3 On A Noose At Gitmo

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Two Saudis and a Yemeni commit suicide by hanging in Guantanamo Bay:

The military did not name the prisoners and released few details about the men, but said at least two were believed to have been members of international terrorist organizations and the third part of a Taliban uprising.

All three had been on prior hunger strikes and all had been force-fed.

"These are men who had gone on a hunger strike together. The methods of hanging themselves were similar," said Navy Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander at Guantanamo. "I believe this was a coordinated attempt."

More:

"This was clearly a planned event, not a spontaneous event," said Rear Adm. Harry Harris, commander of Joint Task Force-Guantanamo.

He added that there is a "mythical belief" that the Guantanamo detention center would be shut down if three detainees die.

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  1. Allow me to give the typical reponse from the NRO/LGF/Free Republic trolls who are sure to descend upon H&R to vent their jingoistic spleens… ahem…:

    “Good! I says we give them thar filthy moose-lims a rope and let them hang themselves… REMEMBER 9-11! WHITE POWER… errr, I mean U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!”

  2. Maybe they needed hanging, maybe not. But we’ll never know, will we. Bush continues to hold people at Gitmo (and at how many unknown locations?) without bringing any charges, without allowing any defense to allegations, and without even any timeframe for how long he will continue. Charge ’em, sentence ’em, or find a way to free them.

  3. In protest of thier suicides and the ideology they mean to defend by killing themselves I plan on not killing myself and to keep on living a free and happy life.

    That is to say that thier suicides are not a cover up by the US government or they are just some poor bastards who go captured by acident…in which case I go with warren’s sentimate with a slight addition.

    Cocksucker, son of a bitch

  4. Maybe they were tired of waiting for their virgins 🙂

  5. In a situation where it looked like I’d be spending the rest of my miserable life rotting in a detention barracks with no hope of release or escape, I’d probably off myself too.

  6. two were believed to have been members of international terrorist organizations

    You know, if we had some sort of process to verify that allegation then we could actually spare the guys the trouble of suicide and impose the death penalty. Once the allegation was verified beyond a reasonable doubt, of course.

    Then they could be killed by upstanding government employees, rather than dying by their own filthy terrorist hands!

    I really wish I could sleep.

  7. Well let me do some pre-empting of my own.

    It’s all Bush’s fault
    All the detainees were innocent, not members of the unstoppable insurgency.
    I’m going to write a song in protest.
    And then I am going to go on a hunger strike until I get hungry again.

  8. kwais-

    I’ve heard that some of them, after being released, resumed fighting against the US. I also understand that mixed in with them are some guys who pissed off the local warlord and found themselves handed over in exchange for a bounty. If these are the results that we get when the executive branch operates without supervision then maybe the executive branch needs some oversight. In a situation like this, errors in either direction are unacceptable.

    I don’t know about you, but I find that I do better work when I have to stop now and then to explain why I’m doing what I’m doing, justify the resources that I’m using, and defend the decisions that I’ve made. It forces me to think more clearly and be more careful. If the people who send prisoners to Gitmo had to justify their actions before an independent tribunal, they might make better decisions. We might lock up fewer innocent guys who ticked off the local warlord, and release fewer guys who will go on to fight against the US.

  9. Dr T,
    I was just reading the thread below about detainees and such.

    It is a tough question. I don’t think that the same rules apply to people caught in combat zones (Iraq Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan and Syria maybe), to people caught in elsewhere.

    I do agree that the captors should have to justify what they do. How that goes about is hard to say. For the people that get caught on the battlefield, it is up to the commander really. He is responsible for what happens. If he hands off the prisoner to one of the secret prisons, because the prisoner is somebody strategic, then the guys the commander hands the prisoner off to may re-evaluate the prisoner. I mean, they will anyways, because the whole reason he got handed off was for intel reasons.

    The guys are not going to get a lawyer, they are not going to get to cross examine any evidence against them. A good thing for a commander to do would be to assign them an advocate.

    But in the end the commander has to make the decision.

  10. Who will first rush to market miniature souvenir Club Gitmo nooses, exploiting the huge unsympathy demographic?

  11. Allow me to add the money quote from the RADM –

    “They have no regard for human life,” he said. “Neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation but an act of asymmetric warfare against us.”

    I’m not really sure how to respond to that…

  12. Maybe they needed hanging, maybe not. But we’ll never know, will we.

    Interesting shift to third person.

