June 29, 2006

Defenders of Oppressors

Via U.S. Newswire:

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today following the United States Supreme Court decision that trying Guantanamo detainees before military commissions violates U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions:

"Today's Supreme Court decision reaffirms the American ideal that all are entitled to the basic guarantees of our justice system. This is a triumph for the rule of law.

"The rights of due process are among our most cherished liberties, and today's decision is a rebuke of the Bush Administration's detainee policies and a reminder of our responsibility to protect both the American people and our Constitutional rights. We cannot allow the values on which our country was founded to become a casualty in the war on terrorism."

Translates PunditGuy (via Hot Air):

'If you plan terrorist attacks against America, if you kill Americans in a successful terrorist attack, if you kill our troops in Iraq or on any battlefield, we, the Democratic Party, will defend your right to be defended.'

If terrorists maim and murder innocents by the thousands, anywhere on earth, the Democratic Party will rush to defend their rights under American law.


White flag. Yellow back. Brown pants. Your Democratic Party.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 29, 2006 03:15 PM | TrackBack

CY, your comments tonight are a stretch and a little over the top...anyone, no matter what the crime, is entitled to a fair and may I say speedy trial. In addition, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. I don't see how any true American disputes these very basic and what I consider "conservative American" standards. As I have said before, the double standards have no boundaries with the Bush Administration. Not saying we have our greatest humanitarians down in Guatanomo Bay, but you cannot detain somebody with no charges, and hold them for years at a time with no trial! This is OK with the right wingers? Yes, it seems like we should let things slide, cut a corner here, and do this and that to "gett'r done" in a time of war, a voluntary war I might add. But, what happens when an unfavorable leader or party (in your case, the dems), takes office and decides to continue these substandard methods when it doesn't suit your cause anymore? There is a line, and our wise forefathers drew it long ago. I think it is people who agree with me who are the "true" your fellow man, spend wisely, follow the constitution even when it is not "convenient". Character under fire is defined by following standards when they are not always easy to swallow (i.e. giving Osama Bin Laden a trial. that is if we ever catch him). It is what separates us from them. I think "cowboy cool" is going out of style. We will see in November.

Posted by: Johnny at June 29, 2006 06:38 PM

Corn fed. Inbred. Brain dead. Your Republican party.

Posted by: Lint at June 29, 2006 06:44 PM

”…anyone, no matter what the crime, is entitled to a fair and may I say speedy trial.”

When a crime – as in breaking our laws – is concerned, you’re correct. However, under the GC we are entitled to detain captured enemy combatants as POWs for the duration of hostilities. There is no requirement to try them under a military tribunal or certainly no requirement to try them under our civil laws. If you advocate such absurdity, would you also prescribe our soldiers Miranda-izing them as well? Shall we be required to gather physical evident on the battlefield in order to substantiate and indictment? Shall we also convene a grand jury to deliver an indictment? The answer is, “No!” because our civil laws do not apply to war and warfare.

”In addition, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Does that mean that enemy combatants captured on the battlefield would be eligible to post bail? Wow, you give the term “bleeding heart liberal” a whole new meaning. Fortunately, what you advocate is not part of the SCOTUS ruling. However, I’d love to see you on the front lines advocating the requirement to Miranda-ize captured terrorists. Lots of luck!

Posted by: Old Soldier at June 29, 2006 08:07 PM

Soldier - Nice perversion there. Ignore the facts and create hyperbole out there. This guy Hamdan was Osama's driver, not the 20th hijacker or some mastermind strategist. He HAS been accused of a crime "conspiring against U.S. citizens" from 96-01. He IS on trial. The SCOTUS ruling says that he has civil liberties afforded to him by the constitution. The kangeroo court the President tried to set up would have in effect made a mockery of the entire judicial system. Secret evidence the defendent isn't allowed to see, witnesses the defense can't cross-examine, etc.

