course, that automatically doesn't apply to Afghanistan, so the military could come up with all the courts it wants not in the US. But they might be found guilt of war crimes for violating the Geneva convention if they start executing POWs. <irony>Good thing we didn't sign up for that court, eh? Now we can kill all the POWs we want!</irony>)

    But the military can't take over the courts in the US unless the courts have stopped functioning. What level of 'functioning' is debatable, but losing three non-Judical related building probably doesn't count.

    -David T. C.
    Yes, my email address is real.
    [ Parent ]

    Jury of peers (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by jolly st nick on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 03:52:28 PM EST

    a 'fair' trial by American standards would be impossible. Certainly a jury of 'peers' would be out of the question, while handing him over to the Hague would not give the same sense of closure to the people of the US

    A "jury of peers" doesn't mean you are guaranteed to get people who are just like you. White folks can't demand a white jury, socialists can't demand socialist juries.What it does mean is that you get a jury of your legal equals rather than an aristrocratic (or bureaucratic) class who are not subject to such proceedings and thus have little interest in their fairness. In itself it's not a lot of protection, but without it there is no protection.

    I don't see why it should be impossible to give bin Laden a fair jury trial. Personally, I believe the government when they say bin Laden was behind it all. On the other hand, this belief is provisional; if I were on the jury, the government would have to come up with a well documented case to which no reasonable doubt could be raised. If they failed to reach this standard of proof (and I should add I would be particularly critical because of the political overtones of this case) I would cast a not guilty vote unhesitatingly, even if I thought it was likely that bin Laden was guilty. I would go home and I would not lose a single nights sleep over this, despite the enormity of September 11, because I realize that the government's obligation to rise to this standard is the only thing that stands between us and a worse disaster. I don't think I'm unusual in this at all.

    America is a big place; out of 280 million people, can't twelve fair minded and critical people be found to make up a jury?



    [ Parent ]
    No.... (4.83 / 12) (#8)
    by ucblockhead on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 10:54:17 AM EST

    The correct phrasing is "Military trials for suspected terrorists.
    -----------------------
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    But.. But... But.. (4.37 / 8) (#10)
    by wiredog on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 11:10:04 AM EST

    Everybody knows that we would only do this to real terrorists.

    If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
    [ Parent ]
    Trial. (4.55 / 9) (#9)
    by Electric Angst on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 11:04:09 AM EST

    (Extra, Pre-Script Editorial: This is how you write about something like this. Well done.)

    Isn't this just horribly frustrating? i mean, this entire thing. The war, the intelligence, the government responce. Right now, we're caught in a position where our government has decided to take a certain path because people in that government believe it is what's best for the nation (Despite my own personal reservations, and the rabid cries of conspiracy theorists, I am going to go ahead and assume that particlar motivation.) Many of us don't agree with that path. However, because of our particular system of represenative Democracy, we can't do a thing about it now.

    Sure, we can rant and complain, trying to make our voices heard. How effective is just a few thousand voices, though, when there are millions crying out? When public opinion ranges from those who believe that we should nuke them all to those who believe there should be no millitary action at all? When there is often not a clear way to seperate yourself from those who's position on the war may be similar to your own, and yet who's motivation for that position is one you consider horribly wrong?

    We're seeing this thing unfold right in front of our eyes, like fans at a football stadium, second-guessing every play and wanting to shout our ideas into the ear of the coach.

    No real insight on what to do here. I was just observing...


    --
    "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
    The
    Do Something! (4.25 / 4) (#14)
    by epepke on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 12:00:02 PM EST

    I don't think it's a conflict between people who want a different path.

    I think it's a conflict between a small minority who even think about which path and the vast majority who simply want someone to do something.


    The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


    [ Parent ]
    Representative Democracy (4.33 / 3) (#42)
    by elefantstn on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 09:23:32 PM EST

    If I take your meaning correctly, you are saying that because we live in a representative democracy, our leaders are free to do things we don't approve of (bombings, curtailing liberties, etc.) without our permission. I think, however, if you were to look at the actual opinion of the plurality of people in the US, the response would likely be more extreme. If we voted as a whole on a course of action, we would currently be discussing when the radiation levels would be sufficiently low for Afghanis to return home.



    [ Parent ]
    I'm not judging the actions... (4.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Electric Angst on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 10:33:12 PM EST

    I'm not saying that the government is being more harsh or less about this. What I'm saying is that, in times like this, we are essentially at the total mercy of those we have elected. While we may believe that the actions they're taking are wrong, or that we could do better, we are powerless to stop it.

    Perhaps we should think about this next election year...


    --
    "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
    The Parent ]
    You can always leave. (2.75 / 8) (#59)
    by SPYvSPY on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 10:05:37 AM EST

    So you are frustrated by the government's estimation of "what the American people want"? So go find another government that does a better job of following your personal agenda. Maybe France, or Norway?

    I mean, how arrogant is it for you to deny the totally defensible position that the current administration is fulfilling the desires of the American public (writ large)? And, from my point of view, they're doing it with a measure of tact, restraint and professionalism that makes coffee-shop liberal philosophers look even sillier than usual. I'm not frustrated at all. I'm delighted that an administration that looked so bad at first has turned out to be daring enough to stay one step ahead of the game.

    To bring this around to the topic at hand, my impression is that there will be major jurisdictional tussles between the US and the International war crimes tribunal after we capture bin Laden. I believe Bush and Ashcroft are just setting the stage for that battle.
    ------------------------------------------------

    By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
    [ Parent ]

    Bush as Commander in Chief (2.70 / 17) (#15)
    by cp on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 12:03:38 PM EST

    As William O'Rourke recently observed:
    In a recent Rose Garden impromptu press conference, following a photo op with the president of Nigeria, Bush announced that he isn't running the war in Afghanistan--the military is.

    [...]

    "We're going to pursue this war until we achieve our objective. As to the specific times and dates, we'll let the military speak to that. They're in charge of this operation. This is not a political campaign, this is a war. And I respect the chain of command, I honor the chain of command, and I will tell you, our military is doing a very good job."

    [...]

    Bush may know his own limitations, but the American people shouldn't have to guess at them. If Bush respects the chain of command, he is in charge.

    But it is the contrast Bush used that is especially disturbing. This is not a political campaign, this is a war. In other words, Bush might be in charge of unimportant things, like a political campaign, but not serious things, like a war.

    So not only does his presidency lack legitimacy; he fails to perform the duties required of a president. The Supreme Court didn't appoint him just to sit back on his rear and let others run the show. The least he can do is live up to the mandate of the minority of Americans who democratically rigged the election.

    Tactics vs Strategy (4.33 / 9) (#18)
    by wiredog on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 12:33:58 PM EST

    I think what the author of that piece missed was the difference between tactics and overall strategy. Bush is setting the goals (strategy) but the plans for achieving those goals (tactics) are left to people who know what they are doing. The Generals and Admirals know a hell of a lot more about the best way to employ the forces than Bush does, because they've been doing it for decades. Politics are a major component of any war, and Bush is handling that. See Clauswitz for details.

    If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
    [ Parent ]
    He's saying he doesn't micromanage! (2.76 / 13) (#19)
    by sonovel on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 12:46:25 PM EST

    His comments indicate to me that he is not micromanaging the conflict.

    Compare this to Clinton, who ordered bizzare bombing for political reasons, not the least of which was his impeachment!

    Contrast this also to Vietnam where the President and others got very overly involved with tactics over stategy. That worked out real well.

    But hey, no opportunity to Bash Bush!(C) should ever be missed.

    After all, if one illegally changes election law after the election, performs recounts that no one asked for or wanted, loses a couple of percent of the disputed ballots, ignores two(!) Supreme Court decisions (one case decided 7-2), throws away military ballots that tend to vote republican, it becomes obvious even to an idiot that the _real_ POTUS is, of course, Al Gore!

    Whatever.


    [ Parent ]
    Wow! (2.00 / 2) (#44)
    by sonovel on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 09:54:27 PM EST

    Apparently my little rant struck a nerve!

    To bad noone seems to be able to discuss the facts behind the post.

    Too bad so many think that rating is really good way to express disagreement.

    Actual discussion is so much more interesting, some of you rabid raters should try it sometime.

    But maybe that is asking too much of pulsar, crayz, and cyberformer.



    [ Parent ]
    Lessons learnt in the Gulf (4.00 / 6) (#24)
    by rasilon on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 01:54:25 PM EST

    Politicians can't run wars. The US forces were greatly handicapped during Desert Storm because the Whitehouse tried to micro manage the situation. Three quarters of the US command staff's time was spent refuting stupid ideas drafted by the latest junior minister who thought he had a good idea. I don't mean one line refutals either. The way it should work is that the Politicians set the objectives and the rules of engagement, then let the generals run the war. One of the most important things about leadership is the ability to delegate properly.

    [ Parent ]
    chain of command (4.80 / 5) (#32)
    by Delirium on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 04:46:02 PM EST

    Perhaps if you were more knowledgeable in military affairs and less knowledgeable in partisan punditry, you would produce an analysis that made sense.

