Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

Location: South Jersey, United States

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What country is this Part II

Read this. Then, read it again.

As a result, human rights experts expressed concern yesterday that the language in the new provision would be a precedent-setting congressional endorsement for the indefinite detention of anyone who, as the bill states, "has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States" or its military allies.

The definition applies to foreigners living inside or outside the United States and does not rule out the possibility of designating a U.S. citizen as an unlawful combatant. It is broader than that in last week's version of the bill, which resulted from lengthy, closed-door negotiations between senior administration officials and dissident Republican senators. That version incorporated a definition backed by the Senate dissidents: those "engaged in hostilities against the United States."

Now, answer this question: Which country do I live in? Not the one that was set up by the constitution and founding fathers.

I know, I know, I'm SO unpatriotic. I can't be trusted with matters of national security. Don't I understand the Jihadist Islamofascist threat? I guess not.


Blogger Dave Justus said...

"Which country do I live in? Not the one that was set up by the constitution and founding fathers."

That is certainly correct. The closest parallel to today's 'unlawful combatants' would probably be pirates. Our founding fathers would have never detained Pirates indefinately. They hung them. Typically without the benefit of any trial.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Katinula said...

so glib. it almost makes it seem like it doesn't matter. "Pirates would have been HUNG!" "Without benefit of a trial!" did you miss the part that a US citizen could be declared an 'unlawful combatant'? Do you not see that instead of being proven guilty, that the accused must prove his innocence? Oh yeah, without access to any so-called 'classified information' that might implicate him. If this country purports to be a world leader in human rights and rights of our own citizens, then it has to act like it. if we keep nibbling away at our civic liberties, soon, we will live in a country where those liberties are things of the past. We are in a war against an undeclared enemy with an indeterminate length. You better start taking it a little more seriously because your unseriousness is just as much of a threat to those liberties as the encroachment upon them by this administration.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

What I was trying to point out, is that your 'the sky is falling' attitude probably isn't based in reality. Their never was the golden nation that you imagine our founding fathers built, perfect in every way.

Every generation, including our own, has to balance different needs, including the very real, and often tricky, balancing act between liberty and security.

I am not entirely satisfied with this legislation, but don't pretend that it is the end of everything. Terrorist activities don't 'fit' well with either traditional law enforcement or a military POW paradigm, they are somewhere inbetween.

I honestly don't know the best way to deal with this problem, it is one that has vexed me for a time. I don't think though that the vapourous horrors toward any change to how things have been done in the past, things that haven't worked all that well by the way, is all that helpful.

Once in a rare while is a slipperly slope arguement an accurate and useful one. I don't think that this is a time when that is so. Certainly our history tells us that during different conflicts our nation has adopted diffent rules on how to deal with civil liberties while maintianing security, many of which were far more drastic than anything Bush has ever proposed, none of those conflicts ended with civil liberties being a thing of the past (although if we had not won those conflicts they might have become so.)

I am not saying that we give Bush a blank check, or that we can't criticize anything he decides or say that it isn't right. If though, you respond in a hysterical and exagerateed manner.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Katinula said...

If you don't think suspending habeas corpus for a war against an undeclared enemy for an undetermined amount of time, to only be determined by the chief executive, is a "slippery slope" than I'm not sure what your definition of slipper is. When is habeas corpus reinstated? How can an American citizen not have his rights protected no matter what crime he has committed or what crime the President says he has committed. I never said the founding fathers created a perfect country, but they created a country in which the executive branch did most certainly NOT have th power to hold an American citizen, without trial, without charges, indefinitely, without access to a lawyer or the evidence against him. Its pretty much the slickest slope you are going to see in some time.
The point is, if you aren't outrage at that, what will outrage you? When a person is taken, held, transferred to Syria, tortured and then released b/c it was a case of mistaken identity? shit, already happened! Which civil liberty, when its compromised, will outrage you? The further we fall down the 'little by little' hole, the harder it will be to climb back up.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

Let me be clear, I don't support treating U.S. citizens as unlawful enemy combatants without severe restrictions on how that can be determined. Perhaps there is no reason to ever do such a thing. I agree with you that the dangers of that are great.

However, the worst that could be said here is that it doesn't specifically say that U.S. citizens can never be unlawful enemy combatants. It doesn't say that, but it doesn't say that they will be. Some of the legal issues surrounding that are still being worked through.

Habeus Corpus does not typically apply to prisoners of war who are held for the duration of a conflict but are not considered criminals or even of having done something wrong.

I agree that we should change that for 'unlawful combatants' due to the nature of the conflict and that it may never have a definable end. That doesn't mean though that regular criminal law is appropriate either.

We need a special case to deal with this, the Supreme Court, in a decision I mostly agree with, says that the President alone can't define this 'special case' but that Congress has to do it. That is what has happened, and for the most part it seems to me like a pretty good job at it.

12:44 PM  

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