  13. kwais-

    I realize that on a battlefield there is no way to do everything that would be done in a domestic incident. Nonetheless, at some point a detainee should have an opportunity to challenge his detention. I see two reasons for this, despite the challenges:

    1) This war is different from wars of the past. There is no real metric for when it will end. That creates huge hazards, since there’s no real way to know when a mistake will be rectified. And whereas traditional POWs from conventional armies at least have some procedures and guarantees, in this conflict we’re hearing that ther’es this whole new category of guys who are protected by neither treaties nor the Constitution. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if we knew that every detainee was in fact a very evil guy. But…

    2) We already know that significant numbers of innocents have gone to Gitmo and various other facilities where they have no rights. Some Afghan warlords have been labeling people who piss them off as terrorists and handing them over to the US for bounties. Khaled El-Masri has a name similar to somebody on a list and was actually caught in a Western country, not on a battlefield. And so forth.

    So, basically, significant mistakes are being made, and the people caught up in these mistakes result in people being put into categories that afford few or no opportunities to fix mistakes. That’s unacceptable.

    And the systems in place aren’t working very well. Some of the guys released from Gitmo resumed fighting the US. On the other side of the coin, some of the legitimately innocent people who are finally released could have been released much sooner if there had been any sort of decent procedure in place, or any standard higher than “Well, the local warlord said he’s bad, and if you can’t trust an opium trafficker whom can you trust?”

    So far, the legal gray areas are being handled in a piss poor manner. We need independent oversight to correct mistakes.

  14. kwais is basically right. We have long recognized a difference between combatants caught on the battlefield and jewel thieves.

    thoreau,

    1) This war is different from wars of the past.

    Why do people buy into this line of arguiment?

    There is no real metric for when it will end.

    That’s true of most wars. Take for example the American Civil War; nearly everyone (except Sherman* and a few others) predicted that it would be a short war won by a decisive knock-out blow. Instead, it was a much longer war which took some time to sort out how to win. The idea that past wars were easy to figure out from the standpoint of the end of hostilities is simply a myth, and a myth exploited by the Bush administration I might add.

    *At one point Sherman was relieved of duty because his prediction of a long, drawn-out bloody contest was considered lunacy.

  15. you realize that the administration defines “battlefield” as synonymous “earth” for war on terror purposes, no? Guys there were captured from a jail in Bosnia, a Taliban prison (not kidding on that one), in Zambia, in Gambia…most were caught in Pakistan, and Afghanistan but not by US troops; rather, by Pakistan’s security forces and Northern Alliance folks. We took their word for it about where they were captured.

    Also on the battlefield, we know from the Padilla case: airports in Chicago and prisons in New York.

    So I would be careful about invoking the fact of “battlefield capture” to justify anything.

  16. Even for those of you who insist there should be a difference between our treatment of ordinary criminals and “fighters caught on the battlefield,” would you also consider the possibility that there should be a difference in the way we treat “fighters caught on the battlefield” and “guys whom the local warlords turned in for a cash bounty?”

  17. Also, as to the comments above:

    when we say “we don’t know the war will end” we don’t just mean “we can’t predict the armistice date”. We mean: “there is no event that will happen that will let us know the war has ended, and the administration has repeatedly said it may not end in our lifetimes.”

  18. Jennifer,

    The idea that POWs deserve some sort of trial instead of mere detention, which is what you imply by comparing POWS to criminals, is just bizarre.

    Katherine,

    We took their word for it about where they were captured.

    That’s a fairly typical situation in warfare when dealing with proxy, “native,” etc. military forces.

  19. Katherine,

    …”there is no event that will happen that will let us know the war has ended, and the administration has repeatedly said it may not end in our lifetimes.”

    That’s a fairly typical situation when it comes to warfare. Historically it was quite often the case that it was only after the war ended that such an event was recognized. There is really nothing unique about the War on Terrorism when it comes to end point problems.

  20. I insist there is and should be a difference between people caught on the battlefield and people caught in a Chicago airport.

    As far as whether some of the people caught on the battle field are going to get the shaft. Well yes, some of them may indeed be turned in by rival tribes, and some of them might be caught by us and indeed be innocent.

    What are you going to do? You do your best to try to make the innocents not suffer. We let a dude go a week ago, we were pretty sure was a bad guy but not sure enough. I don’t think that bringing a new York lawyer into will really help the situation any. Thats just my take.

  21. I insist there is and should be a difference between people caught on the battlefield and people caught in a Chicago airport.

    Okay, Kwais, but what about guys caught on the battlefield versus guys the local warlords turned in for a cash bounty? A lot of the Gitmo guys fall into the latter category.

  22. What are you going to do? You do your best to try to make the innocents not suffer.

    You don’t think that being locked in a prison thousands of miles from home with no contact with your family and no end date in sight isn’t suffering enough?

