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Guantanamo Bay
Posted by: Jon Henke on Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The LA Times has an excellent editorial that mentions the recent National Journal story on Guantanamo Bay...
It is becoming evident that the majority of the men held in Guantanamo were not, in fact, captured in battle. A study of individual detainee cases published recently by the National Journal argued persuasively that more than half of the detainees currently in Guantanamo were abducted in the mountains of Pakistan by warlords who handed them over to U.S. forces for cash rewards, sometimes $1,000 a head. At a time when U.S. forces were unable to find Osama bin Laden, and were desperate to find enemy soldiers in the mountainous caves of Pakistan and Afghanistan, tribal informers apparently had a field day pointing to their own enemies as a way to supply human chattel, who ended up in Guantanamo.

Many of their individual case files suggest that government lawyers felt pressured to find, or invent, evidence that detainees actually knew something about Al Qaeda operations. One Yemeni prisoner was interrogated so roughly that, according to the National Journal, he finally said in exasperation, "OK, I saw Bin Laden five times: three times on Al Jazeera and twice on Yemeni news." His "admission" was duly recorded in a case file: "Detainee admitted to knowing Osama bin Laden."
They also cite the recent report that followed "an 18-month investigation ordered by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights", which concluded that...
  • "the primary purpose of [the detainees] confinement was for interrogation, not to prevent them from taking up arms."


  • "some of the treatment of detainees met the definition of torture under the U.N. Convention Against Torture: The acts were committed by government officials, with a clear purpose, inflicting severe pain or suffering against victims in a position of powerlessness."


  • "the simultaneous use of several interrogation techniques — prolonged solitary confinement, exposure to extreme temperatures, noise and light; forced shaving and other techniques that exploit religious beliefs or cause intimidation and humiliation — constituted inhumane treatment and, in some cases, reached the threshold of torture."


  • "[of particular concern was] the force-feeding of hunger strikers through nasal tubes that detainees said were brutally inserted and removed, causing intense pain, bleeding and vomiting."


These, as the LA Times writes, are not the values for which we are fighting. In fact, they are the very values and methods against which we are fighting. For instance...
"...a small group of villagers attacked [a] convoy as it travelled through the town ... As a result, several [units] descended upon the [scene]. In the following few days, hundreds of people were arrested, some were executed and others...were wrongly arrested and held at [the prison camp] for four years."
Hey, that — as defenders of Guantanamo Bay, torture, abuse and other Executive Branch extensions often tell us — is what must be done in war.

You might be excused for thinking the charges I just referenced were related to Guantanamo Bay. The similarity is certainly striking. In fact, it is a description of the charges currently facing Saddam Hussein. As Jim Henley wrote last year...
If you believe there can be such a thing as a war crime, Saddam Hussein is a notorious war criminal and deserves whatever he gets. If you believe in “war the way it needs fighting, with grim ferocity and cold unconcern for legalistic niceties,” then Saddam Hussein is your boy. You and he are brothers under the skin.

If you believe that there can be war crimes when our enemies commit them, but not when we or our allies do, then perhaps Saddam Hussein himself would be shamed by your company.

What’s surpassingly interesting is that the people who bleat loudest about the morality of our crusade seem to keep a healthy supply of a-moralists around to justify the rough stuff.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
"the primary purpose of [the detainees] confinement was for interrogation, not to prevent them from taking up arms."
So, you’re saying their release, enabeling them to take up arms against us, is a good thing?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
In many cases, yes, absolutely.

If you disagree with that, you are a sick, twisted fool. (something which, I grant, is a very real possibility)

By way of explanation, in case you really are as stupid as your formulation above suggests — another very real possibility — I would also argue that the release of Cory Maye, enabling him to take up arms against Policemen, would also be a very good thing.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I am just shocked SHOCKED that in 2001 and 2002 we would be despicable enough to pay money for Arabs caught in Pashtun villages in either Afghanistan or Pakistan!

We should have inserted the 100th and 200th Elite Mountain Arabic Speaking Pashtun Culture Senstive Army Corps to seal every single crossing and hamlet.

It’s almost as bad as when we paid Russians to spy on the Soviet Union. So unseemly to trust mercenary instincts in our enemy. We should instead continuously remind them that under Islam, other muslims are guests and should be protected from our forces.

After all, all is only fair in love, not war.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Though, I must say, it’s heartening indeed to see these issues raised in 2006.

If we had had a 9/11 every year since 2001, I think this conversation would not be taking place.

So, when exactly do we declare victory in the GWOT? Now that is a question!
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I am just shocked SHOCKED that in 2001 and 2002 we would be despicable enough to pay money for Arabs caught in Pashtun villages in either Afghanistan or Pakistan!
What the hell are you talking about?!?! Whether or not it was a good idea to introduce financial incentives into the process in ’01-’02, the real problem has been our actions since then.

This is a lot like the story of Larry Fowlkes that I cited recently, in which a Kangaroo trial found him guilty and exculpatory evidence — including the total non-credibility of his only accuser — was simply ignored. The problem isn’t solely with offering incentives to an accuser — it’s how you react to that. As in the Fowlkes case, we’ve reacted awfully.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
My bad. I thought you made an extended quote like this, followed by a critiqe for a reason:

"It is becoming evident that the majority of the men held in Guantanamo were not, in fact, captured in battle. A study of individual detainee cases published recently by the National Journal argued persuasively that more than half of the detainees currently in Guantanamo were abducted in the mountains of Pakistan by warlords who handed them over to U.S. forces for cash rewards, sometimes $1,000 a head. At a time when U.S. forces were unable to find Osama bin Laden, and were desperate to find enemy soldiers in the mountainous caves of Pakistan and Afghanistan, tribal informers apparently had a field day pointing to their own enemies as a way to supply human chattel, who ended up in Guantanamo."