    The purpose of a commander-in-chief is to direct wars in a broad strategic sense. The commander-in-chief decides what enemies to attack (in the broad sense, as in "we will attack the Taliban), what the goals of these attacks should be, and so on. The commander-in-chief does not decide what specific cities, divisions, or buildings to attack, and he does not decide which what forces to launch these attacks. Much in the same way that, further down the chain of command, a General may decide which aircraft carriers to move where, but does not decide which soldiers in a division should take up rear-facing positions and which should scout ahead.

    [ Parent ]

    That complaint is absurd (3.33 / 3) (#51)
    by ariux on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:44:22 AM EST

    Bush is not a military expert. I'm glad the war - not its goals, but its tactics and to some extent its strategies - is being operationally run by people who are.

    Is our nation inhabited by only one man? It is the job of any leader to pick the priorities, find good people, delegate, and then stay in the loop. I'm glad Bush is doing so. The outcome will show whether he has done it well.

    [ Parent ]

    limitations? (3.00 / 2) (#58)
    by JonesBoy on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 10:03:03 AM EST

    >Bush may know his own limitations, but the American people shouldn't have to guess at them. If Bush respects the chain of command, he is in charge.

    Sure Bush knows his limitations. For instance, Congress is supposed to be the one who declares war. But that didn't stop him. He has the media by his side. And the whole judicial branch, constructed to enforce laws, removed by one executive order from a rather broad definition of guilty-by-suspicion crimes. How many ammendments have been trampled by the PATRIOT act? Better not speak out about that, or you will be against america, which is for terrorism.

    Grrrrrr.... Better send bigger checks to ACLU, EFF, et al.


    Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
    [ Parent ]
    Let's Fix Bush's Words Ourselves! (2.28 / 7) (#20)
    by Inden on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 01:05:15 PM EST

    Here we are collectively arranging what Bush would have said if he knew how to speak properly.

    AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
    ----------
    Libertarianism is Anarchism for the Rich
    Sweeping clean (4.33 / 6) (#21)
    by mami on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 01:27:28 PM EST

    Localroger had a story "Bin Laden: I did it", in which a link was given to an article from a British newspaper (Telegraph or Guardian ?), that they had a transcript of a tape, which could prove the Osama bin Ladens direct involvement to the WTC. Unfortunately I haven't saved the link and the story is gone.

    Blair made a reference to that tape today. I can't for my life find a transcript of that tape. It was said there was a partial transcript published by the library of the House of Commons, but I can't find it.

    Meanwhile CNN says the FBI has that tape. I am wondering if we ever will see a transcript of this tape.

    With the new executive order, a military court does not need to show this proof of evidence, in case they would catch OBL, I think. There is no appeal to the decision a military court would come up with. The court's judges will be set up by Rumsfeld and the President, I think. As far as I understand the court could be set up also outside of the U.S., but I don't understand the language correctly, I assume.

    I can't find any explanation in layman's English what the executive order really means. The way I understand the comment from Kossack on CNN it basically wiped out any outside control of the judicial process. Seems to me everything is just dependent on Bush and Rumsfeld decisions. I don't think that Congress can still have any influence on it. There doesn't seem any check possible anymore. All of it seems to be legal under the U.S. constitution.

    What puzzles me is that AFAIK there was not even a legal declaration of war, or did I misunderstand that. The declaration of national emergency Bush declared, did that have to be approved by Congress ?

    Isn't there a lawyer here, who could comment on this ?









    Tape to be released today? (4.40 / 5) (#27)
    by cyberformer on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 02:29:25 PM EST

    The full story is here. Blair and Bush are supposedly saving the tape to release as part of a new dossier of evidence. It says that al-Jazzera doesn't even have a copy (else they would have broadcast it), which sounds a bit suspicious.

    [ Parent ]
    Secret evidence is trouble. (4.33 / 3) (#45)
    by fenix down on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 10:08:34 PM EST

    Most likely, the hankey-pankey with the tape is because it's evidence in a current investigation, but the shifty appearence is pretty bad on it's own.

    If this tribunal is actualy used, I really do hope they release everything they have. At the very least right after they've finished the hangings. Otherwise they'll end up with another JFK assasination-style circus.

    Once you start concealing evidence, no one's going to believe a word of whatever you come out with, at least not after the euphoria of vengance wears off.

    I can picture the whole thing. Six months after the executions, someone will dig some shredded memo out of some garbage can, piece some bits together and come up with "... abduction ... aliens ... unidentified vehicle ... conspiracy..." and the game's afoot. Sure, it's probably just about some foreigners kidnapping someone in a van without plates and some bin Laden lackey getting charged with conspiracy because of it, but would you believe that explination from a top secret military tribunal formed under questionable legality that went off to the desert for a month to kill a few people who used to work for the CIA?

    Alright, maybe some people will, but secrecy in a BIG DEAL like this will cause more black background websites with Masonic clip-art than you can shake a stick at.

    [ Parent ]

    I think I know of that to which you refer... (4.66 / 3) (#66)
    by SPYvSPY on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 01:30:48 PM EST

    I read Blair's comments yesterday (11_14_01) and was dismayed to learn that bin Laden's confession was something like: "If avenging Muslim deaths is terrorism, then call me a terrorist." Not exactly conclusive or even useful in a trial.
    ------------------------------------------------

    By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
    [ Parent ]

    A simple test (3.00 / 1) (#105)
    by ariux on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 04:35:28 PM EST

    ...of executive intentions.

    If this gets applied to armed enemies captured in a war zone, it's one thing.

    If the executive branch starts trying to raid or supplant the civilian justice system, it's quite another.

    [ Parent ]

    Isn't this the opposite way we should be going (4.12 / 8) (#22)
    by jcolter on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 01:39:50 PM EST

    After WWII the leaders of Germany were tried in open at Nurenberg. Say what you want about the politics of doing such a thing, but the idea they were trying to foward was that of international accountablility.

    That seems to be the same strategy being used now in the case against Milosevic in the Hague. Again setting aside the real politick in his case as well.

    Shouldn't the we be pushing for a more open form of accountability in a court setting. Of course I understand why the United States has its issues with such a body. However, maybe it would be a good idea for other countries to more aggressivly push for a permant war crimes tribunal.

    Isn't this how crimes against humanity should be dealt with?


    Those trials happened after the war was over. (4.00 / 4) (#23)
    by wiredog on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 01:47:36 PM EST

    The "War on Terrorism" won't end with the capture of bin Laden, or other terrorists. The precedent is the trials of German saboteurs who were captured, tried by secret military tribunals, and executed, during the war.

    The Geneva Conventions allow for this sort of thing. Especially for terrorists captured in the US. IIRC, under the Conventions, the Government is allowed to execute them as soon as is convienent, usually by firing squad.

    If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
    [ Parent ]

    I know but. (3.00 / 2) (#38)
    by jcolter on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 06:41:04 PM EST

    I suppose what I was doing was more advcocating a more systematic based approach to justice in the current world.

    The fact the Roosevelt and Lincoln both allowed secret tribunals does not impress me much.

    [ Parent ]
    *Suspected* and *accused* terrorists (4.33 / 3) (#49)
    by ariux on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:12:21 AM EST

    The Geneva Conventions allow for this sort of thing. Especially for terrorists captured in the US.

    Keep in mind that we can be talking about suspected terrorists, like that restaurateur in Indiana or wherever who got pilot's lessons for his birthday, not just guys flushed out of Afghan caves carrying strings of ammunition or caught spreading kerosene in the basement of the White House.

    We're talking about a policy which could get thousands of innocent students, doctors, and small business owners secretly detained and summarily executed, at the whim of who knows who?

    The argument "terrorists are bad, therefore we must indiscriminately kill people who look a bit shifty or who anyone at all decides to accuse" is right up there with "most criminals are men, therefore all men are criminals" for blatant stupidity and viciousness. Justice is so highly formalized because history has proven again and again that it's highly susceptible to abuse. One must have a very, very strong justification, and a very targeted approach, to try to out-argue that lesson.

    [ Parent ]

    Indeed (4.50 / 2) (#80)
    by aphrael on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:43:53 PM EST

    that's the real problem, isn't it? I suspect that very few people would object to the use of military tribunals to try al Qaeda members pulled out of the caves in Afghanistan --- if we even got the chance, and the armies who took the caves didn't just off them in the first place. But a policy which allows that and fails to distinguish that case from random Americans suspected of crimes that have not been proven is disturbing and scary.

    [ Parent ]
    Can't find the executive order in question... (4.00 / 4) (#25)
    by libertine on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 02:00:54 PM EST

    I have been to today's Federal Register, as well as to their online archives, and I can't find this executive order. Could someone clue me in here? I would really like to know the specifics behind this one- what is a suspected terrorist, scope of trial, scope of applicability, etc.

    And, no, I don't have a @#$%@#$# NY Times login. I did see a similar story on Yahoo! News, but it was bereft of facts.




    "Live for lust. Lust for life."

    Federal Register publishing delays. (4.00 / 2) (#75)
    by libertine on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:31:30 PM EST

    It takes the Federal Register several days to process Executive Orders for publication. I just saw the President's orders for November 9th hit the Register for the day of the 15th.


    "Live for lust. Lust for life."
    [ Parent ]
    Link to the Fed Reg and Pres ORDER (3.00 / 1) (#114)
    by libertine on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 09:17:28 PM EST

    Here is the Excutive Order requiring military tribunals.