  23. “Historically it was quite often the case that it was only after the war ended that such an event was recognized.”

    Except for all the wars ended by armistice, peace treaty or capitulation, that is – which is to say, just about every war involving a major power in the last several centuries.

  24. We let a dude go a week ago, we were pretty sure was a bad guy but not sure enough. I don’t think that bringing a new York lawyer into will really help the situation any. Thats just my take.

    kwais, I know that in the midst of a battle situation you have to do what you have to do, and unfortunate mistakes may be made. I accept that as a sad reality of life.

    The thing is, once you are off the battlefield, once you have some guys locked up in a situation where you aren’t in any immediate danger from them, then somebody has to make a decision. That somebody should be an independent authority, somebody who is there to examine questions and render verdicts.

    It’s one thing to capture prisoners on a battlefield without a warrant. That happens. But once they’re captured, they shouldn’t just be tossed in a black hole for all of eternity. This isn’t the sort of fight where you have guys who can be clearly identified as soldiers of a foreign government and kept in custody until that government surrenders. This is a situation where the bad guys aren’t always easy to spot, and where they are acting in a lawless manner rather than following the orders of a state.

    So we need a process that can:

    1) Figure out whether a person is who the government claims he is.
    2) Figure out what to do with people who acted in a lawless manner.

    Courts do both of those things. And if a court is able to verify that the person is indeed a murderer as the government claims, then I have no problem keeping him locked up for the rest of his life. What I have a problem with is keeping people in a lawless black hole for all of time. Especially since the government is claiming that the battlefield is everywhere, and not offering any picture for what victory will look like.

    And that last point, which katherine also made, is worth noting. It’s not unusual to be unsure of when or how a war will end. But at least you know what the end will look like: The leaders of the other side will either surrender, die, or be taken prisoner. Their forces will stop fighting and lay down arms. A capitol city will either be occupied by us or at least controlled by a guy who’s willing negotiate with us.

    Can anybody tell me what it will look like when the war on terror is over?

  25. Okay, Kwais, but what about guys caught on the battlefield versus guys the local warlords turned in for a cash bounty? A lot of the Gitmo guys fall into the latter category.”

    Yeah there is a lot of that. And there is a lot of really bad guys claiming that. The commander on the ground just has to do his best to figure out which is which. Not an easy task.

  26. BTW, if we were at war with a state, I wouldn’t insist on a full trial in front of a judge for every enemy soldier in custody. If we were at war with a state, we would at least know how to identify the end of the war.

    We’re in a war with no identifiable endpoint, so it’s harder to argue that detentions without trial are just temporary. Hasn’t Egypt (a dictatorship receiving cash from the US) been in an official state of emergency for several decades now?

    Since there’s no way to tell when we can end the detentions, we need a process to handle these guys. It’s as simple as that. Otherwise it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to slide toward a situation like Egypt’s.

  27. peachy,

    Except for all the wars ended by armistice, peace treaty or capitulation, that is – which is to say, just about every war involving a major power in the last several centuries.

    Not true.

    How did the Franco-Prussian war end? Months after an official armistice.

    Did WWI end by armistice or treaty? No. It ended before that with the collapse of support at home by the German people.

    When did the American Revolutionary War end? With the victory at Yorktown. If a treaty or armistice was the real endpoint, why was a treaty not in effect until two years after the Franco-American force defeated that of the British in 1781?

    When a war starts and when it ends is a far, far more nuanced and fluid a thing than most people are willing to accept.

    I think that is rather unfortunate that peoples’ template for what a war looks like is WWII.

  28. thoreau,

    If we were at war with a state, we would at least know how to identify the end of the war.

    That may or may not be the case.

    But at least you know what the end will look like: The leaders of the other side will either surrender, die, or be taken prisoner. Their forces will stop fighting and lay down arms. A capitol city will either be occupied by us or at least controlled by a guy who’s willing negotiate with us.

    Again, you have a WWII mindset. Many wars simply end with both sides retiring.

  29. Yeah there is a lot of that. And there is a lot of really bad guys claiming that. The commander on the ground just has to do his best to figure out which is which. Not an easy task.

    I haven’t heard anything about commanders trying to figure out which is which–they just ship all the guys to Gitmo on the theory that somebody else, somewhere, will figure out which is which.

    As Thoreau already said, if the guys in Gitmo were proven murderers I’d have no problem with keeping them there. Problem is, a lot of them are just ordinary guys swept up in a net, and the way the system is now, once you’re caught in that net there’s almost no way to get out.

    Maybe those three suicides really were vile terrorists and the world is better off without them. Or maybe they were just ordinary guys tending their crops or feeding their goats or whatever it is poor Afghanis do, and then one day the local warlords scooped them up, turned them over to us in exchange for thousands of dollars, and their lives have been cloaked in utter despair ever since.

