Civil Liberties

The U.S.: Promoting Democratic Values Around the Globe


From the Washington Post:

Afghan justice and security officials want to adopt the U.S. practice of detaining suspected insurgents indefinitely without trial, according to senior U.S. and Afghan officials involved in efforts to have the government in Kabul take control of detention operations in the country….

An Afghan-run system of detention without trial has yet to be approved by President Hamid Karzai, who has complained repeatedly about the U.S. policy of holding his citizens for years without civilian legal review. But senior officials of his government have voiced support for the move to achieve what they regard as an even more important goal: taking charge of detentions from the U.S.-led NATO coalition.

The U.S. government had been reluctant to transfer more authority over detained insurgents to the Afghan government because of concern that many would be released if they were tried in criminal courts…..

Although U.S. officials had hoped that the Afghan changes would be spelled out in a presidential decree and promulgated before parliament convened - under Afghan law, the president can make laws by fiat when the legislature is in recess - a draft decree has yet to reach Karzai.

Keep that light unto the nations burning, U.S.A.! We're like that shining city on the hill, surrounded by detention camps. Hat tip: Sheldon Richman.

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  1. Yet another reason it's bad not to stick to our guns on civil liberties, even when it's hard to do so.

  2. More of Same!

  3. I have the feeling that in Afghanistan, "indefinite detention" is understood to take place in a pine box six feet underground.

  4. They took our JERBS!

  5. Relativistic bullshit. Military detentions have been a fact of life for every nation for hundreds of years. It's called making grown-up choices - something some writers on this blog understand much better in the context of domestic spending than in anything to do with international relations.

    1. No, it isn't. No one is objecting to holding prisoners of war for the duration of hostilities.

      1. duration of hostilities

        Well, since the war on terror is open ended....

      2. Prisoners of war are uniformed employees of adversarial governments to be returned once the governments negotiate an end to hostilities.

        Who employs these prisoners?

        With whom do you negotiate to put an end to hostilities?

        1. Look, just like here, there's no reason not to have due process. That due process can be something other than the normal one for criminal defendants, but no due process at all is a bad idea.

    2. *sniff sniff*

      I smell a Randroid.

    3. Some people call it "making grown-up choices," while others call it an excuse for statism. It takes a leftist's faith in the government to presume it will indefinitely detain only innocent people.

  6. This is really depressing.

    Back in 2003, GWB spoke at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy:

    There are, however, essential principles common to every successful society, in every culture. Successful societies limit the power of the state and the power of the military -- so that governments respond to the will of the people, and not the will of an elite. Successful societies protect freedom with the consistent and impartial rule of law, instead of selecting applying -- selectively applying the law to punish political opponents. Successful societies allow room for healthy civic institutions -- for political parties and labor unions and independent newspapers and broadcast media. Successful societies guarantee religious liberty -- the right to serve and honor God without fear of persecution. Successful societies privatize their economies, and secure the rights of property. They prohibit and punish official corruption, and invest in the health and education of their people. They recognize the rights of women. And instead of directing hatred and resentment against others, successful societies appeal to the hopes of their own people. (Applause.)

    These vital principles are being applies in the nations of Afghanistan and Iraq. With the steady leadership of President Karzai, the people of Afghanistan are building a modern and peaceful government. Next month, 500 delegates will convene a national assembly in Kabul to approve a new Afghan constitution. The proposed draft would establish a bicameral parliament, set national elections next year, and recognize Afghanistan's Muslim identity, while protecting the rights of all citizens. Afghanistan faces continuing economic and security challenges -- it will face those challenges as a free and stable democracy. (Applause.)

    Sadly, he was just bushitting us, and Obama is just continuing in his footsteps.

  7. *Sniff* I'm so proud! Before you know it they'll be shooting pets just like us!

  8. We gave up the pipe dream of a democratic Afghanistan quite some time ago. All we're hoping for now is a stable government that won't be overthrown right after NATO leaves.

    That ain't gonna happen either.

  9. Maybe the Afghan government can get the detainees declared adulterers and do an end-run around the whole problem.

  10. This is all necessary for peace.

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