    Here is the copy of the Federal Register, dated November 16, 2001, that the order was published under.

    Also posting this to my diary, as this thread is old.


    "Live for lust. Lust for life."
    [ Parent ]

    Would you like to be on Osama's jury? (4.27 / 11) (#26)
    by Apuleius on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 02:17:54 PM EST

    Your life would be threatened. You may wind up in the Witness Protection Program. Also your parents' lives. Your siblings' lives. Your children. I hate to say this, but the President is right to be setting up these tribunals. A fair public trial for an al-Qaeda member is impossible.




    There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
    Nevertheless (4.00 / 4) (#28)
    by mami on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 03:04:56 PM EST

    I think there is a hole in the constitutional law and without looking for it on purpose Bush might have found it and used it just a bit too well.

    An what does the statement "a fair public trial for an al-Qaeda member is impossible" really mean, if an unfair military trial for a suspected non al-Qaeda member is easily possible ?

    I am not saying that this will happen, but it is just too easy possible that it could happen. And usually, if you allow something to happen, it will, sooner or later. May be I see ghosts...

    [ Parent ]
    Juries (4.75 / 4) (#33)
    by dachshund on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 05:09:22 PM EST

    Your life would be threatened. You may wind up in the Witness Protection Program. Also your parents' lives. Your siblings' lives. Your children. I hate to say this, but the President is right to be setting up these tribunals.

    To be honest, I think your statement would be more easily applicable to Mafia or gang-member trials. Not only are there more Mafia/gang members in the US, but they have a more established base of operations, the ability to intimidate before carrying out reprisals, and a structural integrity and continuity that OBL's boys just don't have.

    It would be foolish for a foreign terrorist to waste the time, money and exposure necessary to avenge themselves on a jury member. Until they have a broad base of support in this country, they probably realize that terrorists are much better spent on large targets.

    That's not saying that I'd be thrilled to serve of a terrorist's jury... But I would much rather do that than serve on a major mafia don's jury-- if I had to choose.

    I think the major reason for the tribunals is the different standards of evidence, and the ability to keep the public out of the equation.

    [ Parent ]

    Funny thing is, (3.66 / 3) (#35)
    by trhurler on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 05:33:34 PM EST

    Ever since mafia trials became a dime a dozen, even they don't usually go after jury members. If they did, they'd all be in prison by now. The really dangerous people are the drug lords, who do all sorts of nutty things with seemingly no regard for their own futures. I don't understand those people; I understand big profits, but I don't understand insane tactics. I doubt terrorists would go after a jury member, though, because the exposure risk is too high and there's no real terror effect, and also because they don't seem really tied to cause and effect; to them, the world seems to be "us" and "them," where "us" is one big thing to be attacked indiscriminately. When we finally nail the last round, the next crew will blow up something again, if there is a next crew to do so.

    I say "if" because it is not at all clear that these people can operate without their leadership, which we intend to destroy, and their nation-state sponsors, which will probably be considerably less willing to host them after watching us oust a government that did so live on CNN.

    The one big advantage of military tribunals is that it makes executing them possible without 15 years of appeals; as organized criminals have shown for decades, a living boss is still the boss, even behind bars, so the only real way to end their leadership is probably to kill them. You can argue that they might be innocent, but I seriously doubt anyone except nutjobs and death penalty protesters will do so, given that we'll probably roll out enough evidence of their terrorist activities(not just 9/11, but also the Cole, the embassies, the original WTC bombing, and so on,) to convince just about anyone. Remember, these aren't American citizens, so the amount of spying we can legally do on them is really, really amazing.

    The only hitch is that a lot of that evidence is likely to remain classified for about a century, and to end up lost or destroyed long before that time elapses.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    Just cause these guys are guilty... (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by dachshund on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 08:04:11 PM EST

    The one big advantage of military tribunals is that it makes executing them possible without 15 years of appeals; as organized criminals have shown for decades, a living boss is still the boss, even behind bars, so the only real way to end their leadership is probably to kill them. You can argue that they might be innocent, but I seriously doubt anyone except nutjobs and death penalty protesters will do so, given that we'll probably roll out enough evidence of their terrorist activities(not just 9/11, but also the Cole, the embassies, the original WTC bombing, and so on,) to convince just about anyone.

    I agree that if we captured OBL or somebody else who was clearly involved, you'd be right. What I'm concerned about is the precedent-- just because someone's really, obviously guilty in one case isn't call for shortcutting normal criminal safeguards.

    What I'm concerned about is the broadening of the definition of "terrorist" activity, and the increased use of military tribunals to deal with people who we couldn't otherwise execute/convict easily. Before you say that's ridiculous, take a look at the strange and overly-broad ways in which asset-forfeiture laws are being applied.

    [ Parent ]

    Precisely. (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by Robert S Gormley on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 07:10:26 AM EST

    The number of times people have gone off at me for "failing to see he has to be as guilty as hell" - I know that, in all probability, he most likely is. But as soon as we start down a slippery slope of removing freedoms to protect others, we lose sight of what we were fighting for in the first place.

    [ Parent ]
    Yes, but ... (3.00 / 2) (#79)
    by aphrael on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:41:16 PM EST

    I think the major reason for the tribunals is the different standards of evidence, and the ability to keep the public out of the equation.

    I agree. At the same time, though, I am not convinced that it is possible to find and empanel an impartial jury, or have that jury try bin Laden. *Some* mechanism must be found to allow trials to occur for people in situations where finding an impartial jury is impossible or improbable.

    [ Parent ]

    Yuck (3.00 / 1) (#106)
    by dachshund on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 02:02:58 PM EST

    So if you're notorious enough, you're not entitled to a public or jury trial? Or a trial with normal standards of evidence?

    [ Parent ]
    Danger not from the terrorists... (4.00 / 2) (#99)
    by khym on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:28:27 PM EST

    To be honest, I think your statement would be more easily applicable to Mafia or gang-member trials. Not only are there more Mafia/gang members in the US, but they have a more established base of operations, the ability to intimidate before carrying out reprisals, and a structural integrity and continuity that OBL's boys just don't have.
    However, there are enough pro-US fanatics here that if a jury member found whomever innocent, they're lives would be in danger.

    --
    Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
    [ Parent ]
    talkback live (2.50 / 2) (#29)
    by mami on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 03:24:00 PM EST

    is discussing it right now.

    wow... (3.75 / 4) (#30)
    by mami on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 04:07:50 PM EST

    President Bush wanted to bring the terrorists to justice. The way I hear people argueing here, is that the U.S. will bring him to unjustice.

    As if this executive could only be used on Osama himself. It could be used to any suspected terrorist. Then the tribunal has not to prove that the suspected terrorist is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, offers no evidence to the defense, offers no repeal, the verdict has not to be unanimous, and the verdict can be the death penalty, and the tribunal could be set up anywhere in the world.

    I am really amused how any non-citizen all of the sudden has no legal rights as a citizen of the U.S. has. Please note that if the terrorist were to be a citizen, he would not fall under that executive. Imagine you are a legal resident from the Middle East (may be one of the 5000 legal residents, visa holders etc.) the FBI wants to question right now. How about someone just gives some hints that a specific individual has made some comments on the internet, which would qualify him as a suspicious person ? How about someone stealing the identity of that person and posting for him producing fake evidence ?

    -----
    No answer is also an answer. And I can hear the no answer clear and loud.

    [ Parent ]

    I'm amazed and saddened (4.33 / 3) (#50)
    by ariux on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:30:33 AM EST

    ...to see that people even have to defend the possibility of some accused person's innocence. Innocence until proven guilty is the most cherished pillar of our judicial culture. Relinquish it, and you're left with savagery in a fancy hat.

    Some rules permit this, but only in the very heart of a white-knuckled emergency so intense that normal rules break down. To see large numbers of possibly harmless people going about their everyday lives potentially given over to such pre-civilized conduct for the sake of convenience appalls me and fills me with grief and fear - fear matched only by the deep, pervasive unease of seeing some people completely miss the distinction. If our culture is so thinned as to not instill this lesson, what else might it be neglecting?

    [ Parent ]

    The hat is slipping (2.50 / 2) (#74)
    by Phillip Asheo on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 06:48:48 PM EST

    Relinquish it, and you're left with savagery in a fancy hat.

    Not quite. "savegery in a fancy hat" is what we have already. It is just that the hat keeps slipping, and Americans (the less stupid ones) are starting to take notice.


    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long
    [ Parent ]

    This may be a misunderstanding. (4.33 / 3) (#78)
    by aphrael on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:39:10 PM EST

    A military tribunal *does* have to accept evidence from the defense, at least if it's anything similar to either courts-martial or the tribunals used during WWII. The differences are that (a) the rules for what is admissable are looser; (b) conviction is by preponderance of the evidence, not by beyond a reasonable doubt; (c) there is no appeal; (d) and the proceedings may take place in secret.

    It is (d) that is the most threatening, although (c) is also troubling. Because of the secrecy element, there is no way that anyone can verify that the proceedings are in order. I would hope that the procedural rules would allow for record-keeping and later review, but given the President's stance on Presidential papers, i'm not certain that will be the case.

    [ Parent ]

    getting closure (3.80 / 5) (#31)
    by mami on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 04:36:51 PM EST

    If the people of the U.S. think that in order to get closure with Osama, they will get it by bringing him to justice in a court which doesn't adhere to just judicial procedures, they will get anything BUT closure.