    But we’ll never know which is which because our government doesn’t want to know–it’s easier and more convenient to say “anybody a warlord says is bad really is bad.”

    Kwais, as a fighter in this so-called war I assume you believe victory is possible, so maybe you can tell me–what will this victory look like? Is there any particular piece of territory we need to capture? Is there a particular general who needs to sign a surrender treaty?

    I grew up thinking the Cold War would not end in my lifetime, but even then I knew what the end would look like–the Soviet Union would either be overrun by Americans, or would cease to be Communist. What will the end of the War on Terror look like?

  30. Problem is, a lot of them are just ordinary guys swept up in a net, and the way the system is now, once you’re caught in that net there’s almost no way to get out.

    Even if every single one of them was guilty, there’s also the moral hazard in letting the executive branch operate outside the laws written by Congress and without oversight by judges. A government without a leash is a very dangerous government.

    Just ask an Egyptian. Or a Russian. Or a Chinese person. Or an Uzbek. Or a Venezuelan. Or a Cuban. And so forth.

  31. Jennifer,

    I grew up thinking the Cold War would not end in my lifetime, but even then I knew what the end would look like…

    Apparently you should have worked for the CIA then.

  32. There’s someone in prison in GTMO now who was tortured by members of Al Qaeda, including being waterboarded, apparently, because he was suspected of trying to assassinate bin Laden. He eventually confessed, hoping al Qaeda would kill him. Instead they handed them over to the Taliban, who imprisoned him for the next 4 and a half odd years. The US took him from the Taliban prison, to a few facilities in Afghanistan, where he says he was knocked around, to GTMO, where he says he was kept in solitary for a long time.

    He’s still there. He’s classified as “no longer an enemy combatant” (“is not and never was an enemy combatant” not being an option) but he’s still there. He was born in Saudi Arabia, but they won’t take him back. He’s of Uighur descent, but if he was sent to China they would torture or kill him. So, he’s still there.

  33. Katherine-

    We need to find a country for that guy which meets two criteria:

    1) That country’s government should agree that killing Bin Laden is a good idea.

    2) That country should have a long history of assimilating immigrants.

    Any ideas, folks?

  34. Dr T,
    Assumine we got the right guys;
    There is not going to be a trial because there is no crime. There is no law passed over there that says you cant associate with bad guys and can’t plan to attack the US.

    They are not guilty of a crime. But they are bad guys that either need to be shot or detained. And detained until the war is over, and if that war lasts the rest of their lives, that’ll be that.

    To let them go is to let them attack another US soldier.

    The dude that I let go might attack a convoy and kill a US soldier. Or more likely he will kill some Iraqi civilians. I had to let him go because I was not sure, I didn’t want the death of a possible innocent on my conscous. In other situations I would turn him over to a US Army unit, or to the Iraqi Army, and they would figure it out. I couldn’t that time.

  35. A government without a leash is a very dangerous government.

    True enough. Probably more of a danger than that which the unleashed government claims to fight.

  36. I wonder if Dr. T & Mr. T are related. 🙂

    _______________

    kwais,

    Really you and thoreau are arguing from the same premises; you just come to different conclusions.

  37. kwais-

    I don’t have any idea what should be done in situations like yours. I’m glad that I don’t have to make the decisions that you have to make. My only point is that indefinite detention in a legal black hole should not be an option. We should have some way of knowing when the detention would end.

    I suppose one solution would be to keep guys locked up until the Iraqi or Afghan government (depending on where the capture happened) is capable of figuring out what to do with them. In which case we need some metrics for what an adequate Iraqi or Afghan government would look like.

  38. In every one of the wars between major powers cited thus far, there was a clearly demarcated end point – the point at which one major power or coalition succumbed to the other’s superior force and agreed to their demands. As Clausewitz put it, “War is an act of force to compel the enemy to do our will.” The length, degree of violence or ultimate ramifications of a war are generally unknown at the outset, but the conditions for “victory” generally are. In the case of the American Civil War, the North’s conditions for victory were the elimination of the Confederate Army in the field and the destruction of the rebel government; in the Franco-Prussian War, it was the capitulation of both French Imperial and Republican armies; in the American Revolution, it was the acknowledgement by the British Crown that America was no longer worth an endless stream of soldiers to suppress the rebellion.