Why include this if it is not a problem for you, but the techniques that follow? To me, it seems like you object to the process by which we catch the detainees (innocent or not.)

Also, while forced feeding might be rough...well, should we let them die of hunger instead?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
What’s surpassingly interesting is that the people who bleat loudest about the morality of our crusade seem to keep a healthy supply of a-moralists around to justify the rough stuff.
See, the thing is, I’m an amoralist... but I still think that the way we go about several things is... stupid.

Even if you think the ends necessarily justify the means, look at the current ends. Look at what we’ve had to do to achieve one set of ends, and particularly pay attention to the unintended consequences (which should be included in any set of ends). Need I get specific about the unintended damage our policies have done in certain areas of policy?
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
So, like Larry Fowlkes, these are all criminal issues and need to be addressed by criminal judges and US domestic law. Greeat. Except its’ Afganistan where there were no laws or judges or chains of evidence.

I truly pity our troops who in the next war will certainly face the entire Chinese army in civilain clothes...why not, they get more rights that way!

It’s one thing to say detainees should be screened better or the system should be overhauled. But there is an extreme moral hazard here that says to the next Serbia or Iraq that fielding any conventionally uniformed force is stupid. Instead fight in civvies and you will gain more rights than if you fought in a uniform.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
What makes you think these people were combatants in the first place? More than half of those investigated weren’t even picked up in Afghanistan at all.
Why include this if it is not a problem for you, but the techniques that follow?
Because the very obvious uncertainties created by that kind of program need to be addressed.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
These, as the LA Times writes, are not the values for which we are fighting. In fact, they are the very values and methods against which we are fighting. For instance...

"...a small group of villagers attacked [a] convoy as it travelled through the town ... As a result, several [units] descended upon the [scene]. In the following few days, hundreds of people were arrested, some were executed and others...were wrongly arrested and held at [the prison camp] for four years."
Hey, that — as defenders of Guantanamo Bay, torture, abuse and other Executive Branch extensions often tell us — is what must be done in war.

You might be excused for thinking the charges I just referenced were related to Guantanamo Bay. The similarity is certainly striking. In fact, it is a description of the charges currently facing Saddam Hussein.
So let me see if I have this straight. Saddam’s actions against his own countrymen in a time of peace are equivalent to US actions against the citizens of a terrorist-harboring nation that assisted in the murder of 3000 people on US soil?

If the current denizens of Gitmo are completely innocent, by all means let them go. But you should ask yourself, Jon, "why are they still there? Exactly what utility does the government derive from keeping them there? And why rat on itself by releasing compiled evidence of its nefarious deeds? Is there more to the story than what we’ve been told?"

My problem with your discussion of this topic, Jon, isn’t so much with the position on top of that high horse which you arrogated to yourself, but the lack of any sense of skepticism on your part. While I’m perfectly ready to accept that the sheer incompetence of government is to blame for any actual problems here, for me to believe that the government/administration/military is misbehaving requires at least some indication of intent.

Equating Gitmo to Saddam should be backed up with some evidence of an evil intent on the part of the detainors, shouldn’t it?
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
If you disagree with that, you are a sick, twisted fool. (something which, I grant, is a very real possibility)
Great response Jon.

You’re starting to sound like a Liberal more and more. Good work.
 
Written By: Derek
URL: http://
I’m a bit skeptical of the UN report. For one thing, nobody from the UN ever visited Guantanamo. For another, the report was mostly made up of unsubstantiated claims from the prisoners and their lawyers.

Taking these claims at face value seems more than a little foolish to me.
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://sayanythingblog.com
So, you’re saying their release, enabeling them to take up arms against us, is a good thing?
In many cases, yes, absolutely.

If you disagree with that, you are a sick, twisted fool.
So more people taking up arms against the US and it’s allies is a good thing, and I’m a sick twisted fool for shedding some light on your saying this.

Right.

Got it.

Rotundo Moore, call your office.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
“If you disagree with that, you are a sick, twisted fool. “
Thanks, Jon. I saved that to use as a perfect example of what “ad hominem” means. Why such a phrase should ever be used in an actual discussion.....

Let me say that the way you arrive at your decisions is not uncommon, if not well understood. You are the arch-type of the 2nd lieutenant who is “fragged” by his own troops before he gets them all killed. A smart commander would make you Morale Officer and let you give the troops the talks that are required to be given by the remfs. Tell me you have been promised a good job in a future Democratic administration so that I can make sense of your behaviour.

More on my theory about your new idol Mr. Greenwald: Instapundit is the target of the DNC Committee For Response formed to influence thought on the internet by marshalling email (for blogs that do not allow comments) and comment campaigns to strategically influence right wing blogs. Mr. Reynolds refers to “astroturf campaigns” bugging him.
“Ah, so the emails calling me a "facist" and the like, by people who had obviously not read my posts or my blog, were coming from by Glenn Greenwald, where he included my email address...Thanks for doing your small part to degrade the blogosphere, Greenwald.”
Of course I wonder why Mr. Reynolds apparently has not yet tumbled to the true nature of Mr. Greenwald and his site. I am also intrigued by the fact that Mr. Greenwald is publishing his posts on another blog and then referring readers of his own blog to them. [Usual practice is to post on your own blog and then....h*ll, you know that.] Would that be for some legal reason? Or, based on their research on the workings of the internet, to keep the home site free of all but the critical propaganda needed to hook new readers? Hmmmmm. Veddy intresting.
 