    OBL has already started to talk about the "good terror" and the "bad terror". Of course his terror is the good terror and the U.S.'s is the bad terror. Lunacy. Now, to put everything upside down, the U.S. would actually feed his followers with the "bad terror" of secret tribunals that would leave room to doubt about their just procedures. Executing OBL in a secret tribunal would be the most desired wish the U.S. could grant OBL and his followers, IMHO. And it would definitely convince any undecided terrorist to fight even harder against the U.S. At least the tribunal should be open and not secret.

    I don't get the U.S. logic. To fight OBL and the terrorists you would have to humiliate, belittle and ashame them, IMHO. What would be more shameful for a Jihad fighter than not being able to be a brave fighter finding salvation in martyrdom ?

    Well, I am getting carried away. Arghh, it's very disturbing and disappointing. I hope they come up with something more convincing.

    Not after "closure" (3.00 / 2) (#57)
    by wiredog on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 09:50:32 AM EST

    Man, I hate that word, in that context.

    Martyrs all have one thing in common, they're dead. A dead Osama will cause less trouble than a live one. As Christopher Hitchens said in salon:

    But if, as the peaceniks like to moan, more bin Ladens spring up to take his place, I can offer this assurance: Should that be the case, there are many, many more who will also spring up to kill him all over again. And there are more of us and we are both smarter and nicer, as well as surprisingly insistent that our culture demands respect, too.

    I'm using the words of Christopher Hitchens to support the actions of President Bush. Fucking Twilight Zone.

    If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
    [ Parent ]

    a bit besides the point (4.00 / 2) (#68)
    by mami on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:21:15 PM EST

    I didn't say that I want to save OBL's or any terrorist's life. For me it's not a question of being a peacenik, saving lives of terrorists (I have no mercy with people, who consider chemical, biological and nuclear warfare). So, it's not about the death penalty (I am against the death penalty, but not for major war criminals). I just want a real trial, be it in a civil or military court. But the executive order even overwrites the usual judicial procedures according to the U.S. Military Code used in a military court. That's a bit "amazing" to say it mildly.

    Here are some more questions about the executive order:

    1. What happens if, for example, British or German or Italian Armed Forces capture OBL or any other leading figure of al-Qaeda alive. President Bush orders a secret tribunal to be set up in Afghanistan immediately. Do Great Britain, Germany or Italy have to accept the verdict and judicial procedures of such a tribunal, just because we have pledged solidarity under article V ?

    2. When will the executive order end ? The U.S. might bomb as much as they want and never know if they have really killed OBL or not. And it is quite clear that Omar Sharif and other leaders will continue to threaten with terror acts. So, it seems that this executive order will be there for a long time to come, because we won't know, "if we got all the terrorists there are to come" and "the war" will never end.

    Bottom line, if this is a new war, as the President said, then there need to be new war laws, and they need to be written by Congress according to constitutional procedures, IMHO.

    (I think they should K5's editing submission queue and we'll edit the executive order a bit... :-) Right now it gets a 1 rating from me.)





    [ Parent ]
    real smart. (3.80 / 5) (#36)
    by daani on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 06:03:39 PM EST

    See the story that was here the other day, "propaganda wars" or something. In te rms of humanities (and US) greater interests, there is no difference between the Hague locking up OBL and throwing away the key and Bush executing him. He still won't be able to run a terrorist network right?

    All this does is add weight to the "big bully USA" sentiment that already exists around the world. Probably helping OBL to get more recruits and making sure tha t existing Al Quaeda members are convinced of thier righteousness.

    I read in the last sentance of this CNN Story that Bush "refused to even shake the h and" of the Palestinian leader.

    The US thinks it can get rid of terrorism by killing all the terrorists. This wi ll not work until they start considering what caused the terrorists to become te rrorists in the first place. In the long term, they need to stop worrying about blame, and who is right or wrong, and start concentrating on what would actually prevent S11 from happening again.



    Rings alarms (4.50 / 6) (#37)
    by ariux on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 06:21:04 PM EST

    Apparently this has been done before, during the civil war (our national hiatus of principle) and again in WWII (to a handful of accused German saboteurs apparently landed by boat).

    Still, this is the first measure I've seen which gives me real pause. The others were dependent on courts and warrants and generally based on existing powers. A military court, by contrast, is where you go for swift justice and a head.

    I guess I see two different ways this could be used in practice:

    (1) To give a captured Bin Laden and company a brief "trial" in some freezing mountain pass before stringing them up;

    (2) To intensify harassment of our entire population of foreigners, plus any citizen who's thought to have stepped out of line.

    While abstract principles of justice give me some cognitive dissonance in trying to draw a distinction between the two, (1) at least looks more practical then (2) - it would be very brief and small-scale, and could shorten a war and save a lot of blood spilt.

    Otoh, (2)'s potential for abuse, witchhunts, political distortion, profiteering, and other bad stuff is just plain scary. I hope our civil liberties people are watching closely - I certainly will.

    The potential for abuse (3.75 / 4) (#69)
    by MarkCC on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:46:19 PM EST

    You're right on the mark with your fears for your point (2). It scares the crap out of me.

    My wife is not a US citizen; she is currently a permanent resident. If this is allowed to stand, what that means that on the whim of the president, she could be secretly taken off and shot. No evidence would need to be presented. She would have no right to a lawyer, no right to a fair defense.

    What, exactly, is the difference between this, and what Stalin did in Russia?

    [ Parent ]

    Are you insane ? (3.50 / 4) (#73)
    by Phillip Asheo on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 06:45:59 PM EST

    What, exactly, is the difference between this, and what Stalin did in Russia?

    26 million or so corpses ?


    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long
    [ Parent ]

    Exaggeration (2.60 / 5) (#77)
    by aphrael on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:35:47 PM EST

    If this is allowed to stand, what that means that on the whim of the president, she could be secretly taken off and shot. No evidence would need to be presented.

    No, it does not mean that. A military tribunal is still going to allow a trial; there will still be an opportunity to present a defense (although the government may listen to her conversations with her lawyers). Evidence will still be heard and weighed (although the rules of evidentiary admissability will be different from those in civilian courts).

    [ Parent ]

    Do you think this is a good idea (3.00 / 2) (#84)
    by thePositron on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 09:48:34 PM EST

    Aphrael. Do you believe that military tribunals are a good idea as presented by GWB?

    Just wondering where you stand on this.


    [ Parent ]
    I'm not sure. (3.00 / 3) (#86)
    by aphrael on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 10:15:25 PM EST

    And that might lead to some of the confusion you see if you read through my posts. On the one hand, I think there *is* a place for military tribunals --- as I said in one post, people we drag out of caves in Afghanistan are good targets. On the other hand, I think using them *within the borders of the US*, for people we arrest *here*, is dangerous. But I think a lot of the rhetoric I hear is sensationalism; the things that bothers me are the secrecy, because with that, there's no way of knowing whether procedure is followed, and the presumption of guilt, which i think is dangerous. But, as I said, the sensationalist rhetoric bothers me as well.

    [ Parent ]
    My view is that it is disturbing (4.00 / 3) (#88)
    by thePositron on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:02:01 AM EST

    I understand your confusion. I think it comes down to how much one trusts government to not abuse their power. (I have very little trust that they won't. The history of governance and excessive power points to indications that it will be abused even by well meaning people)

    I also think people are upset about the use of military courts because it is a very drastic measure that results in one or 2 individuals having a large amount of power.

    I am quite disturbed myself by it and I see it as a huge power grab By George W. Bush. that brings us one step closer to a dictatorship.

    I believe there are only 2 conditions which warrant the use of military tribunals in the U.S.:
    1) A formal declaration of war by Congress as outlined by the Constitution. This would result in an end of the courts as soon as the conflict ends.
    2) The destruction and or complete inability to use civil courts per the Ex parte Milligan decision in 1866

    Neither of these 2 conditions have been meant therefore I think that GWB is acting very irresponsible by doing this.

    I also feel compelled to mention that even non-citizens are protected by the Constitution and the bill of rights unless otherwise noted by the Constitution.



    [ Parent ]
    This is OK under GCRW (4.66 / 6) (#39)
    by SnowBlind on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 07:45:03 PM EST

    All this seems to warrent no concern as the current situtation is covered by the GCRW and addendems. The Geneva convention (any quote can be found here) gives certian right only to people who clearly identify themselves as combatants. The status of prisoner of War is governed jointly by article 4 of the Third Convention and by articles 43 and 44 of the Protocol. This states in part:

    In particular, this compliance requires combatants to distinguish themselves from civilians, except in particular circumstances (see point c below) by a uniform or other distinctive sign, visible and recognizable at a distance, while they are engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack.

    and, just to be fair:

    In exceptional cases, when required by the nature of the hostilities, a combatant can be released from the obligation to distinguish himself from the civilian population by wearing a uniform or distinctive sign recognizable at a distance during military operations. However, in such situations, these combatants must distinguish themselves by carrying arms openly during the engagement and during such time as they are visible to the adversary while engaged in a military deployment preceding the launching of an attack in which they are to participate. Even failing to comply with the obligation of carrying arms openly can deprive a combatant of his status, but not of the guarantees relating to it, in the case of his being prosecuted for carrying arms illegally either with or without other offences.