I think the SCOTUS did the right thing and is in effect doing what the framers intended. History has shown us what happens when the US govt acts from emotion and tries to "safeguard" us from some foreign "menace" by restricting civil liberties (The McCarthy hearings or Japanese internment camps for examples). Its the SCOTUS's responsibility (per Stephen's own words) "in both peace and war, to preserve the constitutional safeguards of civil liberty". I think that SCOTUS took a step back and viewed this from a point of presedent. The US can't simply point to an individual's group affiliation and say that our current legal standards for humane treatment of individuals don't apply. Take Al-Queda out of the equation. What if President declared that Doctors without Borders was a terrorist group. Could he arrest US citizens and citizens from other countries (France, Germany, etc) and say their group affiliation means we can ignore GC and "humanely" torture them and hold them indefinitely? The answer you hear back is, "Well, if they are blowing up babies, sure!" But the key word is IF and that can't be determined without a fair trial. No, Al-queda did not sign the GC and neither did DWB but every individual within both organizations are citizens of some country, most of which probably did sign the GC (not sure about who's on the list).

To your point, soldiers shouldn't be merandizing anyone on the battlefield, but the executive branch of the govt is also not judge, jury and executioner.

The ironic thing is that Sadam Hussein is on trial for the same thing right now the Bush wants to do (waiting for the love on that). A group of people tried to asassinate Sadam and he ran a bunch of people that he thought (based on intel to be sure or maybe they just drove one of the guys around who did try to asissinate him, who knows)through a "legal" court and had them convicted and then executed (At Sadam's trial, one of the co-defendants is the trial judge who's defense is he was only following the rule of law). He's getting a better trial over in Iraq, from the country who's citizens he "allegedly" slaughtered and is now struggling to put a democracy in place, then we, the leaders of democracy in the free world are providing those that "conspired" against us. Sad.

Posted by: matt a at June 30, 2006 06:52 AM

Lint? As in navel lint. Johnny, it's people like you that endangers our way of life. Those detainees are POW's not pickpockets or people who drive off without paying for their gasoline. They were caught in the act of trying to kill our soldiers on a battlefield. Whether you agree or not, U.S. Law does not apply to them. Those people down there would kill you me and everyone in this country if they could. GET IT!!! When are we as a nation going to see the insanity of trying to apply our law's to people who could care less about it? So we can feel good about ourselves, that we tried to show the world what our country is all about. Thats a crock, there are more people trying to immigrate to this country than any other country in the world. It's obvious they know that we have a better way of life and more freedoms than anywhere else. Johnny we don't live in a nirvana world. so, you need to grow up. The ones that have been released some of them were caught or killed on the battlefield again. Not all rightwingers as you like to refer to us are redneck getrdone types. Most are people who worked for our education are self starters and can appreciate the value of hardwork, not sit on our butts and whine because the world isn't fair. Oh BTW we need to give UBL a dirt nap not a trial.

Posted by: Faithful Patriot at June 30, 2006 06:53 AM

Johnny, "cowboy cool" is the only thing keeping our butts from being blown up. The jihadist IS the weapon; they will kill and maim with whatever they can get their hands on, and have proved it more times than I can count. If you think treating them with due process will make them kind and considerate global citizens, you are sadly mistaken.You tell them to "Give Peace a Chance"!

Posted by: Tom TB at June 30, 2006 07:16 AM

"The SCOTUS ruling says that he has civil liberties afforded to him by the constitution."

Now who is making things up? SCOTUS merely said get it right on who commissions the tribunal that tries these terrorists. SCOTUS did not say terrorists have civil liberties under our constitution, because our constitution does not apply to these people. If that were the case, the President would be fully justified in adopting the stance of a former president; you've made your ruling, now try to enforce it.

Matt your are an absolute idiot if you believe these people wouldn't behead you in a New York Minute given the opportunity. And you want to give them access to our civil court system? Grow up; this is a real war we are engaged in. They deserve a day before a military tribunal and absolutely nothing more. They are not citizens - they do not have our rights.

Posted by: Old Soldier at June 30, 2006 08:42 AM

FP - We apply our nation's law to others because we are a civilized nation and are the recognized leader of the civilized world. Without law to govern our actions, we are no better than the terrorist who's objective is to destroy our way of life. We lead by example. If we can't treat those captured humanely and civilly, then the terrorist has proved that our ideals and way of life are a fraud. More concretely, why should anyone respect an American's rights if there is no guarantee that we will respect their citizens' rights?

Posted by: matt a at June 30, 2006 08:46 AM

OS - Thanks for demonstrating the terrorist's point by showing how to have a civilized debate. I would suspect that any declared enemy of the US would try to kill me if given the opportunity. Been around since the inception of the US, doesn't mean we need to lower ourselves to their level.