    In the War on Terror, not only are the conditions for victory unclear (does anyone believe that we’ll supress all terrorist acts or movements?) but the very identity of our opponents is often murky. Kwais wants the commanders in the field to distinguish between genuine POWs and people turned in by bounty hunters – in the absence of any real guidelines from superiors, how can a field commander do that? It’s a lot easier to simply round up everybody and ship them off, which is precisely what has happended up to now. The “POWs” should have due process at Gitmo and elsewhere precisely because a lot of them may not be real POWs, and there needs to be a way to weed out the innocents from the combatants.

  39. thoreau,

    In which case we need some metrics for what an adequate Iraqi or Afghan government would look like.

    I’d say a Hobbesian-based metric would work best. Until Iraq can created relatively secure borders and enforce its will throughout the country it is not the true sovereign.

  40. Mark B.,

    In every one of the wars between major powers cited thus far, there was a clearly demarcated end point – the point at which one major power or coalition succumbed to the other’s superior force and agreed to their demands.

    Which was recognized only after the fact.

    In the case of the American Civil War, the North’s conditions for victory were the elimination of the Confederate Army in the field and the destruction of the rebel government;

    And the suppression of the popular support for the war, the suppression of any potential guerilla activities, etc. As many historians have made clear, a full out guerilla war was distinct possibility in the spring of 1865.

    …in the Franco-Prussian War, it was the capitulation of both French Imperial and Republican armies…

    You fisk your ownself here, because their defeat did not end the war. The war drug on for another half-year after Sedan.

    …in the American Revolution, it was the acknowledgement by the British Crown that America was no longer worth an endless stream of soldiers to suppress the rebellion.

    It was more than that of course; it required recognition and aid from foreign powers, it required a victory on the field to get that recognition (Saratoga), it required some level of co-operation between all the colonies, it required suppression of any slave revolts that might break out, etc.

    In the War on Terror, not only are the conditions for victory unclear (does anyone believe that we’ll supress all terrorist acts or movements?) but the very identity of our opponents is often murky.

    Both are not particularly unusual in the annals of warfare.

  41. Honestly, I think it suits both sides to say that this war is “unusual” or “unique,” because such an ahistorical outlook allows for all sorts of “novel” opinions. When you aren’t bound by the experience of the past, there are lots of unpleasant realities that you can avoid.

  42. I don’t know how you would have a trial really in most cases. You have on the one side that the guy is claiming that he is innocent (which they will do sometimes even when caught on camera), and then you have whatever you have to make you think otherwise which is why you captured the dude.

    Then you ask him some questions, during which he is going to attempt to offer justification, or alternate explanation to the conclusion you came to.

    After you decide to send the guy to Gitmo, or wherever, he may decide to give his captors further information that proves he was just an innocent bystander. Gitmo can try to verify it, but it would be tough.

    Most of what the guy is going to say is that he loves America and hates the same people we do, plus Israel. And if you saw him carrying explosives he will tell you that you didn’t see him. Or he will apologize and say he’s sorry and that he wont do it again.

    Either way, I’m not sure what a lawyer will do, or how it will help. You can suppoena half the information it is classified, the other half long gone. You can’t call witnesses, they are either of his ilk and will lie in his favor, or not and wont help.

  43. Mark B, you make a compelling case for something I believe strongly, that calling this a “War on Terror” was an unbelievably dumb idea. Especially because people actually believe that and act accordingly.

  44. PL, if you do get your history from Google, you are a pretty adept googler, you’ll have to show me some techniques someday.

    I have a question for you;
    Why do you figure Israel was able to beat such big arab enemies so easily three times?
    Possibilities that I came up with:
    -American weaponry, so very superior to russian weaponry
    -A wester culture better at conducting war than a middle eastern culture
    -A somewhat free poeple better at producing armies than not free people.

    What do you think? This is something that comes up a lot as I talk to Iraqis.

  45. Bottom line:

    Kill them all. Let God sort them out.

  46. Jen,
    I think that we are on the way to victory in Iraq, and it will look like a strong Iraqi government, with a reasonably good economy, with strong ties to the US and hunting bad guys, or to the point where bad guys don’t even try to set up shop in Iraq.

    The Iraqi govt will not be as libertarian as we would want, and it will be a little more theocratic than we would want, but over time with a new generation and a press where they can talk about the stuff that is perhaps a little ugly it will come closer to what we would like.

    Afghanistan it trickier. Not so sure all will go well there.

  47. Doesn’t Islam consider suicide a sin if you don’t take any innocent people with you?

  48. kwais,

    If you want I’ll send you a picture of my secondary sources library and my primary sources document archive.

    As to the wars between Israel and its neighbors, I’ve never really studied them, but a couple of standard things come to mind:

    *The weaponry they (the “Arabs”) had sucked, being that it was often sub-standard crap from the USSR.