    So the next question might be "Is the current conflict governed by these rules?" It does seem to be the case as stated by the GCRW:

    The Conventions and the Protocol are applicable in case of declared war or of any other armed conflict arising between two or more of the Parties to the Conventions and Protocol I from the beginning of such a situation, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them. These agreements also cover armed conflicts in which people are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination.

    While a bit more sophisticaed than bin Ladens actual statements of declaration of war against the US, this does seem to cover it. Quite frankly, I am disappointed we have not actually decalared war, as this seems to be the proper way to do the job.

    Now, I am fully of the opinon that if we capture someone that is bearing arms at the time, or has a recognizable uniform, etc. cannot be tried by this Military Tribunal. Anyone operating as a spy or a sabatour (i.e. the S11 terrorists) in the territories of the US or its Allies is being given fair treatment under the conventions we have agreed to as a nation.
    I doubt that captured Americans, should that happen, will be treated as nicely.

    There is but One Kernel, and root is His Prophet.
    All I want (4.00 / 1) (#46)
    by mami on Wed Nov 14, 2001 at 10:19:55 PM EST

    is a trial, which can be documented, so that my grandchildren can learn from it one day.

    [ Parent ]
    Sorry, but... (4.33 / 3) (#97)
    by DavidTC on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 08:40:54 PM EST

    ...talking about the Geneva convention as applied to legal residents of the United States being 'captured' by the United States government has completely shorted my brain out.

    Governments do not 'capture prisoners' by writing out arrest warrants, and they do not 'capture prisoners' then give them a trial.

    Now, they may get tried under various international courts later, but it's not illegal to simply be a member of the opposiing country's military, under either US or international law.

    If the US is trying them for crimes, they cannot, by defination, be 'soldiers', and the things that govern their trial and punishment is the US constitution, not the Geneva convention.

    -David T. C.
    Yes, my email address is real.
    [ Parent ]

    Wrong. Simply wrong (3.00 / 1) (#108)
    by SnowBlind on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 11:59:26 AM EST

    Just like the Romans, you must be a CITIZEN to get full rights, even if you have a green card a misdemenor can get you deported (we don't do it enough for any one to notice).

    Second, as I pointed out, bin Laden has declared war on us, an that triggers the GCRW as stated in my comment.

    Therefore, they are tried as infiltrating soldiers who are not wearing identifing marks, nor displaying weapons during deployment, so they are treated as SPYS and sabatours and tried by a military court marshal.

    The crime is a military one, sabatoge and spying, therefore tried in millitary courts. QED.
    If you have an actual comment that is not ALREADY refuted by the orginal comment, feel free to post.

    if ($ASS > $BRAIN) {
    exit(-1);
    }



    There is but One Kernel, and root is His Prophet.
    [ Parent ]
    well, not that fast (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by mami on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 02:52:09 PM EST

    If you are a legal alien resident, you have the the same rights a citizen has except the ones, which have been explicitly been denied to you.

    Though it is true that a legal alien can be deported, after he was convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, he has nevertheless the right to a fair trial in which his guilt must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The right to a trial has not been taken away from you just because your are not yet a naturalized citizen. But the right to stay in the U.S. after you have been convicted, can be taken away from you.

    You have not the right to vote or the right to work for the government, but you have all civil rights to the point, where you are not convicted of a crime. After all, we pay taxes, work and even fight in the Armed Forces for the U.S.

    So, I guess, a legal alien resident, who serves in the Armed Forces, has the right to a fair trial in front of the military court (which is open) and if he is civilian, he has the right to a fair trial in front of a civilian court. Especially for legal alien residents, who enlist in the Armend Forces, it is known, that the Armed Forces hesitate to deploy those enlistees overseas in combat, if they have any suspicions they might defect. And that is exactly because they can't bring those in front of a military court, because the country, in which the legal alien resident enlistee defects into is not obliged or can refuse to send the defector back to the U.S.

    And it costs too much money and time for the U.S. Armed Forces to chase defected legal alien residents, who serve. That's the reason, why enlisted resident aliens normally get all the support from the U.S. to become citizens asap. I hope that makes it clear that legal resident aliens have the same rights (and responsibilities).

    Those rights (for an open trial) is exactly what by the presidential executive has now been taken away from legal alien residents. This has now been confirmed by hundreds of lawyers, congressmen and senators and I think there will be hearings about those issues in the Senate not too long from now. That doesn't mean that it was not legal or constitutional for the president to write this order. It's another issue, if it was very wise the way he formulated this order.

    If you follow all reports about how the al-Queda network works, it should be clear that many people, who are involved in activities, which turned out to be partial involvement in a terrorist act, didn't even know what al-Qaeda was and it is possible that many people don't know, that they were engaged with people, who planned a major terrorist act.

    I am convinced that even family members, girlfriends, wives could have unknowingly have helped their boyfriends, husbands, sons etc in performing activities, which later turn out to have been supportive in the planning of a terrorist act.

    It is easily possible that an American woman could be girlfriend of a sleeper terrorist without knowing and help him doing things, she doesn't recognize as being support services for a terrorist's plan. I do believe that might almost have happened in Germany already, though I am not hundred percent sure.

    [ Parent ]

    Thanks for the clairfication. (4.00 / 1) (#111)
    by SnowBlind on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 04:15:35 PM EST

    Thanks, that was pretty accurate, (my first wife was a resident alien, Czech Rep.).
    However, if you can't work for the government, how come you can serve in the armed forces, eh?

    My guess is you are referring to a few special groups such as those from U.S. Territories or other special places such as the Philipenes (Flubbed the spelling on that one!) or Guam. The INS page says you are restricted from SOME federal jobs, but not all (got mail?).

    As far as the girlfriend/relatives of the terrorist, remember that she would be tried under US Citizens rules, and not subject to the special court. Should such a bill come forward I would oppose it. US Citizens should not have their right abrigated.
    Plus, there is a huge difference. If he says "Mail this for me." vrs. "Hide me! The FBI is hot on my trail!". Most likely they would simply trade info and coop for dropping the charges (sucks, but happens all the time).
    br> PS. RA's can't purchaase a firearm in some states as well.


    There is but One Kernel, and root is His Prophet.
    [ Parent ]
    why ? - easy (3.00 / 1) (#113)
    by mami on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 06:57:43 PM EST

    Your question why a legal resident alien can enlist in the Armed Forces, but not work for the government, I can only answer in this way: I guess, because in the Armed Forces you offer to risk your life for Uncle Sam and in the government you don't. :-)

    [ Parent ]
    And that has what to do with what I said? (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by DavidTC on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 05:41:11 PM EST

    Just like the Romans, you must be a CITIZEN to get full rights, even if you have a green card a misdemenor can get you deported (we don't do it enough for any one to notice).

    How does this have anything to with what I said? The government does not capture prisoners of war with arrest warrants, and POWs don't get trials. They just sit in jail until we trade them or the war is over or we want to look good. POWs are not criminals, they're simply captured members of the other side.

    That doesn't have anything to do with what rights non-citizens have, although you're incorrect about that. Even illegal immigrates have civil rights. (Though they obviously are usually just deported.) The government can't force illegal immigrants to testify against themselves, or not have access to a lawyer, etc.

    The fact we can deport illegal aliens without a trial is because they are here illegally, and most of them don't even bother to argue it. It would be pretty stupid to try if you were here illegally, though they technically could go to court and try to disprove it. The reason we can deport legal aliens after a trial is that deportation is a punishment under the law for legal aliens, the same reason we can lock people in prison. It's not due to lack of rights at all, it's simply an additional possible punishment.

    Second, as I pointed out, bin Laden has declared war on us, an that triggers the GCRW as stated in my comment.

    Did you actually read what I said? While the Geneva convention is obviously in force between us and Afghanitstan (assuming they actually signed it), that has nothing at all to do with our behavior towards legal residents of our own country.

    Therefore, they are tried as infiltrating soldiers who are not wearing identifing marks, nor displaying weapons during deployment, so they are treated as SPYS and sabatours and tried by a military court marshal.

    Right, soldiers without military uniforms (ignoring the fact they're tecnically working for bin Laden and not a country, which could make things tricky) is called 'spying'. It's illegal in almsot every country, this one included. It's actually more illegal if you're a citizen, as then it's also treason. But anyone can be tried for spying.

    The crime is a military one, sabatoge and spying, therefore tried in millitary courts. QED.

    Bzzzt, wrong. They is not such thing as a 'military crime', unless you're in the military. (Our military.) Even if you commit crimes while in the military, they mostly are civilian crimes if you're in the US. (Thought there are war crimes, those have nothing to do with being in the military at all, or even anything to do with the military. You can commit war crimes with a civilian police force.) Normal human beings in the US can never be tried in a military court, unless they have at some point joined the military.

    Spying is exactly the same as any other federal crime. It is exactly the same as kidnapping across state lines, and you get a civilian trial for it.

    Or, at least, you did until this order, and now you don't get one unless you're a citizen.

    If you have an actual comment that is not ALREADY refuted by the orginal comment, feel free to post.