I did summarize what I thought the SCOTUS did based on what Justice Stephens wrote in his brief which I read. If the constitution didn't apply to them, the SCOTUS would have never made a ruling as their responsibility is interpreting laws based on the constitution. Since they did, its pretty obvious they feel the constitution does apply to them. My interpretation. Not that its legally binding, just my interpretation.

If the President wants to abdicate his responsibility to enforce the laws (or ignore them by declaring signing statements), then he shouldn't have ran for office. He didn't seem to have a problem with SCOTUS when they made up law to get him into office.

Posted by: matt a at June 30, 2006 09:21 AM

Matt, you almost made a point. The problem is that SCOTUS DID make a ruling when they had no grounds to.

Terrorists don't fall under our Constitution because they arent U.S. Citizens. (Before you go there, our homegrown ones DO go through our legal process)

Geneva convention states clearly for those that signed the Convention (Article 1).

But lets say for the sake of argument (that you like to do) we let that pass.

They aren't uniformed, Most aren't from the 'Occupied' country, there are no diplomatic ties because, well, they're terrorists and aren't recognized as a government, you get the idea.

Lets pretend they pass all that, now go to article 5 (Geneva convention) if they committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.

Military tribuanl is competent, has been for years.

So tell me Matt, exactly where in the Geneva Conventions do terrorists fall under? I can't find it and just read it.

Posted by: Retired Navy at June 30, 2006 10:56 AM

Oh absolutely right CY. I mean, Al Q can murder thousands on 9/11... and if necessary thousands more, all so the little terrorist darlings, who aren't citizens; who are not soldiers of any army, or any legitimate government -- can have their "civil rights."

Posted by: El Jefe Maximo at June 30, 2006 01:27 PM

Navy - In your readings, where and when does it say that the President is allowed to ignore the Constitution? I don't remember seeing that.

I can see 2 arguments that need to be made:

1. Where does it say that the Constitution only applies to US Citizens? Foreign nationals have the same rights as Americans here if they are arrested here. They pay taxes. They contribute to SS (even though they can't collect it). They can own property, marry, work a job, etc. They can even serve in the millitary. If they get arrested, they are araigned, grand jury can indite, trials can convict. Every illegal immigrant caught here gets his/her opportunity in court to prove he/she should be here. They aren't yanked half way around the world and held indefinitely or convicted without a fair trial. I don't remember a police officer asking if the crook he caught is American before reading his rights to him.

2. Until the constitution is amended, SCOTUS did what it was supposed to do which is rule on the merits of a case in front of it. Its called checks and balances. The President overstepped his constitutional authority by assuming he could ignore treaties and the rule of law during "war" time. A legal case was made to decide it. Its not the first time this has happened (war time presidents deciding to ignore the law. Lincoln tried to set aside Habeus Corpus and was rebuffed eventually) and each time, SCOTUS has brought the president back from the brink of becoming an emperor rather than the President.

He wants tribunals, the Congress must authorize it. Its the way the govt is supposed to work.

Posted by: matt a at June 30, 2006 01:43 PM

matt a,

The ruling basically states that we cannot hold tribunals for these POWs. It also throws it right back into Congress's lap to create a new law on how they will handle terrorist POWs. I have heard that a quick poll of Congress shows that the majority supports new legislation. I suspect you will lose on that too.

There is another, maybe more serious problem though. The original DTA 2005 said that no court had the right to hear habeus petitions from any Gitmo prisoner. Congress, under equal and separate powers, has the right to do that. They did. The SCOTUS apparently overstepped their bounds that were limited by Congress. Now let's hear your argument about that as compared with the President's NSA TSP policy. Can't have it both ways pal.

Posted by: Specter at June 30, 2006 10:18 PM


How can you stretch the U.S. Constitution to other countries????

The foreign workers over here are guarenteed some protections under the Constitution and U.S. laws, not in other countries.

The 'Treaty' the President was following was the Geneva convention. It's been pointed out time and again to you how it is for Uniformed militants.

If you made an argument that the 'Detainees' (terrorists) should be put on trial in the countries that they were captured in, I would whole heartedly agree with you.

Other countries are not afforded U.S. Constitution Protections.

Posted by: Retired Navy at July 3, 2006 05:18 AM