    *Israel had all the advantages any defender has when it has had to fight to stave off an invader (e.g., knowing their own territory, shorter lines of supply, etc.).

    *The “Arab” armies were probably poorly trained and probably not the sort of militaries where initiative is rewarded. In other words, the grunts were likely little respected and treated as cannon fodder.

    *The Israelis were always going to be as or more motivated than their attackers (this gets back to the cannon fodder point above).

  49. Kwais is worried about his lives and the lives of his friends. Of course he isn’t going to be at all sensible about these issues. I would say the same in his army boots.

    Nevertheless, a soldier’s job is fighting and (if neccessary) dying — not jurisprudence.

  50. kwais writes: “It is a tough question. I don’t think that the same rules apply to people caught in combat zones (Iraq Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan and Syria maybe), to people caught in elsewhere.”

    So basically you’re saying that the entire population of Iraq and Afghanistan can be disappeared, abused, transported across the planet, locked up without due process, and without hope of release, a life sentence without trial.

    Well, okay, except for a few people wearing uniforms, probably because they’re supposedly on our side.

    And this is an improvement over Saddam how, exactly?

  51. kwais writes: “And there is a lot of really bad guys claiming that.”

    Like the 12 year old kids and the rickety 80 year old who some military genius locked up at Gitmo for years.

  52. Dave-

    Like I said to kwais above, and again to Jason in the thread below, I accept that kwais will have to make certain decisions without observing certain niceties that we’d accept domestically. In the short term I accept that as a sad fact of life.

    My concern kicks in once that prisoner is off the battlefield, away from hostilities. Indefinite detention with no trial and no criterion for release should not be an option.

    They should either be identified as enemies in a conflict that has some sort of definable end, or they should face a trial before an independent tribunal. Even if that independent tribunal can’t observe all of the procedures that we expect domestically, it must be independent and it must follow laws decided upon in advance by the legislature, not procedures made up on the fly by an executive branch that wants to avoid embarassment. To do anything else, to sacrifice the independence of the judges or to make the law be whatever the executive wants at the time, is to go down a slippery slope that far too many countries have embarked on throughout history. It is unacceptable.

    kwais should do what he has to do in the field to stay alive. People who run prisons, however, should not keep their inmates indefinitely without trial. It’s as simple as that.

  53. So basically you’re saying that the entire population of Iraq and Afghanistan can be disappeared, abused, transported across the planet, locked up without due process, and without hope of release, a life sentence without trial”

    Riiight…that is exactly what I am saying.[sarcasm off]

    Dude what’s wrong with you?

    I am saying that there is not going to be a trial like there is in the US. You can’t and it wouldn’t work. But you still have to administer the best justice you can. The mission is to win over the population to our side. To have a country based on similar libertarian principles as ours.

  54. T.:

    I think Kwais concern is more that if these guys are accorded fair procedures, some of them will be released, will be mad as hell and come back to a new battlefield and kill him or his friends. Of course, Kwais is going to have that concern because he is human (I know I would in his army boots), but it is not valid. His job as a soldier is to fight and (if neccessary) die without trying to insert himself into the military justice system where his understandable self-preservation instincts will do more harm than good. Although it would be difficult for someone like Kwais to acknowledge, there are more important considerations than Kwais marginal liklihood of becoming a casualty.

    The correct answer for Kwais’ bs on this thread is: march, soldier, hut two.

  55. I maintain that it’s in our best interest to treat prisoners as if they were entitled to Prisoner of War status. POW status is great if we’re trying to keep the enemy off the battlefield without a trial. …but I do see two major disadvantages to bestowing POW status 1) we’re supposed to release POWs at the end of hostilities and 2) the interrogation of POWs is severely limited.

    It seems to me that war crimes tribunals should be sufficient to handle POWs convicted of war crimes–shouldn’t convictions centered around deliberately targeting civilians carry a life sentence?

    In regards to limiting interrogations, I prefer the moral high ground to symmetry, particularly as it pertains to official policy.

    …and there’s a difference between what’s justifiable in any particular situation and what should be the official policy of the United States. It should be the official policy of the United States to treat everyone in captivity with respect for their civil and human rights. If straying from that is somehow justifiable, then let the accused defend his or her actions in an appropriate court.

  56. Fox News is reporting it as a “homicide hanging.”

  57. Ken Shultz,

    What happens when POW treatment effects the ability of a nation to fight (because they are expensive to cloth, feed, etc.)?

  58. What happens when POW treatment effects the ability of a nation to fight (because they are expensive to cloth, feed, etc.)?

    I suppose that must have been a real concern for different sides at different points in history. I’d maintain that individuals and policy makers should still be held accountable for the human rights of prisoners, regardless.