    I have to note you didn't even refute half my post, you created a strawman about non-citizens not haivng civil rights, which I didn't say, and which isn't true anyway. If you're going to debate strawmen, you should make good ones.

    -David T. C.
    Yes, my email address is real.
    [ Parent ]

    Spies are not POWs (3.00 / 1) (#121)
    by nichughes on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 07:36:15 AM EST

    How does this have anything to with what I said? The government does not capture prisoners of war with arrest warrants, and POWs don't get trials. They just sit in jail until we trade them or the war is over or we want to look good. POWs are not criminals, they're simply captured members of the other side.
    You seem to have missed the whole point of the distinction between spies and POWs. Naturally you do not capture POWs with arrest warrants because they are openly bearing arms against you, nobody is suggesting that you do so. Spies on the other hand have usually been arrested by normal police methods because they do not bear arms, most nations have then tried those spies in military courts as they are perfectly entitled to do in times of armed conflict. Spies simply do not enjoy the same protections under international laws as those who bear arms openly, foreign nationals seeking to attack the US from within the US whilst pretending to be civilians are pretty clearly spies within the terms of the various treaties.

    POWs may not generally be tried for taking part in the conflict, the obvious exception being those who are accused of committing war crimes or atrocities (e.g. crimes against humanity or genocide). Many of the foreign fighters holed up in Kunduz right now are accused of precisely such crimes.

    --
    Nic

    [ Parent ]

    Get these paragraphs (4.00 / 7) (#55)
    by ariux on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 05:03:45 AM EST

    (A) The term "individual subject to this order" shall mean any individual who is not a United States citizen with respect to whom I determine from time to time in writing that:

    (1) there is reason to believe that such individual, at the relevant times,

    (i) is or was a member of the organization known as al Qaeda;

    (ii) has engaged in, aided or abetted, or conspired to commit, acts of international terrorism, or acts in preparation therefor, that have caused, threaten to cause, or have as their aim to cause, injury to or adverse effects on the United States, its citizens, national security, foreign policy, or economy; or

    (iii) has knowingly harbored one or more individuals described in subparagraphs (i) or (ii) of subsection 2(a)(1) of this order; and

    (2) it is in the interest of the United States that such individual be subject to this order.

    --

    Look at all those "or"s. So anyone Bush personally decides has "had an adverse effect on US foreign policy or economy" (like, potentially, by complaining about it) can be tried and shot by a military court.

    What's worse, the disease or the cure?

    --

    You know who wrote a scathing editorial in the Times condemning this move? William Safire did.

    "All those or's" (3.50 / 2) (#100)
    by khym on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:43:43 PM EST

    (ii) has engaged in, aided or abetted, or conspired to commit, acts of international terrorism, or acts in preparation therefor, that have caused, threaten to cause, or have as their aim to cause, injury to or adverse effects on the United States, its citizens, national security, foreign policy, or economy; or [emphasis added]
    The "that" between the first and second halves of this clause means that at least one of thing of the list in the first half and at least one thing of the list in the second half must both be true. Thus, an action that "had an adverse effect on US foreign policy or economy" would also have to be a terrorist act in some manner. Now, the definition of "terrorist" in the order might include "anyone who doesn't toe the line", but I myself have no idea; could you post the order's definition of "terrorist"?

    --
    Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
    [ Parent ]
    Its absolutely marvelous (2.57 / 7) (#56)
    by mirleid on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 09:05:24 AM EST

    So, let me get this straight: people can be tried in secrecy by a military tribunal if there is evidence that they are or were terrorists, only, nobody can know what that evidence is...

    This by the bunch of fuckwits that brough us that wonder of participative democracy and fair trade: ECHELON.
    This by the bunch of fuckwits that created the Pinochets and Bin Ladens of this world.
    This by the bunch of fuckwits that have an election system where the one with less votes wins.

    Well, what can I say? Big Brother is not watching you. He is laughing his head off at your stupidity!

    American flavored <SARCASM>democracy</SARCASM> at its best!

    Chickens don't give milk
    Keep Score (2.66 / 3) (#93)
    by Lenny on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 06:34:15 PM EST

    In case you're not keeping score: USA has the largest economy, largest military, most freedom, longest running governmental body, and highest level of technology. It is the most powerful nation (in many different ways). The American Democracy that you trash works better than any other system. p.s. Bush has won every recount. Even the ones done by the liberal newspapers. fuckwit
    "Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
    -Me
    [ Parent ]
    Well, maybe fuckwit was out of line... (4.00 / 1) (#107)
    by mirleid on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 06:49:43 AM EST

    ...I should have used 'dimwit'...

    Most of what you are saying is mostly wishfull thinking and generic USAphile crap.

    First, largest economy? Sure...Maybe...well, how the fuck do you measure that? GWP? GDP? Then, maybe. If its the standard of living that counts, then, I dont think so (check this, its on CNN, so its gotta be true).
    Highest level of technology? I dont think so!
    Most freedom? Look again, dimwit. Sure, its ten years old, so you are probably what?, number 20 by now?
    Bush won every recount? Well, *read* my post. I was talking about a system where the one with less votes wins. And if you add the nationwide numbers of votes per candidate, well, bingo, the one with less votes won (I know, Nader got even less...).

    And understand this: I have got nothing at all against the USA. I love the country, been there often. Its just the fact that its packed with self-righteous idiots that think that they shit gold just because they live there that gets me.

    Chickens don't give milk
    [ Parent ]
    USAphile schmile (4.00 / 1) (#119)
    by Lenny on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 01:35:55 AM EST

    where is the largest and fastest internet backbone? what country did the internet originate in? who has the highest GDP? what country has the largest immigration? what about the plane you fly on when you visit the USA? you didnt respond to my comment regarding military or length of government. i saw your links for standard of living and such. if you take all the USAs rankings and average them, we are definitely on top of the world. btw, our electoral college system is in place to keep smaller, less polulated states from being ignored by candidates. if not, the only two states to get any exposure would be california and new york.
    "Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
    -Me
    [ Parent ]
    Here we go... (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by mirleid on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 06:57:41 AM EST

    - I dont know where is the largest and fastest internet backbone, and I am willing to bet that neither do you. The reason for this is simple, and a little search on google will explain why. Just check the Internet Weather Report and CyberGeography.
    - What country did the Internet originate in? Well, depends on who you ask, but, the generally accepted theory is that it originated in the USA efforts to be able to continue to lob nukes at everybody in the event of a nuclear war. So?
    - Who has the highest GDP? Before or after 911?
    - Which plane do I fly? Well, I normally fly Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Denver direct, and thank god they fly Airbus...
    - Military power? Well, I guess its got to be the USA, but I guess that point is a little overtaken by events re: 911, right?
    - Lenght of government? What the hell do you mean by that? Do you mean how long have you existed as a nation? Man, I live in a building that is *older* than the USA. Do you mean existence as a democracy? Well, you did not invent it, I am sorry to say, the greeks did, and anyway, the Brits have been at it for far longer than you have.
    - Average rankings? There you go, off on a tangent trying to sustain the unsustainable. In simpler terms, its called spouting bullshit hoping that nobody notices it.
    - Regarding the election system, well, I could not care less if you have a system and polititians that will drive their election strategies based on a cost/benefit analysis of target market demographics. That just proves my point...
    In simple words: I would choose to live in any of the Scandinavian countries (or Canada, for that matter) over the USA any day of the week. Why? Three words: Standard, of, and living.


    Chickens don't give milk
    [ Parent ]
    Here we go again (3.00 / 1) (#123)
    by Lenny on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 08:59:50 AM EST

    there are more routers located in the united states than in any other country. the internet was started in the USA by the military. it was used to connect radar stations instead of having to send phone calls or telegrams to track airborn objects between stations. GDP will still be intact for calendar year 2001. USA has the longest standing governmental body of developed nations. there are more student visas given out in the USA than in any other country. that means more people want to go to college here. that means we have the best colleges. are there other good colleges out there? of course, but we have more. our standard of living is not the highest in the world, but there are other factors. ask kuwaitis about that. sweden has a higher standard of living. but do you want to pay 60% of your wage in taxes for that? there are more opportunities for success (economic, militaristic, educational, musical, sports) in the USA than in any other country.
    "Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
    -Me
    [ Parent ]
    Will you stop making shit up? (none / 0) (#125)
    by mirleid on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 12:16:40 PM EST

    More routers? WHO CARES!??!!! Your point was that the Internet was invented in America... Well, I am sorry to say that maybe you got a legitimate claim on the IP protocol, but, even the first test runs of that protocol included sites in Europe, and the development was done in partnership with UK Universities. Moreover, the Web (you know, this thing you're using) was invented in Europe, by an European. So was the first web browser.
    I am also very sorry to call your bluff (another one, that is) on the GDP. Check OECD.
    There is assorted other crap in your post, regarding completely unverifiable data, like the most college applications and such stuff. Either you back your allegations up, or they are nothing more than that: allegations.
    Regarding the tax thing, that is exactly what I am talking about: you (as a nation) are not willing to contribute to ensure that *everybody* is taken care of. Yes, I do not care if I have to pay 60% of my wages, just as long as I get something back for it, something that will make sure that I lead a good life, and that I do not have to deal with astronomical crime figures and homeless people everywhere. In your case, when you pay taxes, you are probably contributing to the military buying a few more $100 hammers and a couple of aircraft carriers to go with them. Good on ya...
    So, please do back your statements up with some hard facts. That normally helps with being taken seriously...