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
m a bit skeptical of the UN report. For one thing, nobody from the UN ever visited Guantanamo. For another, the report was mostly made up of unsubstantiated claims from the prisoners and their lawyers.
really. Particualrly when you cosider the kind of domination of the UN by those seeking destruction of the US.... Like, for example, the "palastinians"

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
So more people taking up arms against the US and it’s allies is a good thing, and I’m a sick twisted fool for shedding some light on your saying this.
No, you’re a fool for your lack of reading comprehension. I didn’t say that "more people taking up arms against the US and it’s allies is a good thing", nor did you ASK whether I thought that was a good thing.

Go back, read what you wrote and how I responded, and try again.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Ugh, just for clarification, my comment was an opinion not any kind of threat. I actually like your stuff when you are not... well, I already said that. I must be careful to reassure people, now that I am championing a "crackpot" theory.
 
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
So, you’re saying their release, enabeling them to take up arms against us, is a good thing?



Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
______________________________________________________________________________
In many cases, yes, absolutely.

If you disagree with that, you are a sick, twisted fool. (something which, I grant, is a very real possibility)

By way of explanation, in case you really are as stupid as your formulation above suggests — another very real possibility — I would also argue that the release of Cory Maye, enabling him to take up arms against Policemen, would also be a very good thing.

Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
______________________________________________________________________________
I didn’t say that "more people taking up arms against the US and it’s allies is a good thing", nor did you ASK whether I thought that was a good thing...
Written By: Jon Henke
Looks like you did say that to me (although Bithead did twist your words when he asked you the question).
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
But, that’s just it; I didn’t; There’s no other conclusion to draw from his words.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
See, MichaelW, here’s the problem... Because Cory Maye’s case exists, Jon leaps to the assumption.... without any evdience to the contrary, (Other of course than Bush is President) that the people we have at GB are similarly innocent, and so ALL of them need to be released, regardless of the consequences of added fighters on the other side.


That, in my view is sick and twisted.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Looks like you did say that to me (although Bithead did twist your words when he asked you the question).
Christ, I can’t believe I have to explain this.

YES, I think it’s good that innocent people are ABLE to take up arms against us.

NO, I don’t think it’s good when people DO take up arms against us.


I thought the Cory Maye example would have been clear enough. Apparently not.

I can only conclude — from his repeated insistence on the matter — that Eric Florack supports the permanent detention of innocent people so that they’re incapable of taking up arms against us.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Christ, I can’t believe I have to explain this.
Yeah, no doubt it would have been easier to say what you meant the first time.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
But, that’s just it; I didn’t; There’s no other conclusion to draw from his words.
Well you could have drawn the conclusion that the majority of detainees weren’t fighting us in the first place, so why would they go back and fight us now? That’s what I understood Jon’s comment to mean until the "In many cases, absolutely" remark (although I’m still not so sure how accurate the assumed fact is).
See, MichaelW, here’s the problem... Because Cory Maye’s case exists, Jon leaps to the assumption.... without any evdience to the contrary, (Other of course than Bush is President) that the people we have at GB are similarly innocent, and so ALL of them need to be released, regardless of the consequences of added fighters on the other side.
I’m not sure that’s accurate either, Bithead. Jon certainly is riding the "innocent until proven guilty" meme pretty hard (and in error IMHO), but I don’t read him to mean that we’d be better off just letting them go altogether.

It seems to me (and I’m sure Jon will correct me if I’m wrong) that he’s more concerned with the process, or lack thereof, involved in keeping these detainees ... er, detained. A valid point, even if ultimately overstated in my view.

But then you go off in a high dudgeon, Jon, about how anybody that disagrees with you is any variety of fool or sicko that you care to name at the moment. Trust me. We all get it. You’ve discovered a moral absolute from which there is no deviation. Pardon me if I less than impressed with your reasoning on this one.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Well you could have drawn the conclusion that the majority of detainees weren’t fighting us in the first place, so why would they go back and fight us now? That’s what I understood Jon’s comment to mean until the "In many cases, absolutely" remark (although I’m still not so sure how accurate the assumed fact is).
Correct, but his assumption, here, is precisely the point. We’re in a wartime situation. The assumption he’d like to make about these prisoners... innocence, is not the best one to make under time of war, I’m afraid. Jon has yet, I think to get his mind around that point... and what he advocates endagers us needlessly, thereby.

By all means, general patton, release those German prisoners. You can’t prove they mean us harm, after all.
I’m not sure that’s accurate either, Bithead. Jon certainly is riding the "innocent until proven guilty" meme pretty hard (and in error IMHO), but I don’t read him to mean that we’d be better off just letting them go altogether.
I couldn’t care LESS what he ’means’ or what he FEELS, I’m trying to point up the consequences of what he advocates.






 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Addendum to MichaelW;
Well you could have drawn the conclusion that the majority of detainees weren’t fighting us in the first place
Yep, I sure could, and most certainly, that’s the impression Jon’s trying to leave us. But I don’t consider most of the reports he cites as credible. (The UN? the LAT? Comon, man...) And with what I have left after discounting such reports, am forced by logic to advocate the safe play.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
@Bithead
"By all means, general patton, release those German prisoners. You can’t prove they mean us harm, after all."

1) uniformed German soldiers in WWII by definition did mean us harm. Comparisons the "GWOT" with WWII are about as useful as comparing Iraq and Vietnam. Actually, I’d argue less so.