  59. Fox News is reporting it as a “homicide hanging.”

    Hah!

    “I believe this was not an act of desperation, rather an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us.”
    –Rear Adm. Harry Harris, commander of Joint Task Force-Guantanamo.

    Maybe this is akin to the infamous “Judean People’s Front crack suicide squad”?

  60. “I believe this was not an act of desperation, rather an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us.” –Rear Adm. Harry Harris, commander of Joint Task Force-Guantanamo.

    Oh my God, please tell me that wasn’t a genuine quote made in reference to the suicide of these three men. Please tell me my countrymen aren’t that oblivious to humanity, or that willing to deny it to our enemies.

  61. Ken Shultz,

    I’d maintain that individuals and policy makers should still be held accountable for the human rights of prisoners, regardless.

    Isn’t that the case only if you believe that universal human rights exist? If, as some claim, liberty can only be found in a community, then if an outside or domestic agent threaten that liberty, what is to be done with that agent?

  62. Jennifer, it helps to look at the whole quote, not just a piece wrenched out of context. It may still bother you, but it makes a lot more sense.

  63. This thread did a wonderful job bringing out all of the military detention supporters that were absent from the thoreau’s challenge thread.

  64. TH,

    Who, kwais?

  65. Lots of assumptions about the scale of the problem at Gitmo. I have been googling to find out how many people have been released from Gitmo and how many are still there.

    I find in Mar of 2005:

    “211 prisoners have been transferred from Guantanamo to other countries. Of those 146 have been released, while 65 others remain in detention in their home countries.”

    And a few days ago on June 4:

    “U.S. prison in Cuba, where about 460 men are being held on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban.”

    Does not seem like an out of control situation to me. ABout 460 men are being held now, at least 211 released from Gitmo, at least 146 freed. So something like 20% of the prisoners held in Gitmo have been freed.

    I want to ask the people complaining about Gitmo something. Do you know that some much higher per centage of the people held there are innocent? How do you know that?

  66. The Red, White and Blue Network (Fox) states that suicide is painless.
    I believe them.
    It’s on TV, so it must be true.

  67. Isn’t that the case only if you believe that universal human rights exist?

    I suppose so. …and I suppose I am assuming that universal human rights exist.

    I think you’ve hit me with this before, and I’m still not sure how to respond other than to say that, given my assumption, I’ll continue to agitate for our community to recognize and respect human rights. …but I admit it–that is my base bias.

    I’m not sure what to do with that realization. I’m not sure the assumption that universal rights exist is merely a cultural artifact–it could be that assuming universal rights makes for a better, more enjoyable and productive society. …and in the real world, I predicate my most persuasive arguments, as measured by people telling me I was persuasive, on the idea that universal rights exist.

    Much of the libertarian message for me, be it civil rights or economic policy, boils down to getting the community to connect policy to people, all the time assuming that people are worth something.

  68. Some of those gitmo prisoners don’t act too peaceful:

    “Ten Guantanamo prisoners lured U.S. guards into a cell with a staged suicide attempt, then attacked them with light fixtures, fan blades and other improvised weapons while guards fired rubber balls and used a grenade launcher to subdue them, U.S. officials said on Friday.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060519/ts_nm/security_guantanamo_dc

  69. “Some of those gitmo prisoners don’t act too peaceful”

    Ten Guantanamo prisoners lured U.S. guards into a cell with a staged suicide attempt, then attacked them with light fixtures, fan blades and other improvised weapons while guards fired rubber balls and used a grenade launcher to subdue them, U.S. officials said on Friday.

    Sounds like the prisoners decided that if it was OK for them to be the subject of fraternity pranks, they could prank the guards back.

  70. kwais:

    Regarding the Israelis and thier ability to repel superior numbers 3 times, the Israelis wrote the modern book on armored warfare. They were the first to utilize maneuver tactics with heavy armor in large scale. They also realized before any of thier neighbors that a tank is not a tank is not a tank. They modified everything they got to be optimized for their strategic situation whereas the arab forces as exemplified by the Egyptians took what the Russians sold them. The Egyptians famously had mass abandoment of armor because they bought Russian tanks that didn’t have air conditioners in them. Let me reiterate, EGYPT bought tanks without a/c. Egad.

    They invested in more and better air power. They were always able to achieve air superiority in the initial battles of the war.

    Finally, their tactics were to always seize a buffer zone (which we still see today), to force the conflict away from artillery range of their civilian populaces.

