Friday, February 6, 2009

So what now?

All we heard about during Bush's last 2 years was the horrible war crimes and torture tactics used by mean Americans. After we begin to see some "truth" about people and things I wonder if those so opposed to the "attrocities" of the Americans? It seems that those who blindly tossed out some of the most venomous rhetoric during Bush's administration now have to recant those statements...when under oath. They knew we know better now?

Leon Panetta...

Or what about the people who claim the people held in Gitmo are not criminals and if freed they will go about their peaceful lives? Seriously?,2933,489473,00.html

Let's call it both ways if we are going to call it at all.


TnknOutLoud said...

OK Blake,
You know when you bring up the atrocities that Bush and Cheney committed with their lack of due process with detainees held illegally in various prison camps including Gitmo, I can't be silent. This is one area that I am so glad to have a level thinking legal minded CINC @ the helm now.
For the record I think that most of the people in the detention facilities are terrorists. I think most of them want to do harm to America and her citizens. My problem is the lack of due process to screen out the innocent ones. There have already been two prosecutors resign due to the improprieties that occur with the legal proceedings. Basically it becomes a kangaroo court just to give the appearance of fairness.
I believe that we as Americans are better than this. Even if someone murders women and children and every fiber in our body may call for us to "have a short trial and a long rope" or even skip the trial part, our legal system is built on innocent until PROVEN guilty. When we attempt to bypass this in "offshore" prison camps, I think we as a nation sell our birthright and take on some of the characteristics of the very terrorists that we are fighting. Is it fun or easy to give our enemies a fair trial all where they may mock and ridicule us throughout the process? Of course not, but America was not founded on principle of least resistance as much as she was founded on choosing the road less traveled.
So, lets stop acting like we have something to fear in using due process to try these individuals. Will there be some hick-ups along the way? Guaranteed, but doing the sure thing is not always the right thing.

Blake said...

I thought the issue of Gitmo may well bring fire from Hodo.

In all honesty I always worry about the innocent people who are in prison. I hate to think that innocent people have been killed in electric chairs or have died serving a life sentence for a crime they didn't do.

When it comes to Gitmo detainees and others who we "can neither confirm nor deny" their presence in foreign prisons run by the CIA, I try to see both sides of the issue. Since you just spent too many months as the CO of a detainment facility you know better than most that even those serving in our own military do not have the same set of rules as those who don't. The UCMJ exists because the military needs and has a different set of laws.

I would say that our constitution doesn't apply to those who are not U.S. citizens or don't live (legally or otherwise) in the U.S. I say that not because I don't think it should but because I don't see how it can. For example, you are the director of the CIA and some terrorist is on you have the same style discovery that is legally required in our criminal justice system? You can't do that and maintain national security. If the U.S. Constituion is applied to those at Gitmo, the terrorists also have the right to confront their accusors. That can't happen and maintain the integrity of the high level security issues. The last issue I see is the public access and right to information. If I was accused of a crime and it went to trial the minutes of the trial including any evidence presented is public record. Are we going to make the trials and evidence of terrorists public record? Of course not. I just don't see a way of applying the same rights I have to those people...I wish we could, but we can't.

With that said, I don't think it is right that people can stay locked up in a facility forever and never face a trial of some kind. I just don't know how justice can prevail in the traditional sense with the circumstances as they currently are.

Now back to my blog...if you will notice, the blog was more about people calling things a little different when they are under oath than they do during campaign rallies and network news interviews. And yes, it happens on both sides...I was just saying we should point out Panetta's 180 as much as everyone pointed out the inconsistencies during Bush's 8 years.

So when are you coming home so we can have these discussions in person?

TnknOutLoud said...

You make some good points that I have to concede-- all people do not fall under our constitutional protection. The first 7 words of the constitution pretty much sums up who it is for "We the people of the United States..." We can't expect foreigners of other nation to abide by our constitution when they are on their own turf. But, can we decide since WE are not on our turf, that we can ignore the constitution. Are we no longer "people of the United States" simply because we are no longer in the US? Does the constitution no longer govern our behaviors? Of course, if I go to a foreign land (as you and I have both done numerous times), then I am subject to the laws of their land. I don't divorce my own laws, but become an ambassador of the US. I am speaking as a plain ordinary citizen when he goes abroad, how much more important is it for citizens of the US to remember our roots if we travel as a member of the military, state dept, or president of the US? In the latter example we are officially representing the laws, practices and ideals of our great country. I believe that the president when he made a choice to house prisoners on foreign land for the sole purpose of skirting the constitution, behaved in a manner that brings shame to the ideals of our constitution. Not only this, but he rejected the Geneva Convention simply by changing the classification of the prisoners. "They are not POW's they are simply enemy combatants." Are you kidding me? This smacks of recess games of kinder garden kids making up the rules as they go along.

Now that we have a terrorist factory that encourages hatred, it does become difficult to dismantle. How do you dispose of the individuals that have been housed in our camps for yrs? Its a tough situation, that we should have never gotten our selves into. Now that we are there, there will be imperfect solutions that I fear will be credited to the current administration instead of accurately laying the responsibility @ the feet of the past president.

Incidentally, I believe that the term "for the sake of national security" has been a cloak of secrecy that has hidden a multitude of sins, and I hope that this changes under this administration.

I hope to be home this week.

Blake said...

I don't think that we have to worry about the media giving Obama any blame for something that they can lay at the feet of "W"...whether Bush deserves it or not. I think every president is given a certain hand to play and Obama is responsible for playing his hand well. In the same way Bush was responsible for some things he didn't want and didnt deserve...I guess that's one of the things that comes with serving as President.

I don't know a good solution for the cloak of secrecy we call "for the sake of national security". I think that's why Boyd wrote "The Myth of a Christian Nation". Jesus calls us to lay down our lives but to continue to have this country with our freedoms we occasionally have to shoot and bomb people. That fact alone brings the ideal of "Christian Nation" under all kinds of scrutiny.

I don't know what to do with the Gitmo prisoners either. I don't want them here and I don't want them where they can do any innocent people harm. I don't know that we have bred hatred among those guys as it was likely already there. I think releasing them would lead to more deaths in lieu of capture on the battlefield. If the soldier or marine know that they are risking their life to capture someone who will later be shooting at them again they will likely become the judge, jury and executionor on the spot. You and I both know the reality of a 25 year old Staff Sgt in charge of a platoon fighting beyond the lens of the media cameras.

What would you have done with some of the detainees currently held at Gitmo?

TnknOutLoud said...

"What would you have done with some of the detainees currently held at Gitmo?"

That is as they say the $100,000 question. My first answer would be not to change the rules in the middle of the game. What do you do with prisoners of war during war time? (BTW, I don't buy game of semantics that the previous adminstration was peddling-we are @ war on two fronts) You house them and treat them humanely. You don't torture them, even if the fate of the world is thier hands. To allow torture is saying the end will justify the means and this simply isn't American. We abide by the Geneva Convention.

Where you house (imprison) them is not that big of a deal (American soil, foreign soil) they should be treated with respect, dignity, and consistency regardless.

Here's a question for you. I understand that some of these people are supposed to be in a whole different category due to the nature of their tactics -- enemy combatants. So where are the folks that were fighting for their country when we captured them that were abiding by all the rules of the game? Where are the POW's from either Iraq or Afghanistan?