2) Why are _conservatives_ arguing that we should just "trust the govt" to know what is best for everyone and that they only lock up guilty people without trials for years? Or does it only matter that they aren’t US citizens, so f*ck ’em? I’m not arguing for full chain of evidence but SOME standards would have been nice.

On that note:
When conservatives actually didn’t wholeheartedly trust the government to look out for our best interests.


3) The fact that we are dealing with aggressors mixed in with innocents does not automatically conclude that we get to whack, arrest, or incarcerate unlucky innocents at whim, just because "it’s safer to assume they mean us harm".

4) You claim we are at a state of war. With Whom? thus far all I’ve seen is a war on an idea ("Terror"). Who leads "them"? it’s not only Bin Laden. How do we even identify "them", since the GB detainees seem quite arbitrarily selected? And most importantly, without knowing the above questions, how do we go back to being "not at war"? Do we ever go back to "not at war"?

5) Man, Jon takes one critical stance of the Bush Admin and suddenly he’s a "liberal"? Geez, you guys are as rough as Kos in requiring allegiance to "The Party" specifically.
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
If you disagree with that, you are a sick, twisted fool. (something which, I grant, is a very real possibility)

Now, see, Jon…
I get that… That’s funny.
;)
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
1) uniformed German soldiers in WWII by definition did mean us harm. Comparisons the "GWOT" with WWII are about as useful as comparing Iraq and Vietnam. Actually, I’d argue less so.
Go ahead, Tito.
Tell us these these people mean the world no harm. And be sure to tell us how you know.
) Why are _conservatives_ arguing that we should just "trust the govt" to know what is best for everyone and that they only lock up guilty people without trials for years? Or does it only matter that they aren’t US citizens, so f*ck ’em? I’m not arguing for full chain of evidence but SOME standards would have been nice.
Rather makes one mindful of the guy who fell off a cruise ship. Someone tries to toss him a life preserver, but he argues on the color of the thing, saying the white one wasn’t part of the established procedure.
Man, Jon takes one critical stance of the Bush Admin and suddenly he’s a "liberal"? Geez, you guys are as rough as Kos in requiring allegiance to "The Party" specifically.
I’ll be kind and assume you’re new here.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
The similarity is certainly striking.
Jon, the VP called. Seems that an opening has suddenly appeared on the next quail hunting trip.
 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
@Bithead

No, I’m definately not new. Not sure when I started posting, probably about a year ago but I do it somewhat infrequently. I suppose I’m one of the "liberals" that post here.

"Tell us these these people mean the world no harm. And be sure to tell us how you know."

I don’t know. But what I expect from my government is that I expect them to know, or have good evidence, before locking up people for years at at time. Or at least that they gather that evidence as expediently as possible. And I base my concern on the other issues coming out of GB as well. Like when the administration is forced to give a detainee court time by the SCOTUS, and suddenly the just ship him off to Saudi Arabia.

And while I don’t neccesarily have issue with paying bounties, it does mean that innocents are more likely to be turned in, just to get those bounties.

So, with your cruise ship example, I take it you think we shouldn’t bother with procedure with GB. I’ll turn it around. Is there ANY standards that should be enforced for dealing with potential enemies in the GWOT? Shouldn’t we at least try not to turn "possible enemies" into "definite enemies" until we know more?
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
You claim we are at a state of war. With Whom? thus far all I’ve seen is a war on an idea ("Terror").
You’re right.

Seriously.

Bush should have called it the ’War on Islam’. He would have been crucified for it, but at least it would have made it simpler for people like you to understand what it’s really about.
 
Written By: Derek
URL: http://
"Exactly what utility does the government derive"
Utility for the gov’t. has nothing to do with it. Sometimes decisions are made by individuals on behalf of the gov’t. for their own personal reasons which may work against official gov’t. policies. There is also misinterpretation of rules and regulations, and cya, and a few other reasons why things are done by the gov’t. which don’t benefit the gov’t. What utility did Enron derive from Ken Lay?


"I truly pity our troops who in the next war will certainly face the entire Chinese army in civilain clothes"
Nonsense.

"but the lack of any sense of skepticism on your part..."
Do I detect a lack of skepticism about the government’s actions on your part? There is no lack of historical examples of government misbehavior.

"Equating Gitmo to Saddam should be backed up with some evidence of an evil intent on the part of the detainors, shouldn’t it?"
No. There is a reason for the old saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." It is not necessary to have bad intentions to do bad things.

"So more people taking up arms against the US and it’s allies is a good thing"
Nice distortion. It’s difficult for me to believe it wasn’t intentional. Following your logic, everyone convicted in a court of law for any offense should receive a life sentence, so that they would never be free to commit another crime.

"Yeah, no doubt it would have been easier to say what you meant the first time"
I had no trouble understanding it, and I am not a rocket scientist. Of course I read the entire article and all the posts, and previous articles and posts, so I had a context to put it in. You new folks should probably do some catching up.

"By all means, general patton, release those German prisoners. You can’t prove they mean us harm, after all."

As I said before, I find it difficult to believe such obtuseness comes naturally.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I should clarify (since exacting specificity seems to be neccesary on this particular thread) my "Who are we at war with?" comment. I’m not saying
I don’t think there’s a threat from terrorists" or "we shouldn’t do anything about it". I am concerned with the "wartime" status being used to justify anything and everything, especially because there isn’t any clear cut or well defined goals. This means that it could concievably go on forever, as the "War on Drugs" is.
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
Tito;

Fine. My problem has always been with these complaints, is that they fail to recckon with the reality that there is no other viable alternative at this point

I’d urge you to offer some alternative to the current situation that does not increase dramatically the dangers involved. I’ve seen none, and conclude there ARE none. Certainly, FISA is out of date. It simply wasn’t designed for this type of situation, and its constitutionality is certainly questionable in any event. What other alternatives, and I say again viable alternatives, do we have to offer?