  71. Are those guards abusing prisoners on our tax dollars, driving some to suicide?

    Also, What Ken Shultz said at 5:03 PM

  72. Do you know that some much higher per centage of the people held there are innocent?

    How can anyone know without trials? Is it the tradition in military courts that the defendants have the burden of proving their innocence as opposed to the prosecution having to prove guilt? Do you think that if an innocent person is imprisoned for years that justice is done when he’s released? And why do you trust the government so much after so many innocent people have spent years imprisoned? To oppose a transparent process of determining guilt or innocence suggests a level of trust in the government that certainly hasn’t been earned and was considered by the founding fathers to be unrealistic and unhealthy.

  73. bought

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    The side given stuff by the US won and the side given stuff by Russia lost. It was all about who gave more stuff and how good the stuff was.

    Don’t kid yerself.

    If the US had given stuff to Egypt and the Russian gave to Israel then the result of the war would have been opposite. I think that is pretty clear.

    The Israel wars were won by the US taxpayers, which taxpayers have never gotten the gratitude they deserved.

  74. sorry about widening the columns. wish this site would allow edits and decent wraps (a decent server would be nice too). some positive headlines about the pharmas this morning so this might be a good time to requisition.

  75. Dave W:

    Er, you realize that the IDF was using Sherman tanks in Yom Kippur, right? Both the Russian and German tanks were better than ours until after Vietnam. The Israelis proceeded to modify what they had to much better effect.

  76. Correction, Six Days War, not Yom Kippur. Both IDF and the arab forces were upgraded between these conflicts.

  77. The Israelis proceeded to modify what they had to much better effect.

    The US taxpayers modified the tamks to make them better. Isralis took the credit.

    I don’t think it takes a conspiracy theorist to understand that Israel got its nuclear bomb technology from the US either.

    The US taxpayers have never gotten the gratitude they deserve for all this.

  78. Dave W:

    You are wrong. You are wrong about who got the better goodies from their friends winning (in all three conflicts). You are wrong about who modified what. And you are wrong that the book rewriting tactics developed by the IDF didn’t matter.

    Broadly speaking, we didn’t achieve any significant weapons superiority over the Soviets until the generation of weapons developed after Vietnam.

    I don’t know if you are wrong about the Israeli nuke program.

  79. That is the excuse they use to keep US taxpayers from getting the full credit they deserve for Israel’s successes.

    Don’t believe the hype.

  80. Les:

    You are right, it is touching the belief they have in the Government infallibility when it comes to holding people withou trial. Infallibility that they would deny the moment it passes some regulation that **might** affect them.

    I guess they figure out that they are US citizens, and they are white, so they do not need to worry.

  81. Pardon the interruption, but didn’t Egypt win the war in 1973?

  82. Dave W. wrote,

    “The side given stuff by the US won and the side given stuff by Russia lost. It was all about who gave more stuff and how good the stuff was.”

    Utter and complete nonsense. The Israelis had to buy most of what they got in 1967 from the Czechs. It was only later that they were able to buy most of their weapons from the US.

    “If the US had given stuff to Egypt and the Russian gave to Israel then the result of the war would have been opposite. I think that is pretty clear.”

    It’s not clear to most military historians. To say fending off repeated invasions by multiple Arab armies is just a matter of “good stuff” vs “bad stuff” is silly. The outcome of a war is rarely going to be that simple.

    “The Israel wars were won by the US taxpayers, which taxpayers have never gotten the gratitude they deserved.”

    Excuse me, this is not Lew Rockwell.com. I think you may be lost. I’ve never heard of “The Israel wars,” but if you’re refering to some of the least free countries in the world getting together to attempt to destroy one of the freest nations in the world, I think your demand for “taxpayer gratitude” is a little misplaced.

    Taxpayers don’t need gratitude; they need to not have their money taken without their consent. Funny, you give 2.4 billion to Egypt and no one complains (or singles out Egypt for criticism), but if you give 2.9 billion to Israel, you can depend on some lefty, or paleo-libertarian to wet his pants. Interesting.

  83. “Pardon the interruption, but didn’t Egypt win the war in 1973?”

    It did better than expected, but massive US resupply efforts to Israel combined with providing the Israelis intelligence on Egyptian troop movements and assets turned the tide.

  84. “some of the least free countries in the world getting together to attempt to destroy one of the freest nations in the world, I think your demand for “taxpayer gratitude” is a little misplaced.”

    This is only a true statement, the freest nation part, if you discount the occupied territories. But given that Israel controls those, I think you’ve gotta count ’em. Granting Palestinians freedom at the level provided for Israeli citizens might go a long way towards ending the hostilities…or are the Palestinians just not deserving? Don’t pretend there are any good guys in the situation.

    South Africa was very free is you weren’t colored.

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