    Chickens don't give milk
    [ Parent ]
    More information (4.33 / 3) (#64)
    by spcmanspiff on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 12:35:07 PM EST

    The Washington Post has a pretty good article with Cheney and Ashcroft quoted saying lots of (to me) spine-chilling stuff.

    Favorite quote, right at the lead: "The terrorists who launched the Sept. 11 attacks, and the people who helped them, are war criminals who do not deserve the protections of the U.S. Constitution, Attorney General John D. Ashcroft and Vice President Cheney said yesterday..."

    Other tidbits:

  • No oversight or appeal to civilian courts
  • Punishments as severe as death ... on just a 2/3 vote.
  • Held in partial or complete secrecy

    This administration, and most Americans in general, have been abandoning core principles left and right ever since Sept. 11.

    Due process? Oh, no, that would get in the way of protecting our country from The Evil Ones. Innocent until proven guilty? Refer to the quote above.

    Freedom of the press? Please, CNN & co., keep things quiet, we don't want to make things easy for the Evil Ones to inflict their propoganda on us!

    Privacy? If we have something to hide from our big friendly gubmint then we must be doing something wrong, eh? Maybe ... something Evil, hmmm?

    The only principles that American governing bodies have managed to abide by are greed, power, revenge, and grandstanding.

    It makes me sick.



  • I don't know what to say! (4.40 / 5) (#65)
    by drquick on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 01:29:07 PM EST

    This is really scary. Especially the ease at which this decision was made. Now democracy reminds yet a bit more of dictatorship.

    It's as if no one had an idea of how important a right it is to have public trials. It's true that most societies have a possibility to have closed trials, but at least there is an awareness that a closed trial is not as fair as an open one. All of this is applauded by vindictive media whipping up "patriotism".

    I have an image in my mind: Joseph Göbbels keeping his speech about total war. There is a black and white news documentary where he calls out to the crowd "do you want total war?". The crowd replies "heil" or is it "sieg" (victory). Surely that's not directly related to trials except that, arrests without trial and closed trials are a huge step toward dictature. In fact they are hallmarks of tyranny.

    Can Dubya get away with anything? I saw yesterday a documentary interview of Norman Mailer. We'd need someone like him now.

    I don't find it at all scary. I feel safer. (2.44 / 9) (#72)
    by Phillip Asheo on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 06:41:04 PM EST

    Lets face it, why should non-US citizens expect the same treatment as US citizens ?

    I think a lot of people on this forum would feel a lot better if they faced up to the fact that America is a totalitarian society, and has been one for many years. As a non-American myself, it is faintly amusing to watch you Americans getting your panties in a bunch over losing your 'freedoms' which were never universal in the first place (ask Rodney King, or a Native American).

    What is most interesting about the whole Al Quaida affair, from the perspective of a European, is the way in which America as a state/nation seems to have given up all pretence of being a democracy.

    Its a pity some of you have yet to catch up, and 'get with the program' as it were.

    How many more Europeans need to point out your fundamental contradictions ?

    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long
    [ Parent ]

    Because the word citizen never appears (4.00 / 3) (#76)
    by aphrael on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:32:46 PM EST

    Lets face it, why should non-US citizens expect the same treatment as US citizens ?

    Because the sixth amendment to the constitution doesn't mention the word 'citizen' anywhere? Because it says "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy [list rights]" ---- it does not say "in all criminal citizens, the accused, if a citizen, shall enjoy ...".

    What is most interesting about the whole Al Quaida affair, from the perspective of a European, is the way in which America as a state/nation seems to have given up all pretence of being a democracy.

    How is that, exactly? Since the overwhelming majority of Americans support the war in Afghanistan, and most of the actions taken by the Congress since Sept. 11, for that matter, how is it anti-democratic? Some of it is unconstitutional, and much of it goes against the grain of republican principles, but if the people want it, and the government is just responding to the will of the people, how can you say it isn't democratic?

    [ Parent ]

    bah - don't speak for Europeans, will you (3.50 / 2) (#81)
    by mami on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 09:14:10 PM EST

    I am one and resent your unqualified bashing with the intent for making a lot of unqualified noise. You speak for yourself, and certainly not for any voice aside your own.

    [ Parent ]
    re: I don't find it at all scary. I feel safer. (2.33 / 3) (#82)
    by Vicegrip on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 09:32:45 PM EST

    Don't complain when, the next time you travel abroad, you get thrown in jail without due process because some foreign government thought your being a dumbass was a good enough excuse. Fortunately for idiots, the constitution protects them too.

    [ Parent ]
    non-citizens... (2.50 / 2) (#89)
    by drquick on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:04:19 AM EST

    Lets face it, why should non-US citizens expect the same treatment as US citizens ?
    Then why should Americans be treated as citizens abroad? Say in the muslim world: What if the Saudis assumed Americans to smuggle alcohol into Saudi Arabia and gave fair public trials only to Arabs. Americans arrested without even right to meet their ambassador or phone home? And executed after a closed trial maybe!

    Let's face it! You promote a double standard based on American might. In other words: imperialism.

    [ Parent ]

    Learn to read before posting. (3.00 / 2) (#90)
    by shoden on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 10:52:34 AM EST

    When Phillip said, "Lets face it, why should non-US citizens expect the same treatment as US citizens ? ", he was implying that US citizens are treated worse than non-US citizens.

    If you'd bothered to read the rest of his post, you should have realized that he isn't an American, and that he isn't a fan of the US. Here's a few clues taken from his post:

    • America is a totalitarian society
    • losing your 'freedoms' which were never universal in the first place
    • you have yet to catch up, and 'get with the program'
    • How many more Europeans need to point out your fundamental contradictions ?

    And based on your choice of words, it appears that you're opposed to American imperialism. Chances are you and Phillip probably share many of the same opinions on this subject, but it seams you're either too angry or stupid to realize that.

    [ Parent ]

    read yourself - he doesn't (2.50 / 2) (#91)
    by drquick on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 11:12:00 AM EST

    He does not imply that non-citizens are treated better. As I read it he says that unequal treatment is well in line with the fact USA is a totalitarian society. Thus, he builds on the notion that non-citizens are treated worse.

    Anyhow, what happened to politeness? You must be American.

    [ Parent ]

    Please provide some analysis of your "evidenc (3.66 / 3) (#95)
    by Whyaduck on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 07:27:14 PM EST

    I think a lot of people on this forum would feel a lot better if they faced up to the fact that America is a totalitarian society, and has been one for many years
    So, as evidence you point to the Rodney King verdict? Please elaborate on how this is evidence of the totalitarian nature of American society in, say, Honolulu. Or Boston. Some members of LA's police force acted like savages, the prosecution for the state blew the case (they blew the case as soon as they let it be moved to Simi), but totalitarian? Regarding American Indians, uhh, are you talking about 100 years ago? Because I live in Arizona, and as far as I see, the cavalry is no longer hunting them down...in fact, they even have their own police (who like to give expensive traffic tickets). If you want to drum up images of shame from America's past, you'll find a good number of them. If you want to convince me that American society is totalitarian, you're going to have to start making some real arguments that actually connect ideas with events.


    Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?
    Lydia The Tattooed Lady.
    She has eyes that folks adore so,
    and a torso even more so.

    [ Parent ]
    Quote from George W. Bush (2.50 / 2) (#83)
    by thePositron on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 09:42:33 PM EST

    George W. Bush December 18, 2000 - 12:00 p.m. ET:
    If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.

    I wonder if he meant it?

    Out of Context (none / 0) (#124)
    by Mitheral on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 10:21:52 AM EST

    This quote was taken wildly out of context I encourge everyone to read the full text; however, here is the rest of the paragraph:

    GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I told all four that there were going to be some times where we don't agree with each other. But that's OK. If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.

    [ Parent ]

    Citizens of the United States (2.00 / 2) (#85)
    by badturtle on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 10:08:46 PM EST

    In time of war, there is no reason not to do this to foreigners. Foreigners. I will say it again, <B>FOREIGNERS</b>. US citizens are protected from this by the Constitution. I have not read the text of the Supreme Court decision, but if it is anything like the decision of sucession of states, it needs to be reviewed. Does it apply to citizens of the United States? If so, it is terribly wrong. For a citizen to be tried in this way, he must waive his right to a trial by jury. Even then, it should be reserved for treason trials only because those are war related anyway. Of course, that takes two witnesses to bring prosecution. A citizen of the United States has certain rights. That is the point of citizenship and naturalization. You can't take away those rights without consent from the person whose rights are being taken away, unless you have a conviction on another crime.

    Correction (4.25 / 4) (#96)
    by PhillipW on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 07:52:37 PM EST

    The Constitution says people, not just citizens, are under it's protection. In fact, the word "citizen" is pretty much only used in the Constitution when discussing state->state and state->federal issues. Example, Amendment VI:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


    I used the 4th Amendment, since it is relevant to the situation. Notice how it says "the people." It was not exclusive to citizens.