In case I haven’t made it clear, I do not consider treating suspected guerrilla combatants who are not citizens of the United States, to be the equivalents of the average U.S. criminal who IS a citizen. I submit that there is a massive difference between pursuing combatants in a guerrilla war and citizens in peacetime. Jon, apparently, would have is treating the former, as the latter, and in the process he creates a false equivalency between the two.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
It is not necessary to have bad intentions to do bad things.
Precisely why I object to what John is screaming for. I do not question his motives. I do not question his intentions. I understand his concerns. Indeed, to some degree, I SHARE them.

What I question is, the consequences of what he advocates. The ease with which he seemingly brushes these aside concerns me.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
It is this "innocent until proven guilty" line, intersecting the "we are at war" line, that produces the conundrum.

And why just about every successful counterinsurgency campaign, be it the Boer War, Malaya, or our separate efforts in the Philippines ultimately resulted in "strategic hamlets" and "concentration camps" (the original British version in South Africa, not the German one). The only way to differentiate the sheep from the goats was to segregate one from the other.

So, those who were in "strategic hamlets," or "new villages," were presumed innocent, while those outside those same locations were presumed to be hostile. You respected the rights of those in the villages, and treated incidents that occurred within them as crimes. But for those outside same locations, you applied massive military power (and generally treated them as military enemies, rather than civilian criminals).

Is this a superior model? Mebbe. But unless one is prepared to undertake that level of relocation (draining the swamp, or drying up the sea that the guerilla fish live in), it is hardly logical to presume either that everyone found is actually innocent (or even "innocent until proven guilty), or that they are all, in fact, guerillas worth little more than a summary execution.
 
Written By: Lurking Observer
URL: http://
"So more people taking up arms against the US and it’s allies is a good thing"
Nice distortion. It’s difficult for me to believe it wasn’t intentional. Following your logic, everyone convicted in a court of law for any offense should receive a life sentence, so that they would never be free to commit another crime.
Now who’s doing the distorting? I made no reference to any of that. But logic would seem to suggest that it’s not exactly wise to be releasing prisoners while the battle still rages.

I asked what I did to get Jon to stop and think about what was he was proposing. Instead of doing that, he allowed his jerking knee to answer for him. He’s got his principles all right, but doesn’t seem to have a clue about what that means out here in the real world. He clearly hasn’t thought about how many people will die just so that he can say "Well, we followed procedure". Apparently, I consider that of greater consequence than he does.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
"Equating Gitmo to Saddam should be backed up with some evidence of an evil intent on the part of the detainors, shouldn’t it?"
No. There is a reason for the old saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." It is not necessary to have bad intentions to do bad things.
Well thanks for the philosophy lesson there, Plato. Now you want to explain how this has anything to do with what I wrote? Platitudes are not arguments and reciting them doesn’t actually prove any point ... unless you’re trying to prove that you’re a pompous ass.

If, based on the similarities of two acts, you attempt to compare a bad actor (identified as such because of bad intentions) with another actor (identified solely by a similar act) in order elucidate a similar "badness" , there should be some congruence other than the act itself. Since the "bad intentions" of the first actor are being imputed to the second actor based on the act, you have a false analogy — like comparing a the Son of Sam to Cory Maye, for example. Each shot people, but with different intentions. Unless you think attacking people who attack you is immoral in any circumstance of course.
"but the lack of any sense of skepticism on your part..."
Do I detect a lack of skepticism about the government’s actions on your part? There is no lack of historical examples of government misbehavior.
I don’t know what you detect, but apparently you don’t detect certain words such as those directly following the sentence you truncated:
While I’m perfectly ready to accept that the sheer incompetence of government is to blame for any actual problems here ...
For those keeping score at home, the above evidences skepticism on my part.
"Yeah, no doubt it would have been easier to say what you meant the first time"
I had no trouble understanding it, and I am not a rocket scientist. Of course I read the entire article and all the posts, and previous articles and posts, so I had a context to put it in. You new folks should probably do some catching up.
You’re not a lot of things, including a good reader. As noted above, you don’t read as closely as you think.

And I’m not exactly a greenhorn around here.

Finally, I understood what Jon wrote quite perfectly ... unfortunately for him it wasn’t what he meant to say.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Is this a superior model? Mebbe. But unless one is prepared to undertake that level of relocation (draining the swamp, or drying up the sea that the guerilla fish live in), it is hardly logical to presume either that everyone found is actually innocent (or even "innocent until proven guilty), or that they are all, in fact, guerillas worth little more than a summary execution.
Agreement, LO. Just so.
Which is why I have proposed neither of the latter solutions.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
I’ve decided that Bithead’s trolling is no longer worth my time, so I’ll be brief:

1) I’ve not called anybody who disagrees with me a "fool". That remark is specific to Bithead, and to the notion that we should imprison anybody "able" to bear arms against us.

2) The negative consequences of freeing people we have no substantive reason to believe are enemy combatants, and treating the rest in a decent and humane manner are negligible. Nobody is suggesting we free the terrorists; only that we free those we have no apparent legitimate justification for keeping and treat the rest in a manner consistent with our treaty, UCMJ, legal and verbal commitments.

The negative consequences of doing otherwise are substantial. It will wither away our perceived moral authority and our domestic willingness to withstand the rigors of war. See OrneryWP’s comment on that.

3)
Saddam’s actions against his own countrymen in a time of peace are equivalent to US actions against the citizens of a terrorist-harboring nation that assisted in the murder of 3000 people on US soil?
You kidding? A time of peace? Saddam’s action in that particular case was a response to an assassination attempt and a tribe working with his enemy.

4) The reports I’ve cited — and the long history of similar reports from outside groups and US military people — speak for themselves. Your skepticism of the UN is fine — well-founded, even — but the report is consistent with others, and the National Journal report is based on the military’s own investigation.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
So now I’m a troll. You know, your defense just keeps getting more bizarre. How is it Jon, that you always seem to slip into ad Hominem? I’ve done nothing of the kind with you. Is your argument so weak that you must depend on it?
The negative consequences of freeing people we have no substantive reason to believe are enemy combatants, and treating the rest in a decent and humane manner are negligible
I seem to recall people saying that about suspected guerrillas in Vietnam, for example. The lesson there being, all the morality in the world is intended to you much good if you’re not alive afterward.
4) The reports I’ve cited — and the long history of similar reports from outside groups and US military people — speak for themselves. Your skepticism of the UN is fine — well-founded, even — but the report is consistent with others, and the National Journal report is based on the military’s own investigation.
The reports don’t speak for themselves. People speak. Saying something "speaks for itself" usually translates to "don’t look at this too closely just take it on face value"

Even a cursory examination of the journal report reveals that it is based on parts of the investigation, not the entire investigation. There are gaps in the information. It’s called "cherry picking" Jon. Cherry picking to support in anti administration position.

That the report that you cite parallels what the U.N. coughed up, mostly in defense of it’s own inactions, oughta be your first clue that the report is anything but accurate, but rather is intentionally inaccurate for political purposes, as the U.N. has been for the last 40 years. I suggest this trend will continue, right up until that point were and manages to get one of their nuclear bombs off the ground. If they continue the way they’re going, that won’t be long in coming.

And, indeed, you are usually the first one to be questioning government entities and particularly the U.N, and correctly so. But now, because it happens to fall directly in line with your problems with George Bush, suddenly , they are valid? You’ll forgive me if I’m less than impressed.

Once again, and for the record, to some degree I share your concern. But the bottom line here is, that nobody has come up with a viable alternative to what is happening now, and therefore it presents a smaller problem than does our very survival. And yes, I’m saying what you are proposing is simply not viable, given our current situation, And, in fact, plays directly into the hands of Al Quieda.

Your concern is well founded. But not your paranoia.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
I would like QandO to address the moral hazard problem:

If we decide that anyone we catch who is not actively fighting and not in uniform receives special ’due process’, won’t that simply make our future enemies less likely to obey the Geneva Conventions?

Also, with too much due process and assumption of innocence until proven guilty, won’t we be entering territory where troops in the field will have to act like police, keeping evidence, having to appear at court dates for detainees, etc.?

Khost Afghanistan, 2003

"Sarge can’t make the op tonight. He has to fly back to DC for Ahmed’s tribunal. Ahmed claims he never fired any mortar and was only in the Shahikot valley for the falconry. Sarge has to go back to corroborate the powder residue findings and UAV video we sent in after the battle."

Or am I exaggerating the possibilities here and wildly overstating what Jon wants?

BTW, if you are in a war zone, you should be prepared for bad things. I was not suprised when those missionaries were captured by the Taliban...what did they expect? Same thing with any Arab who stayed around in Afghanistan or in Pakistan. It’s a kind of personal responsibility. Would anyone here feel like it would be unfair for a US civilain wandering around the Cambodia-Vietnam border in the 1970’s to get into big trouble? Sure, it would suck if they were innocent, but c’mon they made a choice to go there.

And how many people went to Pakistan AFTER 9/11 and the war started for the sole purpose of doing jihad in Afghanistan...should we let these guys out since in a criminal sense they never got across the border, so no harm no foul?

So, what is the alternative to trusting the government in this? They have released people. They have military lawyers. They have personal reps like the article showed. Do we need a civilian oversight committee? What’s the concrete suggestions here.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"2) The negative consequences of freeing people we have no substantive reason to believe are enemy combatants, and treating the rest in a decent and humane manner are negligible. Nobody is suggesting we free the terrorists; only that we free those we have no apparent legitimate justification for keeping and treat the rest in a manner consistent with our treaty, UCMJ, legal and verbal commitments."

A. Have we released anyone from Gitmo? Oh, yes, we have. Therefore we are doing what you ask. Those who are not a risk are being released. Sure, there are a few disputed cases that are not being released, but I am sure you don’t expect 100% perfection in the system, right?

B. "The negative consequences of freeing people we have no substantive reason to believe are enemy combatants....are negligible."

Back this up. Some have returned to fight and were killed in action. In the book I’ve read (The Interrogators), the guys in ops picking people up at times complained that too many detainees were being released right away and then being picked up again in another fight...so I’m not sure your statement is true.

C. "and treating the rest in a decent and humane manner."

Are the detainees being fed? Yes.
Do they have access to medical care? Yes.
Have any died in captivity? No.
Did the two kids we had get English lessons? Yes. One even expressed an interest in becoming a US Marine. (see the Guardian article.)
Do some detainees get to play volleyball? yes.

But the 20th hijacker, with the most ticking bomb potential, yeah, he was psychologically pressured to talk after lying to investigators and having other techniques fail...so ALL detainees are therefore "mistreated"? No.