    -Phil
    [ Parent ]
    We the people of the United States (2.00 / 1) (#115)
    by badturtle on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:26:28 PM EST

    That means Americans and naturalized Americans. Not Irish, Somali, or anything else. They deserve the full protections of the US Constitution when they become citizens. I don't object to them becoming citizens, provided they have been in-country long enough to speak English enough to communicate and can understand our system of government. Once they are naturalized, they then get the full protections of the Constitution. Before then, they do have rights, but most are not guaranteed by the Constitution. It does protect freedom of speech and the press, but it allows for limitations on assembly and provides no protection for petitioning the government for a redress of grievances. Their homes are protected from military occupation. They aren't secure in the right to own a weapon, but I would certainly not try to stop them. This thread has already pretty much covered amendment 4. They are protected by the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th amendments as if they were citizens. "The people" are citizens exclusively. Immigrants must earn the right to be a part of "the people." I encourage them to become citizens, but until they do, they don't deserve the same protections that citizens have.

    [ Parent ]
    No, you're wrong (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by PhillipW on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 12:19:55 AM EST

    "...people of the United States..."

    Read: People residing in the United States. In any case, this line is irrelevant since, at the time of it's writing, no credible government had yet been established. To say that only naturalized citizens are afforded Constitutional rights is downright wrong. First off, the Constitution clearly makes a distinction between people and citizens. Read my previous post and you will see this.

    Second, even non-citizens in this country enjoy all of the priveleges granted by the Constitution, unless said privelege is explicitly given to citizens. Voting is a good example of this, as is running for office. The Constitution uses the word "citizen" for these priveleges, not "people."

    And lastly, it is implied. I do not think that the men who wrote the Constitution intended it to be possible to arrest someone, say my British grandmother who is not a citizen, and have her hands cut off. By your standards, this would be legal, since non-citizens do not enjoy the benefits of the 6th amendment, which is the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. And, since my grandmother, if you were correct, would not be covered by the 8th Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment would be perfectly acceptable and legal.

    You see, it really makes no sense that The Constitution only cover citizens, unless it is explicitly stated that a privelege is citizens only.

    And yes, I am aware that you said they were protected by Amendments 5-8, but that makes no sense. You can not selectively choose which parts of the Constitution apply and when. The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land. No exceptions.

    -Phil
    [ Parent ]
    how quickly we forget (3.75 / 4) (#101)
    by mclaren880 on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 10:41:56 PM EST

    Michael Moore said it best. "If you aren't of Native American descent, or on the Mayflower, SHUT THE FUCK UP! Without immigrants, this country wouldn't be what it is today, so stop treating them differently, you just lucked out that your anscestors immigrated here before they did, do you deserve some kind of respect because of what your ancestors did? Of course not, that's absurd.

    [ Parent ]
    No problem (2.00 / 1) (#116)
    by badturtle on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:35:27 PM EST

    I have no problem with foreigners in the US, as long as they are trying to become citizens. I don't think I should be paying for their educations at state funded schools, only to have them go home and use their new knowledge to declare war on the US. Immigrants are great and necessary, but they must become citizens to share in the freedoms we (theoretically) have. See my reply to PhillipW's "Correction" for a more detailed explanation of how the Constitution protects the rights of citizens more than non-citizens while still offering them some protections. It illustrates an interesting error that anyone can make simply by taking any part of the Constitution out of context.

    [ Parent ]
    I see, It's okay if they're foreigners then (none / 0) (#126)
    by DirtyMonkey on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 12:02:42 PM EST

    It does'nt matter what you do to someone as long as they're a foreigner. Hell, america should round up all the canadians, and put them into deat... err.. HAPPY camps!

    Does it apply to citizens of the United States? If so, it is terribly wrong.

    Again, So what you're saying is, it's okay if we breach the human rights of foreigners, but god forbid that americans might do it against americans, that would be wrong?

    For a citizen to be tried in this way, he must waive his right to a trial by jury.

    Yet again, what you're saying is, it does'nt matter if a non-citizen is tried like that?

    This all sounds to me very much like the excuses given by the administration in germany in the 30s and 40s.



    [ Parent ]
    Executive Orders are NOT law (3.50 / 2) (#92)
    by redelm on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 11:18:17 AM EST

    IANAL. The President, as chief of the administration of government, has to give alot of orders. Everything from: "Get me a BBQ brisket sandwich" and "move the USS Nimitz to the Persian Gulf" all the way to "get your black helicopters and round up the usual suspects". That's part of his job. All federal government employees and military personnel are bound to obey unless the order is clearly illegal.

    Nothing guarantees that these orders are legal. Just because POTUS orders it, does NOT give it the force of law unless Congress has made provision for his orders to have the force of law. They only do so in narrow areas (regulations), and even where they do, it still has to be Constitutional. Many PEOs like this one are likely unconstitutional but they seldom get challenged. When they are, either the govt backs down, or pressure is brought to bear like FDR threating to pack the US Supreme Court in 1936. In theory, the President ought to be charged with Treason if he gives orders that are clearly unconstitutional in front of two or more witnesses. This is unlikely but could happen from a runaway Grand Jury.

    So what happens when the black helicopters haul someone away? Their wife or friends hire a lawyer, and he makes a petition to a Court for a writ of habeas corpus. The Great Writ hasn't been suspended [yet]. The government is then required to produce the person it took and explain how it was in accordance with laws. PEOs might explain why an agent did what he did, but it doesn't make the action lawful. In the seldom seen and otherwise undesirable event that someone at the right place in the US government authority structure has sufficient brains, they will avoid a habeas corpus showdown.

    So what's this PEO really for? Most likely to assuage the objections and consciences of the officers involved in the monkey courts. The monkey courts are there to assuage the jailer's and to make sure that this guy is worth the risk of habeas corpus.

    But this is not for Mr. bin Laden. If he isn't buried alive and is publicly captured, he will have to get a full fair trial. How else to convince anyone he was the badguy? The protests in muslim countries are from those who don't believe Mr bin Laden ordered 9/11. Far fewer people believe that 9/11 was deserved. If we don't convince as many people as possible that Osama did it, then we will just create more terrorists than we execute. A losing stretegy.

    But revenge always is, and I fear that's where we are. I don't think the bulk of the US population would have been satisfied if Mr bin Laden and his lieutenants walked into the US Consulate at Peshwar on 9/12, surrendered and confessed to 9/11. Trying and executing them wouldn't be enough for most folks. So Bush drops bombs and people applaud, nevermind the future repercussions.



    a REAL legal solution to the bin Laden problem (3.00 / 1) (#117)
    by badturtle on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:49:32 PM EST

    It may not be illegal to attack a country without declaration of war (still looking into that), but this seems like a perfect situation for Letters of Marque. If this war is illegal, and I think it may be, the only legal way to procede is to enact a system for obtaining letters of Marque. In this way, there would be private citizens of the US or other countries paid and supplied by the US and private organizations, going into the war zone and fighting without US military involvement. It seems to me that the only way it is legal to fight a war is to have congress declare war. Article I Section 8 of the US Constitution reads, "The Congress shall have Power ... to declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures of Land and Water..." In no place does it give the President the power to start a war. He can only execute one that is declared by congress. That is why he is the "Executive." In cases where there is no recognized country to declare war against, like the Barbary Wars, Letters of Marque must be issued because congress cannot declare war and the president cannot execute one. Because of this, the War Powers Act is unconstitutional and should either be repealed or challenged.

    [ Parent ]
    Slippery slope? Edge of the precipice (4.33 / 3) (#103)
    by ariux on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 04:07:16 PM EST

    It's been a few days since the policy was announced, and my sense of alarm has only continued to grow.

    The previous measures (say, in the PATRIOT act) worked to streamline and slightly reshape the existing system, preserving intact its carefully redundant, substantially transparent design.

    By contrast, this one is a step towards dismantling the institutions of freedom in this country. I fear the tragedy that may result.

    It's particularly relevant to note that, while a normal war has a defined beginning, a limited length, and eventually a clear end, this one might last for the forseeable future - which makes it more necessary that any measures we take be things we're comfortable living with in the long run.

    I have deep, deep misgivings about the way things are pointing in Washington. I hope our representatives and advocates have the vision and sense of responsibility to understand the fire that's now being played with, and to act swiftly to protect the safeguards of our free society.

    I'm increasingly sure what we're discussing is a calculated move with many goals, and if unchecked it bodes ill for our future.

    Letters of Marque & Reprisal ? Maybe! (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by redelm on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 08:23:25 AM EST

    A very interesting legal point. For all the President's talk of war, AFAIK Congress has not declared war. Nor is there some Treaty like NATO or SEATO to authorized war. If Congress doesn't want to declare war upon the Taliban and al-Qaida, then Letters of Marque & Reprisal used for privateers would be the legal way to go.

    But it could be argued that Mr bin Laden has declared war upon the US repeatedly in the past via the fatwas and calls for jihad. The US presumably doesn't want to recognize these because it would make the attack upon the USS Cole very legitimate, and possibly [horrors] 9/11.

    Claiming that only organized states can declare war is one thing the US cannot logically do. [Not that that ever stopped anyone]. The revered US Constitution states that all powers come from the people and are ceded to the state. binLaden/alQaida/Taliban clearly are people, so they have those powers even if they aren't part of a state we recognize.



    Military Trials for Terrorists | 126 comments (116 topical, 10 editorial, 1 hidden)
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