Would a separate facility for low level types to assuage your worries, Jon? I think that would be a good idea if only to prevent migration of techniques used on the really bad guys to those who were foot soldiers.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
If we decide that anyone we catch who is not actively fighting and not in uniform receives special ’due process’, won’t that simply make our future enemies less likely to obey the Geneva Conventions?
A) This isn’t about our future enemies, it’s about us.

B) We’ve already fought enemies who didn’t obey the Geneva Convetions without resorting to acting like them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
If we decide that anyone we catch who is not actively fighting and not in uniform receives special ’due process’, won’t that simply make our future enemies less likely to obey the Geneva Conventions?
That’s an interesting point, in theory.... but in reality, at what point in our history has ANY enemy kept the convention completely? To be clear, it’s a matter of degree, I think.


With that stipulation, your point is taken, and I suppose also that the degree to which a future enemy would violate the convention would rather depend on what kind of enemy we’re talking about.

For example, are we talking about another guerrilla war? Or are we, as I think, looking at a more conventional war, against a true military power the size of say, China? The former would most certainly be less likely under ANY conditions to abide the conventions WRT the treatment of prisoners, than would the latter.

[A datapoint.......And certainly, a guerrilla war is in violation of the conventions in any event, from the standpoint of identification of such forces; Indeed, the Geneva convention is rather explicit on this score: Per Article 44, paragraph 3, of Protocol I; IV Geneva Convention:

"In order to promote the protection of the civilian population from the effects of hostilities, combatants are obliged to distinguish themselves from the civilian population while they are engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack." Kinda makes it hard to argue we’re not playing fair with prisoners.]




 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
If we decide that anyone we catch who is not actively fighting and not in uniform receives special ’due process’, won’t that simply make our future enemies less likely to obey the Geneva Conventions?
If it makes them more likely to be "not actively fighting", that would seem like a good thing. In any event, there’s no "special due process". We’re not talking about extra privileges for bad guys; we’re talking about not taking total unknowns from a country with whom we’re not even at war and keeping them for years on the basis of the already disproven testimony of another inmate. We’re talking about not interrogating people for days on end until they make a sarcastic remark, which we misrepresent — over the objections of the interrogator — and pretend they’ve confessed when they have not.
Or am I exaggerating the possibilities here and wildly overstating what Jon wants?
Yes.
BTW, if you are in a war zone, you should be prepared for bad things.
The majority of the people in question were not in a war zone.
So, what is the alternative to trusting the government in this? They have released people. They have military lawyers. They have personal reps like the article showed. Do we need a civilian oversight committee? What’s the concrete suggestions here.
Some degree of transparency, process and oversight, so that we don’t end up with guys held for four years simly because they admitted seeing Osama bin Laden on television. Sufficient oversight and transparency such that we’re not torturing and/or abusing detainees, or — if we need and choose to do so — we acknowledge it.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
So now I’m a troll.
Yes, you are. And I’ve decided that I don’t want to deal with that or the other similarly maddening, partisan and paranoid arguments any longer. Nor do I want to continue to provide an outlet to a person willing to predict and cheer the early death of a political opponent.

I’m taking steps to eliminate that hassle. You may think it’s unfair, but you have your own blog on which to complain about it. I no longer want to expend time on you.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Jon,

I don’t know if you visit other forums very often, but saying that BitHead is trolling is pretty insane. I’m convinced you don’t even know what the term means.
 
Written By: Derek
URL: http://
My conclusion was not drawn solely from this thread, Derek. Bithead is the functional photo negative of MKUltra: he accepts the wildest speculation as solid proof of his own worldview, but insists on implausible levels of proof for any contrary argument. He insists that the facts must fit his worldview, and he relentlessly infests the comment section with that kind of tendentious posing.

Unfortunately for Bithead, he annoys me to a degree that MK does not. C’est la vie.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
and he relentlessly infests the comment section with that kind of tendentious posing.
Which might also translate into, "He doesn’t agree with me and he won’t shut up."

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
More good work, Jon. Odd how standing up for the rule of law, decency and competence renders one a liberal — personally, I call it patriotic advocacy.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
," but the lack of any sense of skepticism on your part. While I’m perfectly ready to accept that the sheer incompetence of government is to blame for any actual problems here, for me to believe that the government/administration/military is misbehaving requires at least some indication of intent."

Sorry, I was evidently confused by the last part about requiring indication of intent. To me, skepticism doesn’t require evidence, it is a product of experience, "an attitude of doubt".

" Equating Gitmo to Saddam should be backed up with some evidence of an evil intent on the part of the detainors, shouldn’t it?"
You said there should be some evidence of ill intent, I disagreed. Comparing the results of actions does not, to me anyway, require testing intentions. If the results of an action are bad, does it make them any less bad if the intent was good?

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Jon Henke found these quotes to be of note, even though the UN generated them:
"the primary purpose of [the detainees] confinement was for interrogation, not to prevent them from taking up arms."
As if it being a secondary purpose isn’t good enough, or interrogation of the importance of a hill of beans.

"some of the treatment of detainees met the definition of torture under the U.N. Convention Against Torture: The acts were committed by government officials, with a clear purpose, inflicting severe pain or suffering against victims in a position of powerlessness."

So? I don’t agree with that definition and don’t know the context. You haven’t provided it, neither does the article. Neither do the vast majority of other Americans have any faith in the UN’s definition of torture, why do you give it credibility? I know of several instances of prisoners being mistreated in a manner I would agree is torture—and the personnel involved were tried where convictions were plausible, and the convicted are doing time. What do you want? What, you want not go to war because people are flawed? It is a hallmark of the Democrats and the left in this to make vacuous criticisms and offer no constructive suggestions.

"the simultaneous use of several interrogation techniques — prolonged solitary confinement, exposure to extreme temperatures, noise and light; forced shaving and other techniques that exploit religious beliefs or cause intimidation and humiliation — constituted inhumane treatment and, in some cases, reached the threshold of torture."

I suppose they can likely be forgiven for poor use of English, maybe they did not write what they meant to, but if it only reached the threshold even in their own eyes, then it certainly wasn’t torture at all.

"[of particular concern was] the force-feeding of hunger strikers through nasal tubes that detainees said were brutally inserted and removed, causing intense pain, bleeding and vomiting."

So? They have no right to commit suicide, and I can’t personally think of a means of getting a nasogastric feeding tube into a resisting person that wouldn’t cause them pain, possibly bleeding and vomiting. You prefer they starve? We should slingshot vitamins down their throats instead? Should we water board the lot of the hunger strikers to make sure they at least get their fluids?

Another curious thing, your giving great credibility to the L.A. Times. What’s up with that?

I read the L.A. Times articles you linked to. What strikes me is that you are worried about the problems paying $1000.00 for suspects can cause, but you don’t think critically about whether the prisoners at GB would lie or exxagerate to besmirch their keepers.

That’s a telling flag for how far your intellectual standards have fallen.

The notion that Bithead is a troll is ridiculous, I can think of three points he raised here to which you have not responded, and you have taken no notice of what undeserved conciliatory gestures he has made towards you.

Banning him makes your arguments defending this tenditious, ill-supported, over the top post seem the more weak, not that you’re hard pressed for time or put upon by him. For example, I don’t see you attempting to respond to most of Harun’s posts.

I suppose you’ll ban me now. Ho humm.

I wouldn’t like it if you did, but it certainly won’t and shouldn’t stop me from telling you where to get off when you’re this far out of line, and you are.

For the record, any prisoners at GB who have no involvement in wahhabism or other Islamists extremes should released. I don’t know know why you would not assume an "of course" on my part or Bithead’s part, or Harun’s part, except that maybe you’ve had too much kool aid.

The L.A. Times editorial you seem to endorse makes no substantive or intelligent suggestions which are not obvious. Of course innocents should be released, but no, confinement for the duration and not trial is the proper course to take with captured AlQaeda personnel; and that whether or not they are taken on the "battlefield", with the sole exception of such American citizens as are taken on American soil.

There is nothing in your post to suggest you think only the uninvolved should be released; if you disagree, I beg you to point out the passage. After all, if you will not credit your opponent’s "of courses", why should they credit yours?

So of course persons innocent now should be released. But first photographed, fingerprinted, and DNA sequenced. If they are caught again in circumstances showing them to be unlawful combatants, then they should be killed.

After they are interrogated.

If works out best, at Guantanamo Bay.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Mona wrote:

"Odd how standing up for the rule of law, decency and competence renders one a liberal — personally, I call it patriotic advocacy."

And while suppose it’s unlikely she’ll ever read this post, she really ought to explain how substituting the opinions of the UN for the actual laws of this country are standing up for the rule of law, decency, and competence, when the UN has no credibility in any of those areas whatsoever.

The real howler is the "renders one a liberal" phrase, since nothing about current political liberalism is in fact classically liberal, except what does not distinguish it from conservatism, and classical liberalism is the only liberalism worthy of the name. For a modern liberal to have fidelity to any of the founding principles of this nation is an accident which will be corrected as soon as a consituency can be bought off by the violation of that principle.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Tom Perkins: Why am I inclined to believe the UN — whom I agree has a miserable track record and I approved of the Bolton appointment — about Gitmo? It has to do with things like this. I don’t believe so much of that could have gone on without knowledge of higher-ups, and likely with orders to get information by any means necessary. Nor do I believe the Administration’s ever-changing defenses of its illegal surveillance program. Do see Jon’s link to the George Will column for more on this last bit.

Preserving the rule of law, and not descending into indeceny and barbarism, is what true patriots will insist upon.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Funny Mona, you’re conflating Abu Ghraib, where abusers went to prison on conviction for abuse. But then you lean left.

You probably can’t tell the straight truth to save your life.

Of course, at Gitmo, prisoners who agree to eat are fed very well, and only those whose try to kill themselves by starvation are, reasonably enough, force fed.

Whiff.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
"Abu Ghraib, where" /= "Abu Ghraib with Guantanamo Bay, where"

Of course, I can’t get a post right to save my life... Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
No, she is saying that there is grounds for belief that the American military is not entirely perfect; that they have and will make mistakes and/or do wrong. Hardly a radical proposition. And if that is the best evidence you have of dishonesty, you owe her an apology.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
No, she was conflating two very different situations, presenting them as being the equivalent of each other, they are far from it. It would begin to be a valid comparison if no or a weak attempt had been made to try the personnel conducting abuse, but I don’t think that can be fairly said. I do not think enough effort was made at punishing the higher officers for failing to maintain a clear chain of command, but people I generally trust tell me it’s a horrible thing for an officer to be reduced in rank, forbidden advancement, or forced into early retirement. I’d have preferred prison for Jarpinski, for example.

Mona thinks there is something to be said about GB in pictures of AG, maybe if that was an honest mistake instead of a subterfuge, she should be more clear about the parallel she was trying to draw.

As it stands it is a misleading at best, and dishonest at worst, thing for her to do.

But if, as she seems to, she leans left, she has an excuse for it.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://

 
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